What is a VRC lift? / Why not an elevator? / VRC lift advantages / Hydraulic vs. Mechanical / How do I get a VRC lift for my facility?
Lugging products and materials up and downstairs all day is a pain, and if they are heavy enough, it is impossible. Multi-floor facilities handling high quantities of freight need a safe and reliable method for moving products between floors. Without the proper equipment, you cannot fully utilize your storage space or maintain efficiency, putting avoidable limitations on your performance.
If you are struggling with these issues in your facility, it is time to go vertical with VRC lifts. Martin Vertical Storage Solutions can help you install the ideal lifting system for your facility. In fact, they offer solutions from a leading manufacturer of VRC lifts, Custom Industrial Products (CIP).
But what exactly are VRC lifts, and why are they superior to other vertical material transportation systems?
What is a VRC lift and where are they useful?
VRC lifts are a form of industrial equipment that helps you move heavy items between floors in your facility. VRC stands for “Vertical Reciprocating Conveyor,” which is a fancy way of saying it moves things up and down. Most notably, these lifts are a quick, efficient, and safe method for moving materials to and from balconies, basements, and other levels of the building. VRC lifts are often used to transport freight on and off mezzanine floors, so many people refer to them as “mezzanine lifts.”
Some common places where you would see a VRC lift include warehouses, distribution centers, component factories, and the storage areas of retail stores, wholesale stores, and hotels. They are also useful for schools, libraries, and many other public facilities depending on their storage needs.
For example, a school may need to store large amounts of equipment for sports and physical education. So, a VRC lift can provide a vertical transport option if the school does not already have an elevator. However, this begs the question “Why use a VRC lift over an elevator?”
Why install a VRC lift instead of an elevator?
Elevators are the tried and true method of moving things between floors, so they are the more reliable option, right? Well, not necessarily. There is one central difference between elevators and VRC lifts: passengers.
Elevators have to safely transport people between floors. Therefore, they must adhere to a strict series of national elevator codes. This means you will have to pay more for construction and maintenance.
VRC lifts, on the other hand, only carry materials and other inanimate objects. So, they do not have as many design restrictions as elevators. These lifts can even be built in unused elevator shafts. As a result, they are much more cost-effective to build and maintain.
However, this is not to say VRC lifts are unsafe. They simply follow a different set of rules. In fact, VRC lifts from Martin Vertical Storage come with a variety of safety features and other unique advantages:
VRC lift advantages and safety features
All VRC lifts from Martin Vertical Storage are designed to meet or exceed national safety standards. Conveyors follow a strict series of guidelines ANSI/ASME B20.1, and Martin Vertical Storage passes with flying colors.
However, in order to fully meet these standards, the lift must be installed by a certified professional. Thankfully, Martin Vertical Storage offers the expertise necessary for properly constructing your VRC lift and preparing it for operation.
Most importantly, your lift will function with the utmost precision and efficiency while offering a variety of other benefits.
An alternative to forklifts
Forklifts are a staple of any warehouse or distribution center and for good reason. These machines can transport extremely heavy freight to and from trucks and storage with relative ease. Unfortunately, forklifts introduce many potential safety hazards for operators and other employees. Thus, you not only need a certified forklift operator but also a staff that is effectively trained to work around this machinery.
Although VRC lifts require an operator, it is stationary machinery. So, it is much safer to use and will not create additional vehicle traffic in your facility. You may still need a few forklifts around for certain tasks but installing a VRC lift minimizes your dependence on forklifts as well as workplace accidents.
Preventing workplace injuries
In addition to keeping forklift traffic to a minimum, VRC lifts protect your employees from injury and overworking themselves. Without a VRC lift, many floor-to-floor tasks require direct manpower, requiring workers to lift heavy items up and down stairs. As a result, employees are more likely to hurt themselves from a fall or even tearing a muscle.
A VRC lift helps prevent these injuries and the subsequent workers’ compensation payouts by providing a reliable option for moving freight between floors. However, this not only prevents injuries but also allows employees to use their energy for other tasks. Therefore, you will be able to further increase overall productivity and efficiency.
Optimize your floor space
When you use a VRC lift as your go-to warehouse lift, it does not mean you can toss out your staircases and ladders. As stated above, personnel cannot be co-passengers with the materials in the VRC lift. While this would be convenient, sticking to transporting materials is what makes VRC lifts more cost-effective than elevators.
On the other hand, not needing to depend solely on stairs to reach your mezzanine ensures your use the available space more effectively. A central issue of transporting materials by hand is that employees will often need to clear the stairway entirely before someone can transport items by hand. With a VRC lift doing the heavy lifting, workers will be able to freely travel up and down the mezzanine’s stairs without having to worry about bumping into somebody carrying heavy materials.
Martin Vertical Storage can also further optimize your space by helping you find the ideal lift model for your unique facility layout. For example, the Cantilever Lift or C-Series VRC Lift is typically installed in facilities with less overhead space and low-hanging structures. And for facilities that need to fit a lift in a tight spot, the TL-M Series Lift would be a welcome addition.
Regardless of the model you choose, they will all come with a full range of valuable safety features.
Safety enclosures and door interlocks
All VRC lifts from R.W. Martin are designed with safety enclosures. The enclosures prevent the materials from leaving the lift while it is moving, even in the event of a mechanical failure. These lifts also feature a door interlocking system that ensures the lift never moves when the doors are open, securing the entire enclosure during transport.
Brake and cable fail-safes
VRC lifts need brake fail-safes as a precaution against mechanical failures. They also have slack cable switches that keep the cable from unwinding if it is not maintaining tension. These features not only protect the materials inside the lift but also anyone operating the lift.
Additionally, every lift’s motor has a variable-frequency drive (VFD). The VFD regulated the acceleration of the lift at the beginning and end of transport. This creates softer starts and stops, minimizing wear and tear on the brake and cable systems.
Call stations, control panel, and emergency stop buttons
Call stations and control panels give lift operators the information they need to properly operate the machinery. The call station will keep the operator up to date on the position of the platform and its doors at all times. The self-diagnostic control panel can identify and troubleshoot issues if they occur. Most importantly, these safety systems have an emergency stop button, so operators can bring the lift to a halt if anything seems out of the ordinary.
Safety should always be a top priority, especially if you are transporting heavy materials on a regular basis. With these features, you can rest assured that your products are protected, and your employees can work without potential safety hazards.
Not all lifts are built equally, however. So, how do you know which will be the best fit for your facility?
Should I purchase a hydraulic or mechanical lift?
There are two types of VRC lifts: hydraulic and mechanical. Martin Vertical Storage distributes VRC lifts from Custom Industrial Products (CIP), a trusted manufacturer of mechanical lifts. But why only mechanical? Although hydraulic and mechanical can perform the same tasks, hydraulic lifts simply cannot outperform mechanical lifts in terms of functionality, efficiency, and value.
The downside of hydraulic lifts
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.
There is no doubt that this is a viable method for vertical transportation. In fact, hydraulic lifts are can carry extremely heavy loads are relatively inexpensive to install. However, there are some issues involved with hydraulic systems that make them less than ideal.
Hydraulic lift systems can only perform so many tasks before they have to stop. This downtime takes a significant toll on your overall productivity, preventing you from maintaining a proper workflow. As a result, any money you saved on the installation is immediately outweighed by the money you lose to downtime.
Another disadvantage is maintenance. The hydraulic fluid used to move the lifts will leak from the system every so often. This fluid is toxic, so you have to immediately shut down the lift any time you notice a leak. With frequent downtime and maintenance, hydraulic lifts simply don’t make the cut.
Save time and money with mechanical lifts
Mechanical lifts utilize an electric motor that rotates a large drum. Several feet of steel cable are wound around this drum. So, whenever the drum rotates, the steel cable begins to coil or uncoil, moving the platform up and down. This system offers many advantages that hydraulic systems cannot compete with.
The main advantage mechanical lifts offer of hydraulic lifts is efficiency. Mechanical lifts do not have the issue of limited lift cycles. You will never encounter regular downtime with a mechanical lift, so you can continue working without delay and maintain maximum productivity.
Mechanical lifts also allow for more precise positioning as well as smoother travel than hydraulic lifts, which often jerk during transport. This ensures products and materials are not damaged during transport. The cables also allow for quieter operation than the pistons in hydraulic lifts, so they do not make your facility noisier than it already is.
Some other benefits of using mechanical lifts are greener operation and less maintenance. These lifts do not use any toxic fluids to operate, so they are more environmentally-friendly. Furthermore, without fluid, they cannot leak, keeping maintenance to a minimum and saving you money in the long run.
How do I go about installing a VRC lift in my facility?
If you want to build a new warehouse lift in your facility, you need to partner with a reliable provider of industrial equipment solutions. Martin Vertical Storage Solutions is a sister company of R.W. Martin, a supplier of equipment from several distinguished manufacturers. In fact, Martin Vertical Storage offers mechanical VRC lift options from Custom Industrial Products (CIP), so you can trust them to install the ideal system for your unique facility.
Choosing Martin Vertical Storage ensures you receive superior solutions while working with equipment specialists that offer invaluable expertise with the installation and maintenance of VRC lifts. In fact, they can develop a lift configuration that properly utilizes your floor space and facilitates productivity. Their experts will also ensure your lift is in working order after installation and will provide you with technical support throughout your lift’s lifespan.
R.W. Martin has been a leading supplier of industrial equipment to various industries for over 50 years. Robert W. Martin built this company in 1967 when he realized many businesses did not have a trustworthy place where they could acquire the equipment. Now, with their expansion towards vertical storage solutions, R.W. Martin and Martin Vertical Storage Solutions can help you find any equipment you need at a price you can afford.
If you are interested in installing a lift in your facility, a mechanical VRC lift from Martin Vertical Storage is the way to go! Unsure of exactly what you are looking for? No problem! Their technical staff is ready to answer your questions and help you find the ideal lift for your operation.
Contact Martin Vertical Storage Solutions at 330.673.8712 or visit their website at www.martinverticalstorage.com to learn more.