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Case study: Eliminating escalator breakdowns in malls

Rohit Kaul, Operations Head – North Region, Embassy Services takes us through the process from problem identification to impact of solutions.

The facility
  • Name: Indiabulls Mega Mall, Jodhpur, Rajasthan
  • Type of building: Mall with retail and commercial space
  • Total area: 1 million sq ft
  • Parts of the facility: 5 blocks, 7 floors, 263 office space units, 653 shops, 1,019 parking slots, lobby, escalators, restrooms, cafeteria, external landscape, high ceiling, etc.
  • Services: Housekeeping, technical services, security, landscaping & horticulture, pest control, façade cleaning, waste management, parking management.
Housekeeping requirements

Areas: Mall upkeep, basement cleaning, material store, lift lobby, reception area, mall management office, utility area, parking area

Services: Consumables procurement, mechanised cleaning, sanitisation, deep cleaning, cleaning high-ceilings, escalator cleaning, cleaning light fixtures, washroom cleaning, cafeteria/food court cleaning, etc.

Problem statement: Frequent breakdown of escalators due to ineffective cleaning process

Impact of problem: Created dissatisfactions and inconvenience for the customers. A broken-down escalator can also create a negative perception of the mall’s services.

Root cause analysis
  • There was no possibility of overload causing the escalators to trip
  • Escalator preventive maintenance was completed on time and in accordance with the OEM schedule
  • The escalator speed suddenly decreases due to dust
  • Stain marks were noticed because of inadequate manual cleaning
  • The escalator motor pit’s dust particles were visible
  • Every time there is a breakdown, the sensors need to be cleaned
  • According to the breakdown history, weekends were the days when breakdowns were most prevalent.
  • Upon examining the cleaning schedule of the escalator, it was discovered that weekend breakdowns continued to occur even with daily cleaning frequency.
Mitigation plan
  • Controlling the tiny dust particles at the footstep level.
  • Because manual cleaning proved ineffective, a machine cleaning procedure was to be explored.

The correct machine needed to be identified, especially for trapping and removing minute dust particles.

Corrective actions
  • The escalator cleaning machine was purchased to clean escalators.
  • The vacuum cleaner for escalators has a wet and dry mode vacuum wand attachment.
  • One escalator had a daily cleaning frequency at first with the machine, one at a time. After closely observing the cleaning and analysing the results, it was found that the tripping of escalators and slowing down of machinery had been reduced.
  • Later, the frequency of escalator machine-cleaning was changed to once per week for all eight escalators, particularly before the weekend.
Impact analysis
  • Escalator downtime has decreased.
  • Decrease in the escalator’s operating expenses
  • People’s confidence in using escalators has increased
  • As a result of machine cleaning, the sensor and spare part ageing on escalators improved.
  • Escalators were made more hygienic for users.
  • Presenting a spotless and orderly escalator to consumers as a best practice
  • Had a positive impact on business and attracted footfall.

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