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More ups than downs using Matrix Converters on one of Europe’s largest network of escalators

08 March 2021

Operating Germany’s largest escalator network in Munich, which transports over half a billion people through the Bavarian capital’s subway system every year, means the scale of any technical innovations can be immense.

With exacting demands for safety and reliability, any technical change can bring significant savings, or additional costs. Consequently, the technicians in charge take great care when making decisions. That’s why they opted for the gradual deployment of Yaskawa’s U1000 Matrix Converters

Under the motto ‘Simply Mobile’, the network operators Münchner Verkehrsgesellschaft (MVG), a subsidiary of Stadtwerke Munchen (SWM), deploys trains and buses in subway and tram stations. It also has 770 escalators, compared with around 450 currently operating on the entire London Underground.

Mario Princip, Head of the MVG, has to ensure that the system operates around the clock without interruption: “A high level of reliability is extremely important and it’s also strategically significant. It’s not just a question of addressing the passenger’s needs for comfort and convenience, it’s also an important operational matter because without the escalators, the passengers cannot enter and exit the stations at the required speeds.”

Innovation and in-house control optimises reliability

With exacting demands in terms of safety and reliability, and the need to maintain hundreds of escalators, any technical change has significant implications, so the escalator engineers are meticulous in assessing any new optimisation opportunities. The reality is that it’s an ongoing process of modernisation in an environment that is highly resistant to standardisation because, after all, the service life of an escalator is around 30 years. At any one time, multiple generations and models from different manufacturers are in use across the network, while the individual spatial conditions are equally diverse. 

MVG tackles this challenge by drawing on its own powers of innovation, with one example being the manufacturer-independent escalator control system, which it developed itself. This means each escalator can be maintained by in-house personnel, faults can be rectified faster and costs for spare parts and conversions are minimised. 

Read the full article in the March issue of DPA.

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