How Do Escalators Work? - PEAK Elevator
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New building interior escalators and stairs

How Do Escalators Work?

From a mechanical standpoint, the escalator is a simple, yet fascinating vertical transportation system. PEAK Elevator™’s hand-selected escalator technicians are trained to provide escalator maintenance services for optimal performance. We also take pride in creating opportunities for clients to learn about the inner workings of their equipment.

Have you ever asked yourself, “How do escalators work?” PEAK Elevator™ is here to offer some insight.

How an Escalator Works

An escalator is made up of a set of interlocking steps, powered by an electric motor. A pair of chains looped around two pairs of gears rotate to move the steps along while a larger metal structure called a truss encases the entire mechanism to connect the floors. The steps then move about like a conveyer belt, entering into a special guide system at the top and bottom of the truss to create a level platform for passengers to board or exit.

Understanding the Parts of an Escalator

Similar to elevators, escalators operate most efficiently when each individual part is up to code and in excellent working condition. Though parts may vary depending on the make and model, most escalators consist of these components:

Escalator Safety Mechanisms

  • Inlet guards
  • Operating panel
  • Safety switches
  • Step switches


Top and Bottom Pits

  • Control panel
  • Drive unit
  • Main Gear
  • Drive chain
  • Sprocket (top)
  • Safety switches



  • Main track
  • Trailing track
  • Moving handrail drive unit
  • Sprocket (bottom)
  • Moving handrail drive chain
  • Inlet guard



  • Moving handrail
  • Interior panel
  • Deck board
  • Skirt guard



  • Step tread
  • Riser
  • Step demarcation line
  • Driving roller/trailing roller
  • Step chain


Invest in Preventive Escalator Maintenance with PEAK Elevator™

The best way to protect the investment you have made in your escalator is to schedule routine preventive maintenance. Let PEAK Elevator™’s technicians assess your equipment and develop an ongoing maintenance plan that suits your budget. Extend the life of your escalator equipment by calling our local vertical transportation experts for preventive escalator services. Do you need a team of independent escalator experts? View PEAK Elevator™’s list of service locations to find a technician near you.

Call PEAK Elevator™ for Your Escalator Repair Needs

For more than 30 years, PEAK Elevator™’s escalator repair experts have offered quality solutions to commercial clients. Regardless of your equipment’s make and model, our team is equipped to restore your escalator equipment to prime condition. We can even help you ensure that your escalator is up to the latest safety and code regulations. Call us today for a FREE estimate!

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