11 Common Vertical Material Lift Questions

As the leader in manufacturing the most innovative vertical reciprocating conveyors (VRCs) for over 25 years, Custom Industrial Products’ Solutions Specialists have encountered many different product and application questions.  A while back, we addressed some of these questions in a post titled: 6 Most Common VRC and Material Lift Questions

The post proved to be helpful, so we decided to expand on it with 11 additional questions geared toward the novice VRC lift buyer.

Following are 11 VRC and Material Lift questions our Solutions Specialists regularly come across.

1. What is a vertical reciprocating conveyor (VRC)?

A vertical reciprocating conveyor, also known as a material lift or mezzanine lift, elevates materials and goods to different levels like a freight elevator. However, unlike freight elevators, VRCs cannot carry human riders like freight elevators, nor do they follow the same strict regulation codes.

2. What is the origin of a vertical reciprocating conveyor?

Many believe vertical reciprocating conveyors came about because businesses needed a more cost-effective and space saving solution than a freight elevator. Custom Industrial Products (CIP) started making VRC lifts in the mid-90s, and today, there are thousands in existence.

3. How does a VRC work?

 A Vertical Reciprocating Conveyor works by way of a motorized hydraulic lifting system or motorized mechanical lifting system. While both are commonplace, mechanical lifts are a much better choice in terms of lifespan, cost of ownership, noise level, and environmental friendliness. Click here to read a side-by-side comparison.

4. What is the difference between a Pallet Lifter and a VRC?

There are different types of pallet lifters. The overhead pallet lifter, which is closest to a vertical reciprocating conveyor, has a set of “forks” like those on a forklift or a pallet jack. With the aid of a forklift, hoist, or crane, the forks of the pallet lifter forks slide into the pallet or metal basket with a sling and lifts the pallet. 

Unlike a pallet lifter, A VRC lift elevates goods like an elevator without the need for a forklift or hoist.

5. What is the difference between a Vertical Reciprocating Conveyor and a …?

 Freight elevator – A freight elevator adheres to a stricter set of safety codes and is more commonly used in public places to move both people and goods. A VRC only moves materials or goods. Click here to learn more.

CSI Specifications vertical reciprocating conveyor drawing

Conveyor – A conveyor moves items from one level to another. However, they’re typically used to carry smaller items in assembly-line fashion, and they take up more space. A VRC lift can take single loads up to 30,000 pounds or more at one time.  

Dumbwaiter – A dumbwaiter is a smaller version of a freight elevator. It follows the same code requirements as an elevator, is costly to repair, and can only transport small, lightweight goods.  

Hoist – A hoist elevates materials with the aid of a forklift or crane. A hoist does not have enclosed sides, so materials have to be securely bound and connected via cables or ropes to a crane or forklift.  A VRC lift is much safer, more efficient, and flexible than a hoist.

6. What is the safest way to move material from one level to another in a warehouse and manufacturing facility?

By far, the safest way to move materials and goods from one level to another is with a VRC lift. VRC lifts are more cost-effective than freight elevators, easier to install, and have a lift capacity range from 500 pounds to over 30,000 pounds.

7. How much weight can I lift with a VRC lift?

 A VRC lift or Material lift comes in a variety of sizes and lifting capacities. For example, CIP’s entry-level TL-series material lift has a maximum lift capacity of 500 pounds, whereas the FP-series can lift 30,000 pounds. Additionally, CIP can customize a VRC lift to handle weight capacities over 30,000 pounds.

8. What industries commonly use vertical reciprocating conveyors?

 The industries that use vertical lifts are endless. CIP has fabricated material lifts for dozens of industries. Below are a few examples:

  • Aerospace 
  • Automobile dealers
  • Liquor manufacturers
  • Ecommerce warehouses
  • Data & Records 
  • Clothing manufacturers

Our VRC lifts can help any business in any industry that needs to move materials or goods from one level to another. 

9. How long does it take to install a vertical reciprocating conveyor?

 The length of time needed to install a VRC lift depends on the lift type. For example, a modular VRC that is pre-wired for electricity can take just a couple of days. However, a custom unit that’s not pre-wired can take longer to install. Custom Industrial Products offers installation services as an added option with each VRC quote.

10. How much does a vertical reciprocating conveyor typically increase productivity?

 It’s difficult to calculate exactly how much productivity will increase with a VRC lift versus manually moving materials. A recent article claimed that VRCs move materials in half the time. That is a 50% increase! It’s important to note that productivity percentages will vary between applications.

11. How do you calculate the ROI using a VRC lift?

 A VRC lift moves materials faster, which leads to faster output and faster order turns. VRCs improve safety, which saves money on workplace injuries.

We would be remiss to throw out expected ROI percentages because ROI calculations will differ between companies and industries.

What we can say is that customers call us often with their stories about productivity increases. Recently, a furniture company in New York said they were able to move 50% more items with their material lift. Moreover, their employees were much happier because they no longer had to manually move furniture to different levels – the VRC did all the work.

In Conclusion

 CIP has been helping businesses elevate their good and materials from one level to another for over 25 years. To learn how a VRC lift can increase productivity and improve safety for your organization, call our Solutions Specialists at 321-728-3355. You can also visit our website at https://customindprod.com.

VRC Applications