The Helixator technology has been developed in the last years to provide architects and city planners a new tool for designing cities. It is a highly flexible escalator system that allows construction of escalators in any given geometry, including strait, curved and helical escalators.
The idea to build such escalator systems is not new. It started appearing in science fiction novels, with first built attempts as early as the nineteenth century, followed by numerous patents and installations throughout the twentieth century. Yet no system has proven viable or effective to successfully commercialize.
The Helixator technology intends to change all that, with a new approach to design, and the use of contemporary CAD and 3D printing tools. The core assumption in designing the Helixator system was the use of a central monorail structure; a single structure concentrating all necessary components of an escalator system. This allows to build exceptionally flexible systems, with relatively short installation times. And indeed architects and planners have already incorporated Helixator machines in their proposed designs, solving many functional and aesthetic problems.
In order to validate the Helixator technology's mechanics, we relaid heavily on 3D printing, designing and printing many functional models and prototypes for evaluation purposes. Since the Helixator is essentially a rail system, the models where divided to two parts - Rail structure and step chain. The step chain prototypes are complex assemblies comprising many moving parts, with tight requirement for accuracy and mechanical properties. The main challenge for this prints was to find the proper 3D printing technology. Once found, the models where developed for allowing movement of many parts within a single print. (see image 3)
The latest prototype have proven the technology is viable, and the technology is ready for its industrial phase.