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KONE Provides Escalator Modernization for Albuquerque International Sunport

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Phase 1 units complete

KONE provided this New Mexico airport with two phases of escalator modernizations in minimal space.

The Albuquerque International Sun-port (ABQ) is similar to other airports across the U.S. in that its doors are open 24/7. While there is a stairway and small elevator, the airport’s four escalators between the ticketing and concourse/TSA checkpoint transport the majority of people between the facility’s two lev-els. However, the aging equipment needed to be updated, and closing the escalators while they were being replaced was not an option.

According to Joseph Rodriguez, Aviation Facilities manager for ABQ, concurrent operation of the escala-tors during modernization initially proved to be a challenge. Enter KONE with its EcoMod™ system. For Phase 1 of the project, KONE was able to leave the trusses in place, which al-lowed work to be done in tighter quarters and two escalators to be up-dated simultaneously, leaving one up and one down unit running through-out the replacement process.

From an aesthetic point of view, the reuse of the trusses meant it was not necessary to turn the entire esca-lator area into a construction zone. Keeping the trusses in place ad-dressed an important safety issue, as well. The building’s structure, as pre-viously built, was unable to carry the combined weight of a truss and the equipment needed to remove each in a full-replacement situation. Reuti-lization of the existing trusses was a major selling point, because it pre-vented intrusion into the aging infra-structure, according to Rodriquez.

One of the main project demands was durability. The dual drive motors utilized for this project minimize im-pact on each motor to create a more durable escalator with an expanded lifespan. Additionally, the equipment includes standby operation features, which help conserve energy by slow-ing movement when the escalators are not in use.

EcoMod also addressed a number of maintenance issues. With long, daily operating schedules, it is im-portant for escalator downtime to be minimized. Typical escalators re-quire lubricated chains, which attract dust and debris, requiring frequent shutdowns for cleaning. EcoMod uses a lube-free chain, which ex-tends the maintenance timetable be-tween cleanings.

Overall, the EcoMod method was less invasive than a full tear out of the existing escalators would have been. KONE was able to reduce the amount of time and money ABQ needed to replace its escalators, and safety and security were maintained, while passengers experienced mini-mal disruption. As a result of the first project’s success, KONE received a second contract to replace four ad-ditional escalators at the ticketing and baggage-claim areas.

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