HARAX® at Thyssen-Norte – Production process improvement

Thyssen Norte has restructured its manufacturing operations through the implementation of LEAN production methods. Consequently, a completely different way of managing the internal operations at the factory had to be introduced. A mini-factory for electrical parts has been set up to supply all the electrical parts for escalators to other mini-factories within the plant at precisely the right time.

The escalators and/or walkways go through different production stages, there is a designated time period for each stage and once this fixed period has been completed the escalator moves on to the next stage. In other words, a series manufacturing method has been introduced.

This working method means that we have to carry out more work away from the machine, so that when it comes to working on the machine we are able to work as quickly as possible, while simultaneously ensuring total reliability and quality.

To achieve this, working cells which are linked to each step in the work process have been implemented. They carry out the jobs that need to be done before work on the machine can actually begin.

When designing the new electrical installations we aimed at the following objectives:

  • Minimize time spent on each production step
  • Increased production flexibility
  • Maximum reliability in production. 100% testing of units
  • Reduction of box and cabinet sizes
  • Facilitated maintenance and installation
  • Total quality

Modular system

Modular system

The first task was therefore to allow for a certain amount of independence in terms of the electrical connections to cut down the time spent on fitting cables to terminal blocks at the various connection points. Consequently, distribution boxes are now being utilized in such in a way that all these boxes are interconnected to each other via multi-polar cables.

These cables are connected to the boxes via Han DD and Han-Modular multiple connectors. Cables with more wires than the connector are used so that the connector is always transparent (one to one) and that there are spare wires to deal with any problems. This greatly facilitates the wiring process since the same cables are always used, which makes them very easy to test. This part of the process is very important because everything that is to be fitted on the machine must be 100% tested to guarantee correct operation. The ultimate goal is to prevent idle machine run times. All finished products from each production cell are tested and pass through an automatic control system before they can be used in the final machine.

Time reduction

Time reduction

Also, the escalator has a large number of field elements, mainly safety measures, made up of safety cut offs, inductors, photocells and other auxiliary equipment. Furthermore, not all escalators are identical. Consequently, to make all these mini-connections (with two, three, or a maximum of four wires) completely flexible the connections must be absolutely safe and fast. HARAX connectors have been chosen for all of these connections.

Space reduction

Space reduction

In the past, the multi-cables used to pass through a cable clamp to the inside of the boxes. They were connected to terminal blocks on the interior. This was a complex process. It also meant that they could not be tested until they were activated, which in turn made the testing process more time-consuming. In addition to requiring this multitude of cable connections, the terminal blocks take up a lot of the very limited space.

Thanks to the utilization of Han DD 42 and 24 pole connectors, less time and space is now required. We are also in a position now to test the connections prior to their final installation, thereby guaranteeing total quality. The process was similar for the peripheral connections. Each cable had to be passed through a cable clamp before being connected to a terminal block inside the boxes. In other words, the terminal blocks took up the entire size of the box.

Thanks to the HARAX connectors we can now carry out the connection work separately from the internal box wiring. Consequently, terminal blocks are virtually redundant, given that the connections are made inside the HARAX connector via faston terminals. We can thus install other control elements inside the boxes, which was previously impossible. This means that the escalator operation control system can be distributed to different control boxes, thus making the main operation control box smaller and lighter. This is important because the control boxes have to be installed inside the escalator, where space is limited. It is crucial that the boxes can be easily removed.



Another aim was to speed up the maintenance and operational escalator updating processes while facilitating error-free work and ensuring the highest level of product quality.

Therefore, if safety cut out connection cables should cease to function for any reason, we know that there is no risk of making a mistake when connecting a new cable because the maintenance staff do not need to open the boxes. All they have to do is remove the exterior of the HARAX connector and make the appropriate connection (this requires very few tools since the outer cable cover only has to be stripped).

The same thing happens with the multi-wire cables, where the use of connectors totally eliminates the risk of an incorrect installation when escalators are being worked on and they are disassembled in many pieces, provided they have been 100% tested when they left the factory.

Pere Joan del Valle

Product Manager & Marketing Industrial Markets


HARTING Elektronik, S.A.

José Mendiolagoitia Juliana

Ingeniero Industrial


Electrical R&D Manager
Thyssen Norte


Thyssen Krupp Industrial de España


Elevation Division

THYSSEN NORTE S.A's operations focus on the design, manufacture, installation (in Spain and Portugal) and after-sales service of escalators and moving walkways for facilities such as shopping centres, railway as well as underground stations, airports, etc.

The factory is located in the Polígono de La Pereda industrial park, in the town of Mieres del Camino, which is in the region of Asturias, Spain.

THYSSEN NORTE S.A. belongs to the Elevation Division of GRUPO THYSSEN KRUPP INDUSTRIAL, Spain.