What are VRC lifts? / Why not use an elevator? / Benefits and safety features / Hydraulic vs. Mechanical / Where can I find a VRC lift?
Carrying your inventory up and down stairs is a hassle, and for more heavy-duty products, it is not even an option. If you are working in a multi-level facility that stores and ships large quantities of products and materials, you want to able to fully utilize your available space. However, without you an effective solution for moving freight from floor to floor, your storage options are severely limited.
With a VRC lift, you can skip the stairs and start using your storage space more effectively. With Martin Vertical Storage Solutions, taking your storage to next level and back is easier than ever. Their selection of VRC lifts from Custom Industrial Products (CIP) gives you access to the finest vertical storage options on the market.
But what are VRC lifts and what makes them a better choice than the usual forms of vertical transportation?
What are VRC lifts and what facilities use them?
VRC lifts are a unique form of industrial storage equipment that allows you to safely transport heavy freight from one floor to another. These lifts are also called “Vertical Reciprocating Conveyors.” This is just a more complicated way of saying the move stuff vertically.
VRC lifts are the most efficient way to move your inventory to your facility’s balconies, basement, or other floors throughout the building. These lifts are commonly used in combination with mezzanines and intermediate floors. Thus, they are often called “mezzanine lifts.”
Other common applications for VRC lifts include distribution centers, warehouses, parts manufacturing plants, hotels, and storage for retail and wholesale stores. You might also see VRC lifts in public institutions like schools and libraries. In fact, many schools use VRC lifts as a means of storing equipment for sports, physical education, music, and various other educational activities.
However, if you have been to a larger school, you have likely noticed an elevator or two. So, why not just use an elevator instead of a VRC lift?
Why not use an elevator?
Almost everyone uses elevators from time to time. Although they can make for some less-than-comfortable social interactions and bad horror movies, they are a reliable method for between floors. So, why not just stick with what’s familiar? Well, there is one central problem: people.
Elevators need to be designed to not just move products and materials but passengers as well. Therefore, they are required to satisfy a litany of national elevator safety codes to operate. Moreover, meeting these regulations significantly increases construction and maintenance costs.
VRC lifts, however, only need to move inventory between floors as a mezzanine lift. As a result, they are not bound by the many restrictions and regulations involved with elevator design. They can even be constructed in an empty elevator shaft if your facility happens to have one. So, they are the ideal option for installing vertical storage solutions at a minimal cost.
This does not mean that VRC lifts are dangerous by any means. Not carrying passengers just means they follow a separate series of rules. VRC lifts from Martin Vertical Storage are incredibly safe and reliable, coming with many safety features and other benefits:
VRC lift operational benefits and safety features
Safety is the most important aspect of operating industrial machinery, so vertical conveyors must follow a series of regulations outlined in ANSI/ASME B20.1. When you choose Martin Vertical Storage, you receive VRC lifts that meet and exceed these safety standards.
Meeting these standards requires more than just purchasing a lift, however. To fulfill the safety regulations for conveyors, your VRC lift must be installed by a trained professional. At Martin Vertical Storage, they take full responsibility for installing your lift and ensuring it runs optimally. Installing VRC lifts with Martin Vertical Storage also has many other advantages:
A reliable forklift alternative
Distribution centers and other facilities that handle heavy materials are natural homes for forklifts. Forklifts can quickly and efficiently move heavyweight pallets of materials in and out of your facility, but they are not without their downsides. These machines have many safety risks for employees and drivers. In fact, you will need a certified forklift operator and a staff trained on how to work around forklifts to minimize the chance of an accident occurring.
VRC lifts, on the other hand, are entirely stationary other than moving materials up and down. While they do need an operator, they do not move around your facility at high speeds. Although you will not be able to remove all forklifts from your operation, installing a VRC lift gives you the opportunity to reduce traffic and the risk of potential accidents in your facility.
Protecting workers from accidents
Facility accidents can come from much more than just forklifts. Thankfully, VRC lifts are designed to protect workers in many ways. In fact, VRC lifts eliminate the need for employees to transport items on and off your mezzanine by hand. As a result, they are less likely to fall, pull a muscle, or overwork to the point of exhaustion.
Most notably, this gives workers more time and energy to do complete tasks without putting too much strain on their bodies. And let’s be honest, avoiding injuries also means avoiding unnecessary losses to time off and worker’s compensation. By design, a VRC lift can significantly improve the safety of your workers as well as overall productivity.
Efficient use of floor space
Using a VRC lift as your main warehouse lift will not eliminate the need for ladders and staircases. As you know by now, your employees can take a ride with the products in the lift. The affordability of VRC lifts hinges on the fact that it does not carry passengers.
However, a VRC lift will noticeably decrease your reliance on your mezzanine’s stairs and ladders, allowing you to further optimize your space. One of the biggest problems with carrying inventory by hand is that only one worker can travel up and down the stairs at a time. If other employees are in the way, there is a much higher risk of an accident occurring, potentially damaging materials and injuring workers. A VRC lift allows people to traverse the mezzanine stairs with ease while it does the heavy lifting, preventing accidents and improving workflow.
Martin Vertical Storage also helps you efficiently use your available space by recommending lift models that may benefit your specific operation. For instance, the TL-M Series Lift is a good choice for facilities that need to fit their lift in a smaller area. Another example would be the Cantilever Lift or C-Series VRC Lift, which is ideal for facilities that do not have as much space overhead.
Whatever you choose, your VRC lift will be installed by certified professionals and will come with a variety of safety features.
Safety enclosures with door interlocks
VRC lifts are designed with both safety enclosures and door interlocking systems. Safety enclosures function as a prevention system, keeping inventory from falling out even during serious operational failures. The door interlocking system reinforces the enclosure by keeping the lift stationary whenever the doors are open. This ensures that your inventory is much less likely to be damaged during transport. This makes it ideal for use as a warehouse lift.
Fail-safes for braking and cable systems
Fail-safe systems are a necessity for keeping both inventory and employees safe. R.W. Martin VRC lifts are designed with brake fail-safes as well as slack cable switches. This ensures the lift can still stop during mechanical failures and prevents cables from unwinding if they are not maintaining proper tension.
In addition to these fail-safes, the lift’s motor also features a variable-frequency drive (VFD). This device controls lift acceleration as movement starts and ends. As a result, starts and stops are softer, which prevents wear and tear and keeps materials from getting bumped and jolted around.
Call stations and control panels with emergency stop buttons
Each VRC mechanical lift system comes with call stations and control panels. These features provide lift operators with all the information they need to safely operate the equipment. The call station constantly updates the position of the lift and the doors, while the control panel alerts operators to potential issues and offers troubleshooting options. Furthermore, these features have emergency stop buttons, allowing operators to stop the lift whenever they believe something is going wrong.
The safety of employees is of utmost importance and preventing damage to products and materials is a critical part of storage and distribution. These safety features ensure that you have a reliable vertical storage solution that keeps everyone and everything safe.
But not all VRC lifts offer the same performance. Some designs are more effective than others.
Hydraulic vs. Mechanical: Which is more effective?
VRC lifts are generally either hydraulic or mechanical. Martin Vertical Storage offers mechanical VRC lifts from Custom Industrial Products (CIP), but why not hydraulic? While it is true that both types of VRC lifts can transport freight reliably, hydraulic lifts have many design flaws that make them less efficient and cost-effective.
Hydraulic lifts are all power no speed
Hydraulic lifts move up and down by pumping hydraulic fluid into a cylinder that contains a piston. As the fluid is added or removed from the cylinder, the piston moves up and down, causing the lift to move.
When you hear “hydraulic lift,” your first impression may be that it is exceptionally strong, and you would not be wrong. Hydraulic lifts are capable of carrying incredibly heavy loads, and they are definitely a valid vertical transport option. Unfortunately, hydraulic systems by nature come a variety of disadvantages.
Many people tend to associate the word “hydraulic” with power, so they might feel inclined to build a hydraulic lift without weighing out their options. Hydraulic lifts move by pumping fluid into a cylinder with a piston. The piston moves up and down depending on how much fluid is in the cylinder.
Most notably, hydraulic lifts have a limited number of transport cycles before they need to stop for a period of time. This means operating a hydraulic requires regular downtime, negatively impacting your productivity. Although hydraulic lifts are less expensive to install, you will lose much more time and money to this consistent downtime.
Hydraulic lifts are also extremely high-maintenance. The hydraulic fluid involved in moving the lifts will inevitably leak. Just a quick cleanup, right? No, hydraulic fluid is dangerously toxic, requiring you to shut the lift down completely whenever a leak has sprung. This wastes even more of your time that you have already been losing to the required downtime, so hydraulic lifts cannot keep up.
Mechanical lifts for maximum efficiency
In contrast to the fluid and piston system, mechanical lifts use an electric motor. This electric motor rotates a large drum that has steel cable wrapped around it. As the drum rotates, the cables will coil or uncoil, steadily raising or lowering the lift.
The central benefits of using mechanical over hydraulic are efficiency and performance. Most importantly, mechanical lifts do not have a limited number of transport cycles. So, you do not have to deal with the constant downtime involved with hydraulic lifts.
Mechanical lifts also move more smoothly than hydraulic lifts. Hydraulic lifts tend to jerk and jolt around while they move, potentially damaging materials in transit. The steel cables in a mechanical lift ensure safe travels for any products in the lift.
Additionally, mechanical lifts have much fewer maintenance requirements. Without the presence of toxic hydraulic fluids, you never have to worry about leaks, and your lift is more environmentally-friendly overall.
Where can I find a mechanical VRC lift for my facility?
If you would like to construct a VRC lift in your facility, get in contact with a reputable distributor of industrial equipment. Martin Vertical Storage is a leading provider of VRC lifts, mezzanines, and other vertical storage solutions. Their parent company, R.W. Martin, is also a trusted industrial equipment solutions company. So, you can rely on Martin Vertical Storage to deliver the ideal equipment for your facility.
In fact, their VRC lifts come straight from Custom Industrial Products (CIP), a top manufacturer of lifts, mezzanines, and other equipment. With a team of industrial equipment experts, Martin Vertical Storage can create a VRC lift configuration for convenient access and efficient operation. They will also construct the lift and continue to provide technical support after installation, ensuring your lift is in perfect working order.
If you think a VRC lift would be a great addition to your facility but are unsure of what you need, do not worry! Martin Vertical Storage’s technical staff can provide you with any information you need and point you in the right direction.
Contact Martin Vertical Storage Solutions at 330.673.8712 or visit their website at www.martinverticalstorage.com to learn more.