|Title of Invention||
AN ELONGATE HANDRAIL AND A FILM AND AN APPARATUS THEREOF
|Abstract||A combination of an elongate handrail and a flexible film adhered to the handrail, the film comprising: a first film layer and a first layer of adhesive between the first film layer and the handrail, bonding the first film layer to the handrail, wherein the film has a width corresponding to the handrail, is substantially continuous along the length of the handrail, extends around at least a portion of shoulders of the handrail, and has printed matter on top of or on the underside of said first film layer, and wherein the first layer of adhesive permits removal of the flexible film and the film does not significantly alter the dimensions of the handrail, whereby, in use, the elongate handrail can be used with and without the film, and the flexible film can be exchanged for another flexible film.|
THE PATENTS ACT, 1970
[39 OF 1970]
THE PATENTS RULES, 2003
[See Section 10; rule 13]
"AN ELONGATE HANDRAIL AND A FILM AND AN APPARATUS THEREOF"
RONALD H. BALL, a Canadian citizen c/o E.H.C. of 1287 Boundary Road, Oshawa, Ontario L1J 6Z7, Canada
The following specification particularly describes the nature of the invention and the manner in which it is to be performed:-
second arm 102 forms an obtuse angle and is formed from two generally
parallel side members. The free end 104 of the second arm 102 provides an
actuating handle. The first arm 101 is pivotally attached to the second arm
102, generally at the obtuse angle therein. In known manner, if the handle
end 104 is raised and pivoted towards the longitudinally extending member
32, this causes the trough-shaped elements 92a, 92b to slide apart along the
inverted T-shaped member 96 (Figure 8b). When the handle end 104 is
displaced to the position shown in Figure 8a, then the trough-shaped halves
92a, 92b are drawn together to the position shown. The first arm 101
includes a nut 105 and bolt 105a assembly as shown in Figures 8a and 8b.
The nut 105 is used to shorten the first arm 101. The shortening of the first
arm 101 causes trough elements 92a and 92b to come closer together when
in the closed position. This enables adjustment of the width of the trough
92 for handrails of different dimensions.
Referring now to Figures 1, 9a-9f, 10 and 11a11f, a series of rollers 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, and 115 are rotatably mounted on roller mounting mechanisms inside each of the element halves 92a, 92b. Rollers 110-115 are mounted such that the rollers 110 are relatively close to the centre line of the apparatus and to the centre line of the handrail. Rollers 110 are mounted towards the rear of the element halves 92a and 92b at position 110a (Figure 10). The other rollers 111, 112, 113, 114, and 115 are located progressively further away from the centre line and progressively closer to the front of the mechanism at positions 111a, 112a, 113a, 114a, and 115a respectively, for progressively wrapping a film around the handrail. Rollers 110 to 113, shown generally as 210 on roller mounting mechanism 212 (Figures 11a, 11d), are mounted on a frame 214. The frame 214 comprises two side members 216 and three cross members 218, 220 and 222. The roller 210 is rotatably mounted on cross member 218. The frame 214 is pivotally mounted on two lugs 224 extending from the base 226 of roller mechanism. A. helical torsion spring 228 is mounted on cross member 222. One end of the spring is pressed against the base 226 and the other end is pressed against :ross member 220. Spring 228 thus acts to bias frame 214 and roller 210
inwardly towards handrail 200. The base 226 is mounted to a respective trough-shaped half 92a, 92b.
Referring mainly now to Figures 11b, 11c, 11e, and 11f, rollers 114 and 115 are similarly mounted within roller mounting mechanisms with some exceptions. First, rollers 114 and 115 have smaller diameters than rollers 110-113. As well, rollers 114 and 115 are spaced laterally away from spring 228 with spacing elements 230. Both of these differences are designed to allow the rollers to press the film against the shoulder of the handrail where space is limited.
As best shown in Figures 2, 9e, 9f and 10, the trough-shaped element halves 92a, 92b include a forward extension 116. Mounted to each of these extensions 116 are brackets 118 and 119. Rollers 114 are rotatably mounted to the first brackets 118 and rollers 115 are rotatably mounted to second brackets 119.
Reference will now be made to Figure 6a and 6b, which ;show details of a clutch mechanism for the spindle 66 and friction mounting mechanism for both spindles 64, 66. Each of the spindles 64, 66 includes a rotatably mounted spindle body 120, each of which is attached to a respective gear 68, 70. However, only spindle 66 includes the clutch mechanism.
The spindle body 120 of spindle 66 includes an internal tubular bearing 122 mounted on a shaft 124. The shaft 124 has an enlarged head 126. A helical coil spring 128 is mounted between the enlarged head 126 and a washer 130 abutting the end of the bearing 122. The coil spring 128 presses the spindle body 120 against the gear 70 mounted on the shaft 124.
The shaft 124 extends through a bearing hole 134 in the swing arm 60, and washers 136 are provided on either side of the swing arm 60. The washers 136 are secured to, or integral with the shaft 124.
Within the spindle body 120, there is a lever 138 including a projecting lever end or actuation portion 140. The lever 138 is pivotally mounted at 142 and a spring 144 biases the lever radially outwards. Bearing projections 146 extend radially out through openings in the tubular spindle
Accordingly, in use, as shown in Figure 6a, to mount a roll 150 for taking up a release sheet from a film, the lever end 140 is pressed radially inwards, to bring the projections 146 radially inwards. This permits the roll 150 to be slid onto the spindle 66. With the roll 150 in position, the lever 138 can be released. Then, the spring 144 acts to press the bearing projections 146 against the inside of the roll 150 securely mounting the sleeve. Torque can then be transmitted between the sleeve 150 and the spindle body 120.
The arrangement of the spring 128 and related elements of the spindle 66 acts as a clutch to limit torque transmission between the tubular spindle body 120 and the shaft 124. In particular, the drive ratio required between the two spindles 64, 66 will vary as the size of the rolls on the two spindles varies. It is impossible to maintain a completely accurate ratio at all times. Accordingly, the ratio between the drive and driven gears 68, 70 is such as to ensure that, at a minimum, the second spindle 66 is driven at a slightly faster speed than required, for all effective sizes of rolls on the spindles 66 (the effective size being the diameter of the roll at any instant including material wound on it). Then, any excess speed is, effectively, dissipated by the clutch mechanism in the spindle 66. In use, this will maintain a constant torque tending to wind up the release sheet.
Reference will now be made to Figures 4, 5,7, 8,12 and 13 to describe a preferred film configuration and method of using the apparatus of the present invention.
Referring first to Figure 12, there is shown, schematically, a cross-section of a film in accordance with the present invention. This cross-section is shown transverse to the longitudinal direction of the handrail. This film is indicated at 160 and comprises a first film layer 162 with a first adhesive layer 164 on the underside thereof. To protect the film until this is applied and to enable the film to be wound up onto a sleeve 150, a release sheet 166 is provided in known manner.
On top of the first layer 162; printed matter is provide as
indicated at 168. This printed matter can be text, logos, images, etc., and it is expected that it will often comprise a repeated pattern. Shown schematically, this printed matter would have a negligible thickness, so as not to significantly affect the thicknesses of other layers. This printed matter 168 is printed directly onto the top of the first film layer 162.
Following application of printed matter 168, a second film layer 170 with a respective second layer of adhesive 172 is applied to the top of the first sheet, so as to sandwich the printed matter 168 between the two film layers 162, 170. This serves to protect the printed matter.
Each film layer 162, 170 is preferably a polyurethane film having a thickness of 3 mils. The film is preferably a high gloss, clear flexible film, coated with a clear acrylic pressure sensitive adhesive. These films are provided with a release liner. Thus, once the top of the first film layer 162 has been printed, the second film layer 170 with its associated adhesive 172, after the release liner or sheet removed, is then applied to the top of the first film layer 162 to form the combined film 160 shown in Figure 8.
The width of the film as supplied is commonly several feet. For the present purposes, it would be cut to widths depending upon the particular handrail application.
While it is expected that the first and second film layers 162, 170 would both be clear, for some applications, it may be desirable to colour the second film layer 170. Thus, the second layer 170 could be a solid, uniform colour to provide a suitable background to advertising material or a manufacturer"s logo, and this colour could be a colour associated with the particular product or manufacturer. Additionally, the first film layer 162, if desired, could be provided with some tinting.
Another aspect of the invention is the use of a film simply to protect a handrail for an escalator or moving walkway. For this purpose, the film 160 could have a single layer. For such an application, the second film layer 170 and its adhesive 172 could be omitted. For completeness, it is noted that, conceivably, in such applications, some printed material could
still be provided on the top of the first film layer 162, but such printed matter would not then be protected, and would likely by subject to excessive wear, marking, etc. during passage through the handrail drive mechanism. Reference will now be made to Figure 13, which shows an alignment mechanism 180, which essentially comprises a five-member pivoted parallelogram mechanism. The mechanism 180 comprises a pair of side elements 182, pivotally attached to a pair of transverse elements 184. a central element 186 extends longitudinally, parallel to the side elements 182, and is pivoted to the transverse elements 184. Tension springs 188 may be omitted. If the springs 188 are omitted, it is a simple matter to hold the unit by hand and provide the closing tension required to centre the mechanism mounted between the central element 186 and ends of the transverse elements 184. The tension springs 188 act to bias the side elements 182 together, tending to collapse the parallelogram formed by the elements 182, 184.
Mounted on the central element 186 is a light source 190, here a laser. The laser 190 is mounted in a bracket 192 pivotally mounted to the central element 186.
Pivot connections between elements 182,184 are formed by pivot pins, one of such is indicated at 194. Each pivot pin 194, beneath the respective side element 182 is provided with a cylindrical collar 196.
A description will now be given of the use of the equipment of the present invention. Firstly, before a film is applied to a handrail, the handrail must be properly prepared. Most handrails, after a period of use, will acquire a film of dirt and grease, preventing proper adherence of an adhesive film.
Accordingly, the handrail is first washed with a solvent, preferably an EH-101 solvent blend to remove all dirt and grease. EH-101 solvent blend is composed of ethyl acetate, naphtha, toluene and benzene. For this purpose, operators should wear rubber gloves and use appropriate applicators.
The handrail is then inspected for gouges or defects that
impede application. If deep gouges are present, the handrail may need to be replaced before the film is applied.
Any deep stains or marks can be removed with a scrub pad and EH 101 solvent blend.
The handrail is cleaned by first cleaning an exposed run of the handrail, and both handrails of an escalator or moving walkway could be cleaned simultaneously. Each run is then marked with a china marker. The drive mechanism of the escalator is then used to jog the escalator and its handrail, to the end of the marked and cleaned areas, to expose further stretches of the handrails. This procedure is repeated, and until the entire length of both handrails of an escalator are cleaned.
Once clean, the handrail is coated with a sealant, to reduce slightly the adhesive bond between the film and the handrail. This ensures that the applied film can be peeled off readily. An appropriate sealant is applied as specified, generally as a thin film. The film of sealant is buffed to a smooth, shiny finish. Again, the handrails on two sides of an escalator can be treated simultaneously. The handrails are marked with a china marker to indicate areas that have been sealed, and then jogged forward using the escalator drive mechanism; this is repeated until both handrails are treated and sealed.
To provide a film for an escalator, two matched rolls of film are provided, one for each handrail. The handrails have the film applied separately. Theoretically, it may be possible to apply both films simultaneously, but this is usually not practical. It has been found that application of the film needs to be monitored carefully, and, on occasion, adjustments and the like are required. To monitor two films simultaneously would be difficult.
For an escalator, an operator is provided with two matched rolls of film, one for each handrail; the handrail is indicated at 200 and its balustrade at 198 in the drawings, while the rolls of film are indicated at 174. First, the operator should confirm that the correct rolls 174 are present for the particular site or escalator. The wind configuration of the rolls should be
checked. Commonly, most advertising material should be viewed from one direction, and should be applied in the appropriate orientation, for each of up and down escalators.
The apparatus 10 is then mounted to the balustrade 198, shown in Figures 3 and 4, with just the support member 12 attached, i.e. with the cross member and attached components removed. The apparatus 10 is preferably mounted at the top of the escalator for down escalator units and at the bottom of the escalator for up escalator units. On installations where obstacles prevent mounting at these locations, it is permissible to attach the apparatus 10 away from the ends on a straight, sloped portion of the handrail.
The vacuum cups 16 are pumped up, in known manner, to securely mount them to the balustrade. With the support member 12 securely mounted, the rest of the apparatus or the applicator is mounted by sliding the swivel joint 20 onto the first cross member 19, in accordance with figure 3a or Figure 3b as required.
The swing arm is raised into the retracted position with the locking mechanism 63. A roll of film 174 is then mounted on the first spindle 64. This is mounted as shown in Figures 6a and 6b and as detailed above.
The apparatus 10 is mounted on the balustrade 198 with the
trough-shaped pressing mechanism 90 in the open configuration (Figure
8b). The pressing mechanism 90 is then closed. With the pivot connections
18, 22 and the sliding swivel joint 20 loosened as required, the horizontal
and vertical position of the apparatus is adjusted. The rear roller 41 and
rollers 110-115 serve to ensure that the apparatus is accurately located
relative to the handrail. If required, the nut and bolt assembly 105, 105a is
adjusted. With the apparatus properly located, the pivot connections 18, 22
and the sliding swivel joint 20 can be locked. Final angular adjustment is
achieved using a bubble level. Alignment and clearances should then be checked. The alignment can be checked using the mechanism shown in Figure 15. For
this purpose, the centre line of the release sheet 166 is measured and marked with a ruler and pen, or the release sheet can be provided with a preprinted centre line. First, side elements 182 of the alignment mechanism 180 are grasped and displaced sideways and the mechanism 180 fitted onto the handrail 200. The side elements 182 are then released, so that the springs 188 cause the mechanism 180 to snugly abut the sides of the handrail 200. This will automatically align the laser 190 with the centre of the handrail. The angular position of the laser 190 can be adjusted if desired.
The position of the laser beam relative to the centre line mark will indicate whether roll 174 is properly aligned. If necessary, the roll position can be adjusted, depressing spindle lever 140 to release the spindle tension and sliding roll 174 until the mark and laser coincide. The laser guide is then removed from the handrail.
The swing arm 60 is locked in place using locking
mechanism 63 and the pressing mechanism 90 is opened. The roller 46 is
placed in the retracted position as shown in Figure 2a by turning handle 56
to the forward direction. This causes the crank member 54 to point upwards
and the roller 46 to lift above the handrail. With roll 174 in place, the end
160a of the film is fed around the retracted roller 46 and pulled manually
through the open press mechanism 90 and directed along the length of the
handrail. The tail end of the film is wrapped around the sides of the
handrail, after peeling back a corresponding length of the release sheet 166.
The adhesion at this point allows for wrinkles and air pockets. The pressing
mechanism 90 is then closed and release sheet 166, peeled off the film 190, is
directed around and above the roll 174 and secured by tape to a take up roll
178. The roll 178 is mounted on the spindle 66. The crank is released from
the ratchet 58 and rotated 180° and the crank member 54 now points
downwards relative to the crankshaft and the roller 46 is pressed by the
spring into contact with the handrail 200 (Figure 2b). The swing arm 60 is
then unlocked so that the roll 174. abuts and tracks against roller 46. The
weight of the swing arm adds to the force applied to the film during
Once the film 160 contacts the handrail 200, this can be jogged a short distance, to establish the thread-up and confirm the centre alignment. The edges of the film should be even and symmetrical on the handrail shoulders. If not, the position of roll 174 can be adjusted.
The leading portion of the film 160 adjacent the end 160a is then manually wrapped around the handrail 20, to the configuration shown in Figures 7c, ensuring that no bubbles are formed or left under the film. The pressing mechanism 90 is then closed, and the escalator jogged to run a test strip of approximately five feet to ensure that no bubbles or wrinkles are formed. The pressure applied by roll 46 can be adjusted by turning a nut (not shown) below spring 48a on plunger 52. Roll pressure within press mechanism 90 is adjusted by turning the bolt 105a which varies the closing of the two halves of the pressing mechanism.
Once it has been established that the apparatus is properly centered with adequate clearances and that the film 160 is being applied uniformly without wrinkles, bubbles, etc., then the escalator can be operated to run the film around the entire length of the.handrail.
The operator watches for the end 160a of the film to come back towards the apparatus 10. End 160a, which was pressed down by hand, passes underneath the roller 41 which helps ensure that the film was adequately pressed onto the handrail. Once end 160a returns to the mechanism, a portion of the film is allowed to overlap the end 160a by approximately 12 inches.
At this time, the swing arm 60 is raised, and pressure on the roller 46 is released by engaging the handle 56. The pressing mechanism 90 is opened. The film is cut. The threaded screw member 21 is loosened to permit removal of the upper portion of the apparatus 10 from the support member 12. The support member 12 with the vacuum cups 16 is then removed separately.
An overlap splice is then prepared by pulling up 3 to 4 inches of the excess film. This is. trimmed cleanly at a 90° angle. It is then smoothed down by hand ensuring that no bubbles or wrinkles are present.
It can be noted that this splice joint is such that the natural action of rollers and other drive elements contacting the handrail will tend to smooth down the joint, rather than tending to lift up the end of the film.
It is recognized that where the film 160 bears advertising, it would almost certainly be intended that a particular application only be left on an escalator for a set period of time. Indeed, rates for advertising on escalator handrails will almost certainly be determined on a time basis.
When a particular advertiser"s time has ended and it is desired to replace the film, then the existing film needs to be removed. To do this, the escalator is stopped with the film splice exposed on one handrail (it is expected that each handrail will need to be stripped separately). The end of the film is peeled up, to reveal the end last applied to the handrail. This end can then be peeled off itself. If the film peels cleanly, then the escalator can be started and the strip removed continuously while standing at the top or bottom of the escalator.
If the film 160 leaves any residue on the handrail 200, then it is preferred to proceed more slowly and to strip the handrail 200 carefully, to reduce the clean up time. In this case, it is preferred to leave the escalator turned off and from a lower angle, peel the film from the lip area to the top face in small steps and clean adhesive off as one proceeds.
Any remaining adhesive left on the handrail should be removed. To remove adhesive, EH 101 solvent blend, acetone, Oil Flo or Liftoff or other suitable solvent should be used, and again in accordance with manufacturers" instructions.
Even for a handrail that has had a film applied before, it should then be washed and sealed as detailed above.
Reference will now be made to Figures 14,15 and 16, which show an apparatus, generally indicated at 210, for peeling or removing a film from a handrail. Here, a balustrade 212 of a moving walkway or the like is shown, by way of example, with a handrail indicated at 214, in cross-section.
The apparatus 210 has a pair of suction cups 216, which can
correspond to the suction cups 16 of the earlier embodiment. A support arm 218 is provided extending out from the suction cups 216, corresponding to the support member 12. A longitudinal member 220 has a general L-shape and is mounted to the support arm 218. The member 220 includes a downwardly extending end portion 222, so as to have an overall L-shape.
Pivotally mounted to the downwardly extending portion 222 is a yoke 224. A pin 226 extends between side arms 228 of the yoke 224 and a drive drum or cylinder 230 is rotatably mounted on the shaft 226. A first drive gear 232 is securely mounted to the shaft 226. A first clutch plate 234 is attached to a pressure plate 236 which is mounted for sliding movement on the shaft 226 and is provided with splines or the like to cause it to rotate with the shaft 226. A second clutch plate 235 is secured to the drive drum 230. A spring 38 is provided for pressing the two clutch plates 234, 236 together, and acting between one arm 228 and the pressure plate 236.
Consequently, in use, as the drive drum 230 is rotated, as detailed below, it transfers drive through the two clutch plates 234, 236 to the shaft 226. This in turn drives the first drive gear 232.
A swing arm 240 is freely, pivotally mounted on the shaft 226. An idler gear 242 is pivotally mounted to the middle of the swing arm 240. A further shaft 244 is pivotally mounted to the other end of the swing arm 240.
A second drive gear 246 and an associated first spindle 247 are secured together and to the shaft 244.
To maintain necessary pressures, telescopic shafts with bias springs are provided, as indicated at 248, 249. The shaft 248 is pivotally connected to the longitudinally extending member 220 and to a side arm of the yoke 224. The second telescopic shaft 249 is pivotally connected between the longitudinally extending member 220 and the swing arm 240 to maintain a take-up roll (detailed below) pressed against the handrail.
In use, the apparatus 210 would be mounted as shown in Figure 14. It would be mounted with the drive roller 230 pressed against the
top of the handrail 214, by suitable adjustment of the vacuum clamps 216 and the support arm 218. A take-up roll 250 is mounted on the spindle 247 in such a manner that torque or drive is transmitted between them. The handrail would then be driven in the direction of the arrow 252 causing the drum 230 to rotate. The drive gears 232 and 246 are sized so that the surface of the take-up roll 250 is moving at a greater speed than the handrail 214. It can be noted that, as detailed below, film is continuously wound on the roll 250, so that this surface or circumferential velocity will increase, for a constant angular velocity. The clutch mechanism, formed by the clutch plates 234,235 is designed to compensate for this difference in speeds, as for the apparatus described above, and to maintain a constant torque on the take-up roll 250.
As shown, with a film 254 present on the handrail, a free end 256 of the film is first manually detached from the handrail and wound sufficiently around the roll 250 to be secured thereto.
Consequently, as the handrail 214 is driven in the direction 252, the mechanism of the apparatus 210 continuously removes the film 254 and winds it up on the roll 250. This is continued until the entire film has been removed. At this time, the apparatus 210 can then be used to remove the film on the opposite side of the moving walkway or escalator, in known manner. It will be appreciated that, for this purpose, the support arm 218 is configured to enable the apparatus to be mounted to both sides of escalators and moving handrails.
It has been found that, for a five-inch wide film, the peel strength or load required is 35 pounds (155 Newtons). This is a substantial load, and in some cases, it may cause slipping of the handrail drive mechanism, particularly where it has been set up with relatively low tension levels. For these situations, it is envisaged that the drive drum 230 can be provided with a separate power source, e.g. an electric motor, to ensure adequate driving of both the apparatus 210 and the handrail during film removal. Alternatively, the drive drum 230 can be omitted and a separate drive connected directly to the spindle 248.
It is also envisaged that the apparatus 210 could be integral with the apparatus 10. For this purpose, the support member 12 and the support arm 218 could be integral with one another, and an appropriate number of suction cups 16, 216 could be provided. For a combined apparatus, two suction cups may be sufficient, or it may be desirable to provide more than two.
Then, the longitudinally extending member 32 of the apparatus 10 and the longitudinally extending member 220 of the peeling or stripping apparatus 210 can be integral with one another, so as to provide an integral device or apparatus. Such a combined apparatus would enable simultaneous stripping or removal of one film and mounting of a new film, replacing the older film. Clearly, this is only acceptable in cases where stripping of the film leaves the handrail sufficiently clean, without undesirable traces of adhesive and the like.
In such a combined apparatus, it is believed that the problem of accidental stalling of the handrail will be more acute, due to the increased load required to both remove an existing film and lay down a new film. For this purpose, it may be more desirable to provide some separate drive, from an electric motor or the like, to drive the equipment.
Reference will now be made to Figures 17a-17d, which show examples of perforation patterns for incorporation in the film of the present invention. It is proposed to provide the film with a relatively strong adhesive, but as will be explained, it is believed that this could cause problems and for this reason perforations are provided. When the adhesive is functioning properly, this will ensure that the film remains in position, does not tend to become removed and entangled with the drive mechanism. Nonetheless, it must be recognized that, for a variety of reasons, the edge or end of the film, or other portions, of the film could become detached for one reason or another.
In this context, it is to be appreciated that the film presently proposed for the present invention has significant strength, and indeed has a 250-pound break strength across a 5-inch (approx. 12.5 cm) width. If an
edge of the film becomes detached, it could become entangled with part of
the drive or guidance mechanism of the handrail. Conceivably an end of the film could become wrapped around a guide roller and it could progressively remove the entire length of the film and cause it to wrap around the roller; likely the mechanism would jam before the entire length had been removed. In any event, this is highly undesirable and would present a significant maintenance problem. In this context, it is noted that the present invention is intended for operation by relatively low-skilled personnel, or at least personnel that need no detailed knowledge of an escalator or handrail drive mechanism. Such personnel would not have the skills necessary to deal with a major entanglement of the film about part of the drive or guidance mechanism.
Accordingly, with the intention of avoiding this problem, it is proposed to weaken the film, by means of perforations. The intention is that if any edge does become free so as to adhere to part of the drive mechanism etc., the film should enable a small portion of the film to become detached from the handrail, by the film separating at lines or perforations. This should ensure that a small portion of the film becomes detached and this should not interrupt operation of the handrail. If when inspecting the film, or replacing the film, it is noted that one or more portions of the film are missing and it is suspected that they have become attached to hidden parts of the drive mechanism, then this can be noted for investigation for a qualified maintenance team at a later date.
As noted above, the peel strength for a 5-inch width of film is approximately 35 pounds (155 Newtons). It is intended to provide perforations to weaken the film strength down to approximately 45 pounds (200 Newtons). This gives an adequate margin for enabling the film to be peeled off the handrail, while at the same time significantly weakening the film, down from the original strength of 250 pounds (1,112 Newtons). This avoids any excessive and unwanted loads being applied to any part of the drive and guidance mechanism.
Reference will now be made to Figures 17a, 17b which show
in detail alternative perforation patterns. It will be appreciated that any suitable perforation configuration can be provided. Indeed, it is conceivable that the arrangement of the perforations could be shaped according to advertising material placed on the film and even incorporated as part of the advertising material; otherwise the perforations are intended to be largely invisible to an ordinary user.
In all of Figures 17a-17d, a simple section of handrail is indicated, with the longitudinal axis of the handrail extending vertically in all these figures. It will be appreciated that the perforation pattern will be repeated at suitable intervals, for example, every 12 inches (30 cm).
Referring first to Figure 17a, a film is indicated at 260 and is provided with a diagonal line of perforations 262. Additionally, Figure 17a shows side margins 264. These were originally intended to provide unperforated zones at the edge of the film, in the belief that this was necessary to maintain sufficient film strength. In fact, it has been found that the opposite is the case; it is necessary to have significant perforations going the full width in order to reduce the film"s strength down to a suitable level. For this reason, it is envisaged that unperforated side margins will likely not be provided.
The length of the slits and the gap between the slits can be varied and the following table gives some exemplary dimensions:
Slit Length (inches/mm) Slit Gap (inches/mm)
Figure 17b shows a slight variation of Figure 17a. Here, the slits are longitudinal, although the line along which the slits or perforations
are located is again diagonal 45 degrees. The slits here are 0.2 inches long and spaced apart by 0.2 inches.
A further variant is shown in Figure 17c. Here, a line of perforations is provided, which comprises different line segments all running at 45 degrees to the longitudinal axis for the handrail, but in alternating directions. Slit lengths and slit gaps as in the table above could be employed in this configuration.
Figure 17c also shows another variant that can be employed with all the configurations for the perforations, namely the provision of two rows of longitudinally extending perforations 270 defining side margins. Here the side margins are relatively small at 0.0625 inches (1.6 mm), but the side margins could have varying dimensions and could be significantly larger, for example 0.25 inches (6.35 mm) or larger. More particularly, the side margins could be dimensioned so that a portion of the film that, in use covers just the top surfaces of the handrail is separated by these longitudinally extending perforations 270 from film that wraps underneath the bottom of the lips of the handrail.
Figure 17d, finally, shows a simple version of the perforations. Here, the perforations are arranged in a straight line 272 extending perpendicularly across the film. Again, slit lengths and slit gaps can be taken from the table given above. Longitudinally extending perforations 270 can optionally be included.
It is noted above that the film is ideally made from two layers of polyurethane with a thickness of 3 mil. It is now anticipated that the bottom layer of film could have a thickness of 2 mil and the top layer a thickness of 3 mil and conceivably, both layers could have a thickness of 2 mil. This will reduce the overall break strength of the film, and hence reduce the level of perforation required to reduce the break strength down to a reasonable figure, for safety purposes.
A further aspect of the present invention is to provide a flexible film for mounting on a handrail, to provide a cleaning function. rhus, rather than providing advertising or the like, it is envisaged that the
surface of the film could be provided with some coating to provide a cleaning function as it runs through the hidden and enclosed mechanism of an escalator or moving walkway. For this purpose, it will be appreciated that it is not necessary for the film to have two layers. With reference to the configuration of Figure 12, the layers 168 and 170, and optionally 172, could be omitted, i..e. at a minimum for this aspect of the invention, just a layer 162 (with different properties from those described above, as detailed below), an adhesive layer 164 and a release sheet 166 are required.
For example, in one embodiment, such a proposal could
include an adhesive on the top surface of the film, i.e. similar to the layer
172 but with selected adhesive properties, intended to pick up fluff, dirt, lint
and the like from within the escalator mechanism. For this purpose, the
film would be mounted on the handrail as described above and the
handrail operated for a desired period of time. The film would then be
removed, taking with it any fluff, dirt, etc. picked upon the film. Other
variants are envisaged. For example, the film could be provided with a
porous or absorbent structure to absorb oils, greases and the like from
surfaces within the handrail mechanism; this could be provided either by
incorporating this characteristic into the single layer 162 or by providing a
separate layer adhered to the film 162 by the adhesive layer 172. It is
recognized that an inherent difficulty with such an approach is that the
drive mechanism of many escalators imposes a strong pinch load on the
handrail, which will naturally tend to squeeze out absorbed oils, greases and
other fluids. For example, many escalators now employ a so-called linear
drive which, by its very nature, requires a high pinch load, to provide an
For such installations, it is envisaged that an absorbent layer could be in the form of an open, porous absorbent material provided with longitudinally extending ribs or the like of relatively hard material. These ribs would be flush with the absorbent material, but would serve to transfer the pinch load of the rollers, to prevent excessive compression of the porous material, thereby preventing absorbed fluids and the like from
A further possibility is that a multi-layer film could be provided. For example, a bottom or main film could be provided with adhesive on both sides, so as to adhere to an escalator handrail on one side. The adhesive on the other side could initially be bonded to an absorbent layer of material. Such a film would first be run so that the absorbent layer picks up oils, other fluids, etc. After a sufficient period of time, this absorbent layer would, separately, be removed, to leave the film itself and an exposed layer of adhesive. The film itself would then be run through the drive mechanism, so that the exposed layer of adhesive picks up dirt, fluff and the like. The film would then be peeled off the escalator to remove the accumulated dirt, fluff, etc.
The presently preferred adhesive film only sticks properly to Hypalon rubber handrails. Hypalon is a chlorosulphonated rubber made by DuPont, which has enhanced UV properties and is pigmentable. It is more expensive material, but is commonly selected where coloured handrails are required.
Most handrails are made with SBR (styrene butadiene rubber) because it has sufficient properties for most applications and is cheaper. SBR can only be black. Adhesive film will initially stick, but will delaminate within days, if not hours because of the antioxidant component that leaches from SBR.
Hence, for the presently preferred adhesive, most escalator sites will require handrail replacement /upgrade to Hypalon prior to film i application. It may be possible to find a suitable adhesive that will bond adequately to SBR handrails.
It will be appreciated that while preferred embodiments of the invention have been described, numerous variations are possible within the scope of the invention as defined in the following claims.
In particular, the degree to which the film 160 wraps around the handrail can be adjusted and will depend on individual handrail profiles and installations. Having the film wrap a large way
around the handrail lips is advantageous as it puts the edge of the film well away from users and not readily accessible to anyone who, for whatever reason, might want to try and peel it off. On the other hand, where the film wraps all the way around the lips, it can tend to buckle as the handrail travels around end rollers and the like. Accordingly, it is expected that some compromise will usually be needed between these two parameters.
On a more general note, the film described herein can be
applied to a stationary handrail as used in a normal stairwell.
1. An elongate handrail having a top surface and adjacent shoulder
surfaces and a flexible film adhered to the handrail, the film comprising: a film layer having a display surface thereon and a layer of adhesive between the film layer and the handrail along the length of the handrail bonding the film layer to the handrail, said film layer covering the top surface and at least a portion of said shoulder surfaces and wherein the flexible film is generally continuous along the length of the handrail.
2. The handrail and a film as claimed in claim 1, wherein the film layer covers substantially all of the shoulder surfaces.
3. The handrail and a film as claimed in any of the preceding claims, wherein the film comprises a first film layer and a first layer of adhesive between the first film layer and the handrail, bonding the first film layer on top of the handrail; and
a second film layer and a second layer of adhesive bonding the second film layer to the first film layer, wherein the flexible film is generally continuous along the length of the handrail.
4. The handrail and a film as claimed in any of the preceding claims,
wherein the film comprises a first film layer and a first layer of
adhesive between the first film layer and the handrail, bonding the first film layer on top of the handrail; and
a second film layer and a second layer of adhesive bonding the second film layer to the first film layer, wherein the flexible film is generally continuous along the length of the handrail and the film extends around the outer surfaces of the shoulders of the handrail.
5. The handrail and a film as claimed in claim 3 or 4 wherein it includes printed matter on top of the first film layer, between the first film layer and the second layer of adhesive.
6. The handrail and a film as claimed in claim 5, wherein the printed matter comprises a pattern repeated at regular intervals along the length of the film.
7. The handrail and a film as claimed in claim 3 wherein each layer of the film comprises polyurethane with an approximate thickness of 3 mil and an appropriate adhesive with an approximate thickness of 1 mil.
8. The handrail and a film as claimed in any of the preceding claims, wherein the film comprises a film layer and a layer of adhesive between the film layer and the handrail along the length of the handrail bonding the film layer to the handrail, wherein the
flexible film is generally continuous along the length of the handrail, wherein the handrail comprises a continuous loop of handrail, intended to be driven in use on an escalator or moving walkway, and wherein the film includes end portions which overlap one another to form a spliced joint.
9. The handrail and a film as claimed in claim 8, wherein the film extends around the outside of the handrail and partially covers the shoulders of the handrail.
10. The handrail and a film as claimed in 1, 2, 8 or 9, wherein the film layer is provided with printed matter.
11. The handrail and a film as claimed in claim 10, wherein the printed matter comprises a pattern repeated at regular intervals along the length of the film.
12. An apparatus for applying an adhesive film to a moving handrail as claimed in any of the preceding claims, wherein the apparatus comprises mounting means for mounting the apparatus to a balustrade; a first spindle means, for mounting a first roll of film; and a pressure means for applying pressure to the film to cause the film to adhere to the handrail, whereby, in use, the handrail can be driven past the apparatus, causing the film to be unrolled
from the first roll with the means for applying pressure causing the film to adhere to the handrail.
13. An apparatus as claimed in claim 12, wherein the pressure
means comprises at least one roller.
14. An apparatus as claimed in claim 12, which includes adjustment means for adjusting the position of the first spindle means relative to the mounting means.
15. An apparatus as claimed in claim 12, wherein the mounting means comprises suction cups for vacuum attachment of the apparatus to a smooth surface of a balustrade.
16. An apparatus as claimed in claim 12, wherein the mounting means comprises clamping means for clamping the apparatus to a balustrade.
17. An apparatus as claimed in claim 12, which includes a second spindle means, on which a second roll, for taking up a release sheet, is mounted in use and a drive means between the first and second spindle means, whereby unwinding of film from a roll on the first spindle means causes the first spindle means to drive the second spindle means, thereby causing the second spindle means to take up a release sheet separated from film leaving the first roll.
An apparatus as claimed in claim 17, wherein the drive means comprises a gear train.
An apparatus as claimed in claim 18, wherein the gear train includes a ratio of speeds between the first and second spindles such that the second spindle means is always driven at a speed faster than required to wind up the release sheet, and wherein the apparatus includes clutch means in at least one of the first and second spindle means, to dissipate excess speed.
An apparatus as claimed in claim 19, wherein the apparatus includes a main body secured to the mounting means, wherein the first and second spindle means are pivotally mounted to a swing arm pivotally mounted to the main body, and wherein the pressure means includes a main roller pivotally mounted relative to the longitudinally extending member.
An apparatus as claimed in claim 20, which includes spring biasing means for biasing the main roller towards the top of an escalator handrail.
An apparatus as claimed in claim 17, which includes adjustable support means, extending from the mounting means to the main body, the adjustable support means enabling adjustment of the
location of the main body, both horizontally and vertically in a plane perpendicular to the handrail.
An apparatus as claimed in claim 22, wherein the adjustable support means includes an upwardly extending member connected to the mounting means, a first cross member, a first pivot connection between the first cross member and the upwardly extending member, a sliding swivel joint slidable along the first cross member and securable thereto, a second cross member, a second pivot connection pivotally connecting the second cross member to the sliding pivot joint and a downwardly extending member extending downwardly from the second cross member to the main body.
An apparatus as claimed in claim 23, wherein the pressure means includes a pressing mechanism including a plurality of pairs of rollers mounted symmetrically about the centre line of the pressing mechanism, corresponding to a centre line of a handrail, the pairs of rollers extending from a rearward end of pressing mechanism to a forward end thereof, the rearward and forward ends corresponding to the direction of motion of a handrail, wherein a rearward pair of rollers are mounted adjacent to the centre line of the mechanism, and each successive pair of rollers, towards the forward end of the pressing mechanism, is mounted progressively further apart, whereby as a handrail passes through
" the pressing mechanism, the film is progressively wrapped around the outer surface of the lips of the handrail from the centre line of the handrail, and wherein the pressing mechanism is located forwardly of the main roller.
25. An apparatus as claimed in claim 24, wherein the pressing mechanism comprises a generally trough-shaped member comprising a pair of trough-shaped element halves, symmetrical about the centre line of the apparatus, and wherein the apparatus includes a mechanism for opening the trough-shaped element to displace the halves laterally, to permit mounting on a handrail, and enabling closing of the trough-shaped element to locate the trough-shaped element around a handrail with the rollers abutting the handrail surface.
26. An apparatus for removing an adhesive film from a moving handrail, as claimed in any of the preceding claims, the apparatus comprising:
mounting means for mounting the apparatus to a
a first spindle means for mounting a take-up roll;
a drive cylinder pivotally mounted to the apparatus;
means for pressing the drive cylinder against a handrail, to
receive a drive input when the handrail is in motion;
transmission means connecting the drive cylinder to the first spindle means, for driving a take-up roll mounted on the first spindle means to wind up a film from the handrail.
27. An apparatus as claimed in claim 26, wherein the transmission means comprises a gear train between the cylinder and the first spindle means.
28. An apparatus as claimed in claim 27, wherein the gear train is sized to drive the first drive cylinder with a higher circumferential velocity than the velocity of the handrail and wherein the transmission means includes a clutch permitting slippage and for maintaining a substantially constant torque on the take-up roll.
29. An apparatus as claimed in claim 27, wherein the drive cylinder is movably mounted relative to a main support member of the apparatus, and wherein the transmission means and the first spindle are mounted on a swing arm pivotally mounted with respect to the drive cylinder, whereby, in use, the drive cylinder is pressed against the surface of the handrail, and the take-up roll on the first spindle rests on the surface of the handrail.
30. An apparatus as claimed in 26 in combination with an apparatus as claimed in claim 1.
DATED THIS THE 30TH DAY OF AUGUST, 2001
OF RBMFRY & SA GAR
ATTORNEYS FOR THE APPICANTS
|Indian Patent Application Number||IN/PCT/2001/01014/MUM|
|PG Journal Number||09/2008|
|Date of Filing||30-Aug-2001|
|Name of Patentee||RONALD H. BALL|
|Applicant Address||C/O E.H.C 1287 BOUNDARY ROAD, OSHAWA, ONTARIO L1J 6Z7, CANADA|
|PCT International Classification Number||B66B23/24,G09F19/22|
|PCT International Application Number||PCT/CA00/00166|
|PCT International Filing date||2000-02-18|