DuPont Engineering Design Electronic Magazine
Life in the fast lane
By Elisenda Falcó
DuPont Engineering Polymers, Spain
A new, ground-breaking continuous transportation system from ThyssenKrupp Elevator (ES/PBB) moves large numbers of people safely, rapidly and cost-efficiently over longer distances. Its handrail, an integral component of the TurboTrack, is made from DuPont™ Crastin® PBT due to its durability and low-noise operation.
TurboTrack is a new, continuous transportation system, from ThyssenKrupp Elevator (ES/PBB) in Spain, with an innovative design for the entry and exit areas. Bridging the gap between conventional moving walks and automated people movers, it can be used to safely and smoothly transport around 15,000 people an hour across long distances – from 100 to 1500 meters – thereby saving time and eliminating waiting periods. It has been designed for use at airports, underground stations, trade fairs or theme parks.
According to ThyssenKrupp Elevator (ES/PBB), the ongoing trend for ever larger airports has resulted in passengers being required to cover longer distances. The company found that conventional moving walks were too slow for long distances, while those at high speed were dangerous at the boarding and disembarking stages. Hence it developed the TurboTrack.
TurboTrack provides an ideal solution for moving people faster. At the heart of its revolutionary, patented system is a continuously running pallet band with three speed zones: The pallet band moves at a slow speed of 0.65 meters (2 feet) per second in the entry zone, at which stage the pallets overlap. As the pallets move apart, the TurboTrack accelerates to a speed of up to two meters (6.5 feet) per second. In the exit zone, the pallets move back together again, slowing down the TurboTrack to allow passengers to step off. Transporting some 15,000 passengers per hour, it has around four times the capacity of an automatic people mover and can offer time-savings of up to 70% versus conventional moving walkways.
The handrail, an innovation all on its own
The handrail of the TurboTrack consists of two molded parts – a lower section, which acts as a guide rail, and a grip plate, which is mounted on the guide rail using an interlocking comb design. (Picture copyright: ThyssenKrupp Elevator)
Just as new and unusual as the system itself is the TurboTrack’s continuous handrail, made of a toughened and flame resistant grade of DuPont™ Crastin® PBT, which is synchronized with the speed of the pallet band. An approximately 20-centimeter (8-inch) segment of handrail consists of two molded parts – a lower section, which acts as a guide rail, and a grip plate, which is mounted on the guide rail using an interlocking comb design. Close together at low speed, the grip plates move apart as the TurboTrack accelerates. To assist passengers in the correct and safe use of the TurboTrack, the grip plates, which are alternately colored light and dark gray, have the outline of a hand imprinted on the light gray plates.
When seeking the best material solution for the manufacture of the handrail, ThyssenKrupp Elevator (ES/PBB) had clear expectations with regard to its robust performance – the expected lifecycle of the TurboTrack and its components is an impressive 144,000 hours. Accordingly, Crastin® T850FR was selected for its balance of mechanical and physical properties in terms of strength and toughness, heat resistance, friction and wear resistance, excellent surface finish and good colorability. A flame retardant grade was adopted to fulfill fire safety regulations.
According to the customer’s specifications, the Crastin® components were required to withstand impacts during use, as well as the forces it encounters as it loops round the conveyor system – or indeed during potential misuse of the handrail (such as children hanging from it). The low-noise, low-friction behavior of the toughened parts, which are moving and in direct contact with each other over 24 hours was also essential. Also key to the smooth interaction of the U-shaped grip plates and the guide rail is the accurate molding of the parts. Close collaboration between the molder, ThyssenKrupp Elevator (ES/PBB) and DuPont helped optimize tool design and molding performance.
DuPont™ Crastin® PBT
- Strength and toughness
- Friction and wear resistance
- Surface finish and colorability
ContactThyssenKrupp Elevator (ES/PBB)
Marketing & Communication
Pol. Industrial La Pereda s/n
33682 Mieres (Asturias), Spain
Tel: +34 98 544 6804
The world’s first TurboTrack systems were installed at Lester B. Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Canada at the end of 2007. Traveling in opposite directions, the two 270 meter (886 feet) long systems operate between the gates and the airport’s new international Terminal 1. Lloyd A. McCoomb, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, believes the newly-installed TurboTrack systems offer significant advantages: “The TurboTrack closes a gap in passenger transportation which conventional systems such as automatic people-movers cannot fill. Unlike other systems, the TurboTrack permits continuous transportation without waiting times. Moreover, because it moves significantly faster than conventional moving walks, the TurboTrack helps overcome a problem familiar at many airports: the long distances passengers have to cover on foot. A further advantage is that the TurboTrack still looks like a normal moving walk and can be used in the same way. Passengers can enjoy the convenience without having to do anything different.”