A VRC (Vertical Reciprocating Conveyor), also known as a material lift, is the best way to move materials from one level to another. It doesn’t matter if you are using a mezzanine, or a fully-built second floor, a VRC offers improved safety and efficiency compared with moving pallets on forklifts, or moving goods by hand up and down stairs.

CIP offers several lift capacity options with different configuration options. These include:

  • Modular
  • Cantilever
  • Straddle
  • 4-Post

Each line delivers its own unique set of advantages and uses. You can learn more about each of these VRC material lift options at https://customindprod.com/vrc-lifts/

The next thing you need to consider is the configuration — or loading and unloading pattern — of your lift. CIP uses letter shapes to easily understand the difference. See the illustration below.  A “C” configuration opens the same side on both floors, which could be referred to as “front” loading and unloading.  A “Z” configuration opens on opposite sides on each floor. A “Pass Through” configuration opens on both sides on each floor. In other words, if you need access on both sides on both floors, a “Pass Through” configuration would be the most efficient. A “90°” configuration allows for front loading on the bottom floor, with a side exit on upper floors. 

A “Z” configuration is the most common when using a mezzanine as it allows access away from the mezzanine on the bottom, and then access from the mezzanine above.

CIP's VRC lift configurations, C, Z, and Pass through

Modular VRCs

CIP offers two modular lift options: The PM (Pallet Master) line and TL-M (Tiny Lift-Modular) line.

As the name implies, the PM VRC is designed with a  carriage size to fit entire pallets and is ideal for lifting loads up to 5,000 pounds. Its modular design allows for easier installation and implementation. The PM line is available in “C”, “Z” and “Pass Through” configurations.

The TL-M line, also known as a VRC box lift, is the most versatile and easy-to-use lift in its class. It is ideal for lighter loads — up to 500 pounds —  and as a smaller carriage size at 3’x3’. Compact and strong, its modular design enables almost any factory or warehouse to improve space utilization, efficiency and safety with minimal investment. Restaurants, and other commercial facilities can benefit from these lifts which are larger and stronger than traditional dumbwaiters. The TL-M line of lifts comes in “C” and “Z” configurations.

Custom VRCs

C Series (Cantilever)

The C Series, or Cantilever Lift, is a vertical conveyor perfect for a variety of load sizes and weights. The one-sided lifting design offers strength and stability to effortlessly move your items between levels. The C-Series cantilever lift is commonly used in warehouses where overhead space is low. Our C Series has a travel height up to 40 feet and can lift up to 5,000 pounds.

In a cantilever configuration, the VRC’s carriage is supported by two guide columns on one side of the carriage. This configuration allows easy access from three sides of the VRC and supports three load patterns; a C load pattern (load and unload from the front); a Z load pattern (load and unload from opposite sides); and, a 90 degree load pattern (load from the front and unload from the side).

S Series (Straddle)

A Straddle VRC places the carriage between the two guide columns, distributing the weight of the load vertically along the length of both columns. This line allows for greater lifting capacity and larger carriage platform sizes than our C Series. It also accommodates higher rollover force, or the force created during loading and unloading of the VRC. Its simple design provides a reliable and affordable VRC lift solution with a travel height up to 40 feet and lifting capacity of 6,000 pounds. 

The straddle layout allows for “C” loading (load and unload from the front) and “Z” loading (load and unload on opposite sides) patterns and is a great option in applications that do not have space constraints and do not require unlimited load height.

FP Series (Four Post)

The CIP FP Series, with the platform mounted within four guide columns, is ideal for applications lifting and lowering oversized and heavier loads. This line has a carriage size up to 30’ x 30’, a travel height up to 60’, and a lifting capacity up to 30,000 pounds. This lift is ideal for moving things like forklifts and cars. 

The FP Series comes in all loading and unloading configurations: “C”, “Z”, “Pass Through” and “90°”

Choosing the Right VRC

Let’s try to uncomplicate this as much as possible. Usually the most limiting option is the actual loading and unloading configuration. If this is the case,  you would start with that as your first point and then find the VRC lift that best fits your needs based on number of floors, height, carriage size and lifting capacity. The chart below should help. For example, if you need to use either a “Z” or “C” loading and unloading configuration, since all lines offer those, simply select the appropriate line from the specs in the bottom portion of the chart. If needing a 90° configuration, compare the specs of the C Series and S Series only.

Loading/ Unloading Configuration

PM

TL-M

C Series

S Series

FP Series

C

X

X

X

X

X

Z

X

X

X

X

X

Pass Through

X

X

X

X

90°

X

X

Number of Stops

Up to 4

2

Up to 6

Up to 6

Up to 6

Carriage Size

6’ x 8’

3’ x 3’

8’ x 8’

8’ x 8’

30’ x 30’

Travel Height

8’ to 36’

8’ to 16’

Up to 40’

Up to 40’

Up to 60’

Lift Weight Capacity

5,000 lbs

500 lbs

5,000 lbs

6,000 lbs

30,000 lbs

Summary

Choosing the perfect VRC Lift to meet your needs is based on several key factors and requirements: 

  • Your required loading and unloading pattern
  • The size of the material you are looking to move (minimum carriage size)
  • How heavy is the stuff you want to lift (minimum weight capacity)

Based on that, a CIP expert can help you quickly find the right modular standard lift, or even design a custom material lift to meet your specific needs.

You can begin the process by requesting a quote, which also locks in current pricing and specials.