|September 28, 1998|
NKK to Market Dual-Speed Moving Walkways
Artist's impression of NKK's dual-speed moving walkway model 1200
NKK recently developed a new dual-speed moving walkway to add to its conventional system marketed as NK-Movelane. Since supplying its first rubber-belt Movelane to the Osaka Expo in 1970, the company has sold around 60 such systems nationwide.
Because the average speed of conventional moving walkways is around 30m/minute, or about half the speed of a normal walking pace, it is common to see people walking on moving walkways. However,simply raising the speed increases the risk of tripping upon entry or exit, especially for elderly people and young children.
Hence, a new dual-speed moving walkway was developed. The innovative short-distance (100-1,000m) transportation device employs a walking surface of steel pallets. The unique feature of the moving walkway is that at the entry point it moves at the conventional speed of 30-50m/minute, but gradually accelerates in a linear mode. At its middle section it moves 1.8 times faster (54-90m/minute),or almost normal walking speed. Just before the exit, it gradually slows again and reverts to a conventional speed, helping to ensure user safety when alighting. The handrails are synchronized with the walking surface, so there is no need to adjust one's hold.
The key principle behind the dual speed is a combination of steel pallets with comb-like teeth and a special linking mechanism to achieve smooth acceleration and deceleration. NKK has applied for patents on this technology not only in Japan but also in the U.S., U.K. and France.
The standard model of the dual-speed moving walkway 1200 (effective width: 1,000mm) is able to carry over 10,000 people per hour more rapidly than conventional systems. As a user-friendly short-distance transportation system for an increasingly aged and welfare-oriented society, NKK intends to market the model 1200 and its variations targeted for use in railway stations, airports, public spaces in cities and theme parks.
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