Lugging products and materials up and down stairs 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?
The cost difference between installing an elevator and installing a VRC lift is substantial. VRC lifts cost a fraction of what elevators do.
The reason for this is that VRC lifts are designed to move materials, not passengers.
Because they don’t carry passengers, VRC lifts generally don’t need to meet the more stringent national elevator codes. This means that both the initial price and the maintenance costs of a VRC lift will be lower than that of an elevator, though they are just as effective at moving goods from one floor level to another.
Making sure that your workplace is a safe environment should always be a top concern for any business owner or shop supervisor. It’s absolutely essential.
With that in mind, the following safety features are standard on all VRC lift models available from Martin Vertical Storage:
Every VRC lift has a carriage surrounded by a safety enclosure to ensure that materials remain safely within the lift as they are being transported.
This safety feature prevents the lift from moving if its doors are open and ensures that its doors won’t open while it is in motion.
The motors on our VRC lifts are all equipped with fail-safe brakes. In addition, each unit’s motor is regulated by a variable-frequency drive (VFD) that controls the lift’s acceleration and deceleration, providing softer starts and stops.
A slack cable switch will prevent the lift’s cable from unwinding and stop the lift from moving if its cable doesn’t have the proper tension.
Control panels and call stations
All of Martin Vertical Storage’s VRC lifts have a self-diagnostic control panel that assists in trouble-shooting efforts, if need be.
And every lift we sell comes standard with illuminated call stations which inform lift operators at all times where the lift is located and whether its doors are opened or closed.
Emergency stop button
An operator can stop the motion of the lift from any floor level at any time in the case of an emergency.
Should I purchase a hydraulic or mechanical lift?
Martin Vertical Storage only sells lifts manufactured by our trusted partner, Custom Industrial Products (CIP). Furthermore, every VRC lift we sell is a mechanical lift.
Why is this so significant? Because a mechanical lift is the superior choice when it comes to meeting your vertical storage and intra-facility vertical transport needs. Read on to learn more about the benefits of opting for a mechanical VRC lift.
What types of VRC lifts are there? What’s the main difference?
There are two types of VRC lifts: the mechanical lift and the hydraulic lift. They differ in several ways, but the main difference lies in what powers their ability to facilitate the lifting action.
Hydraulic VRC lifts
Hydraulic lifts function by pumping hydraulic fluid into a cylinder containing a piston. As fluid is added or removed, the pressure inside the cylinder increases or decreases, in turn, causing the piston to move. The lift platform goes up or down according to the movement of the piston.
Hydraulic lifts use compressed fluid to generate power to lift objects, materials, and supplies in a warehouse or factory. They are stronger and can lift heavier loads while fully automating and able to be controlled via remote. Being inexpensive to purchase and install, hydraulic lifts are a cost-effective alternative to mechanical lifts. Although they offer many of the same benefits as mechanical lifts and tend to take up less space there are also some downsides to this type of lift.
Unfortunately, hydraulic lifts have limited cycles so they can’t go long before needing a break, which has an impact on your warehouse’s overall productivity. Because of this, these lifts tend to be on the sluggish side and can hold back the flow. Also, in the long run, they need more maintenance due to the risk of leaking hydraulic oil which is toxic.
Mechanical VRC lifts
A mechanical lift is powered by an electric motor which rotates a drum. Steel cables attached to a platform are looped around the drum. When the motor turns, the drum also turns, rolling or unrolling the cables, causing the platform to move up or down. (Some mechanical lifts use a gear and chains instead of a drum and cables.)
Mechanical lifts work differently than hydraulic lifts in that they work off of a cable system rather than fluid compression. In general, mechanical liftsprovide a smoother ride than >hydraulic lifts, which reduces the risk of damage to materials. They also provide 360-degree access for loading and unloading which is key to the efficiency of your house. The two types of mechanical lift mechanisms are straddle and cantilever.
Although mechanical lifts have the potential to be completely customized, they are more expensive upfront than hydraulic lifts. It is important to weigh the pros and cons, though, because although mechanical lifts are pricier they require less maintenance down the road.
Overall, a mechanical VRC lift is the better choice for many reasons:
Using a mechanical lift allows for more exact positioning and smoother overall movement than you’ll get with a hydraulic lift, as hydraulic lifts can sometimes be jerky.
There is a duty cycle advantage to choosing a mechanical VRC lift. With mechanical lifts, there is no lift-usage limit, whereas hydraulic lifts require downtime.
Hydraulic lifts will eventually leak toxic hydraulic fluid. A mechanical lift, on the other hand, doesn’t use hydraulic fluid, making it the more environmentally-friendly choice.
A mechanical lift won’t produce the volume of noise associated with hydraulic lifts.
Though the cable that helps drive a mechanical VRC lift will stretch and need to be replaced eventually, hydraulic lifts contain far more components that will wear out over time.
Lower lifetime cost
A mechanical lift gives you a better ROI, as it will require less maintenance over the life of the machine.
How do I go about installing a VRC lift in my facility?
This is a great question. When you entrust Martin Vertical Storage with your business, you aren’t just buying equipment from a seller. You’re also gaining access to the high level of knowledge and technical expertise that our professionals bring to every customer relationship.
Martin Vertical Storage will work with your business to help you determine which VRC lift will best meet your needs. We’ll also install your lift and make sure that it’s in good working order once it’s in place. And you’ll have the consultative support of our team for the life of your lift.
The experts at Martin Vertical Storage Solutions will visit your facility and assess your current space. They will gain a full understanding of the size and scope of your facility, so they can begin developing a mezzanine configuration that will maximize and optimize your floor space. Once you agree upon a mezzanine design, you can sit back and watch it become a reality. R.W. Martin will handle the entire installation process, while you continue to work as usual.
R.W. Martin has been providing various businesses with the industrial equipment solutions they need for more than 50 years. Robert W. Martin founded the company in 1967 to provide businesses with a reliable channel through which they could obtain equipment from nearly any manufacturer. So, if you are looking for high-quality equipment at reasonable prices, R.W. Martin has you covered.
If you need to expand your facility or find some new equipment, get in touch with R.W. Martin today! Their technical staff is standing by and ready to answer any questions you have and can even provide professional recommendations based on your specific situation.