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Vertical Reciprocating Conveyor Application Guide

Where should you utilize VRC's?

4-post vertical reciprocating conveyor liftVertical reciprocating conveyors (VRC's) move materials in factories, warehouses, industrial plants, institutions or anywhere that products or supplies need to move from one level to another.  They provide fast, efficient, convenient and safe access to/from mezzanines, balconies, basements, and between levels in multiple story buildings. They can be installed for through-floor, interior or exterior applications.

VRC specification guide. (PDF file, 976.64KB).

VRC's are a very safe method, designed to transport everything from a pallet to a package - including four wheel carts, even palletized loads with pallet jacks and lift trucks or AGV's.

There are two basic VRC types - hydraulic and mechanical.

A hydraulic lift is less expensive than a mechanical to purchase and install. It can be used with loads from 1,000 to 6,000 lbs. It has a maximum carriage size of 10' x 10' or maximum vertical lift of 22' and the capacity to stop at two levels.

A mechanical lift is used where larger carriages are needed, where a vertical rise greater than 22' is required, or where the capacity to stop at three or more levels is required.

VRC's come in lift designs of straddle, cantilever, 4-post, and double mast.

  • Straddle Design: places the carriage between the guide beams and applies the load forces in the vertical direction along the length of the guide beams. This design allows for greater lifting capacities, larger platform sizes, and the ability to handle higher rollover forces created during loading and unloading.
  • Cantilever Design: The load-carrying carriage is mounted out in front of the mast or guide beams. It allows access from 3 sides of the platform.
  • Four Post Designs have the platform mounted within the four guide beams. This design can use very large platform sizes and offers very high capacities.
  • Double Mast Design: This design requires the use of 4 guide beams. The carriage or carrier is cantilevered between the two sets of masts. The capacity and platform sizes are less when compared to the four post design.

Utilizing older, multi-floor buildings

With the increased costs of land and building construction, new companies for their start-up expansion are utilizing older buildings. A VRC can streamline a manufacturing or warehousing operation in this type of facility and make it a less expensive, productive operation. A VRC can relieve the burden of moving materials and cargo on an existing elevator thus freeing up the elevator for the purpose it was intended - moving people.

The VRC can also be strategically located within the building to provide vertical transportation of goods or materials within close proximity of the production or storage area or it can be installed on the outside wall of the building if space is not available inside.

VRC's and Mezzanines

With the increased usage of vertical space in buildings today, vertical conveyors are an excellent choice for moving materials from first floor level to the mezzanine level. VRC's may be installed either along the edge of a mezzanine or through a hole cut in the mezzanine floor depending on the user's preference and the handling requirements. This precludes the need to wait for, and tie up, expensive portable equipment for placing materials directly on the mezzanine or in a staging area.

Utilizing VRC's in Multi-floor Buildings

With the increased costs of land and building construction, new companies for their start-up expansion are utilizing older buildings. The use of a VRC can streamline a manufacturing or warehousing operation in this type of facility and make it a less expensive, productive facility. The addition of a VRC can relieve the burden of moving materials and cargo on an existing elevator thus freeing up the elevator for the purpose it was intended, moving people. The VRC can also be strategically located within the building to provide vertical transportation of goods or materials within close proximity of the production or storage area or it can be installed on the outside wall of the building if space is not available inside.

Existing Elevator Shafts

A VRC may be installed in an existing shaft if the application requires moving only goods or materials and not personnel.

Integrating VRC's and automated systems

The platform of a VRC may be equipped with a powered roller conveyor assembly, a gravity conveyor with a drop lock assembly, a chain transfer conveyor assembly, a turntable device and/or a pusher assembly and can interface with conveyor lines, single or multi-level rack system, or a transport. The controls can be so designed such that the carriage or carrier can receive the load automatically, deliver products to a pre-selected destination and then return to its original position automatically.

Some questions to ask yourself about your vertical lifting application:

  1. What do you need your VRC to do?
  2. How often will it be used?
  3. How much weight does it need to lift?
  4. How big of a carriage do you need?
  5. How will you load/unload the VRC?
  6. How high do you need to lift?
  7. What are your clearances around the VRC?
  8. Where do you need perimeter safety enclosures?
  9. What type of gate(s) do you need?
  10. What electrical power do you have available?

Application possibilities include:

  • Distribution Centers & warehouses: Integrate VRC's into automated conveyor systems, sortation systems, and mezzanine or pick module applications.
  • General manufacturing or assembly Plants: move pallets, carts, totes, bins and other loads in picking and kitting operations.
  • Chemical and Pharmaceutical manufacturing: VRC's are excellent for multilevel applications where movement of materials in process, drums, tanks, or bags.
  • Printing Operations utilize vertical reciprocating conveyors to move paper rolls, die boards, plates, and printed materials in process between levels.
  • Automotive dealerships make extensive use of vertical conveyors, particularly in stock rooms and parts departments to move parts between mezzanine levels.
  • Government and military facilities often employ VRC's to deal with multi-level, vertical movement of parts and supplies. At military bases, the ability to service more than two levels is significant.
  • Airports utilize VRC's for luggage and baggage handling applications.
  • VRC's are utilized in a wide variety of other facilities, including schools, theatres, self storage facilities, retail establishments, large hotels, casinos, country clubs, and other commercial operations