While vertical reciprocating conveyors (VRCs) are often robust, heavy contraptions with significant moving power, you may be more interested in a vertical lift that takes up less space while still allowing for major material movement at higher levels. Enter the continuous vertical conveyor (CVC), a lift designed to reach higher elevations.  

More often than not, CVCs are utilized as a part of a larger system inside a fulfillment center or manufacturing process. Such centers typically utilize more than the floor space for material movement and need to move goods from one level to the next, requiring a vertical lift that can move seamlessly between elevations. There are two types of continuous vertical conveyors that can provide such smooth movement between levels: belt conveyors and spiral conveyors. 

Belt Conveyors

A belt conveyor can be used as either an incline or decline, and is a great option for maintaining high throughputs. However, belt conveyors can take up a significant amount of space, as they cannot incline or decline at a straight angle. Typically, belt conveyors cannot exceed anywhere from 12–30 degrees in pitch. At 12 degrees, we get a ratio of about 2.55 inches of elevation change for every 12 inches of horizontal travel. At 30 degrees, we get a ratio of about 6.93 inches of elevation change for every 12 inches of horizontal travel. In either case, a belt conveyor cannot go straight up or down, and thus will need to take up potentially valuable real estate on the floor of your facility.

Belt Conveyor
Figure 2.1 – Belt Conveyor

Spiral Conveyors

While the pros and cons of a spiral conveyor are similar to those of a belt conveyor, the linear space requirements are far lower. The spiral conveyor also offers the highest throughput option that also provides accumulation.

spiral conveyer
Figure 2.2 – Spiral Conveyor

Comparing VRCs and CVCs

In the case of a VRC, we have a single platform, upon which a conveyor can be mounted, that reciprocates between levels. In other words, the same platform can travel from the first level to the second level and back. A VRC can address the need for quick elevation changes with an expectation of no more than about 3 cases per minute (CPM). 

Vertical Reciprocating Conveyor as part of a conveyor system
Figure 2.3 – Vertical Reciprocating Conveyor as part of a conveyor system

If your throughput is climbing higher than that, then a CVC may be the better option for your facility. While VRC can only take on a maximum of 3 cases per minute, a CVC can take on throughputs of 10-15 cases per minute. This is accomplished through multiple conveyor beds driven by the same chain, all of which travel on a vertical loop. It’s worth noting that the CVC comes with more engineering and controls, making the CVC a more complex method of changing levels within a system. Still, a CVC becomes necessary in higher throughput scenarios.

Contact us today to start the process!