At MHT, we offer a broad range of material handling products and services. Among our service offerings, our vertical reciprocating conveyors (VRCs), or vertical lifts, are consistently in high demand and thanks to our dynamic partnership with Pflow Industries, a leading manufacturer of VRCs of all kinds, we’ve been able to meet that demand. So what exactly is a vertical reciprocating conveyor, or vertical lift? 

Simply put, it is a lift that moves vertically as a means of transporting materials from one level to another. Typically, the types of vertical lifts manufactured by Pflow are utilized in a manufacturing facility or distribution center, but they also have application in airports, car dealerships and a variety of custom uses. The only real limit is your imagination.

Vertical Material Lifts – Traveling Between Levels

So what makes a VRC different from an elevator? They fall under a specific section of national code ASME B20.1 with respect to compliance. This section pertains specifically to a lift designed to move materials, not personnel. In 1981, Pflow Industries played an active role in getting this code change implemented. Thanks to their persuasion, the industry now has a unique category of lifts that can be utilized solely for moving materials (see figure 1.1).

red do not enter sign with family in background
 Figure 1.1 – National code ASME B20.1 allows a VRC to transport materials but not people.

There are a variety of challenges you can solve with a vertical lift for your materials. And while the range of materials that can be moved is endless (we’ve used a vertical lift to move a race car!), the brunt of our expertise is in moving more common day to day products like cartons, boxes, pallets and large drums. We’ll determine the best lift for your needs by considering the products you’ll be moving and their vertical travel requirements, as well as any other internal specifications. 

nascar on vertical lift
Figure 1.2 – We weren’t joking!

Hydraulic Lifts and Mechanical Lifts

When installing a vertical material lift, start by selecting either a hydraulic lift or a mechanical lift. Generally, hydraulic lifts are more cost effective initially but tend to be more maintenance intensive with a greater cost of ownership over time. Mechanical lifts may require a more expensive initial investment but need less intervention over their lifetime. Both lifts offer the ability to move heavy loads but do so in different ways. Hydraulic lifts generate their force through the compression of fluid, whereas mechanical lifts utilize a cable system that is motor driven. It’s worth noting that because of their motor-driven system, mechanical lifts are going to be rated for higher cycle counts.

blue vertical lift
 Figure 1.3 – Typical cantilevered hydraulic VRC
blue vertical lift
Figure 1.4 – Typical straddle mechanical VRC

Why Invest in a Vertical Lift?

At MHT, we understand that a vertical lift is no small investment. To better inform your decision-making process, a discussion of the benefits of a VRC is worthwhile. There are two main benefits of a vertical lift:

  1. Safety. Vertical lifts are crucial instruments in reducing workplace accidents and protecting company property. Industrial facilities often utilize forklifts for lifting and transporting heavy materials, but these can be dangerous when overextended. Heavy objects can fall from forklifts, risking damage to the materials and jeopardizing the safety of people below. VRCs can minimize or remove these incidents altogether. What’s more, your lift from MHT will be in full compliance with state and local code regulations to ensure safe use.
  2. Streamlined Processes. If your industrial facility depends on the movement of multiple loads, VRCs offer an opportunity to drive efficiency and increase company profits by reducing the amount of time and effort required to shift heavy materials. 

Thanks to our partnership with Pflow, MHT can offer you industry expertise from every angle. As a full service solutions provider, we aim to provide material handling and automation support that increases the productivity and financial success of your company.

Contact us today to start the conversation!