The vertical conveyor is a highly efficient lift device that can be used to transition product between processing levels, inventory storage levels, or operational/facility levels.

A highly versatile tool, the vertical conveyor can be used as an accumulation conveyor for the purposes of sequence buffering between processes, as a vertical sorter for use in delivering and removing goods from an automated storage and retrieval system, and as a transportation conveyor for conveying goods to various levels of a facility or operation.

In operations with limited space, a vertical conveyor can act as a mini ASRS to accumulate sequence goods in preparation for another stage of operation.  Or it can provide precise, minimal footprint transport between levels of an operation or facility.

When used in conjunction with a full scale ASRS such as the one level shuttle ASRS or 3D shuttle ASRS, the vertical conveyor can play a critical role in enhancing the overall ASRS operation by moving inventory (cartons and totes) to and from centralized product feed points into and out of the various levels of storage that make up the automated storage and retrieval system — thus allowing the shuttles servicing each level to then move product to and from individual storage positions or an adjacent conveyor system.

Vertical Conveyor

A vertical conveyor picks up inventory from a in feed conveyor which it will then deliver to specific levels of the shuttle ASRS it services.

Vertical Conveyor Technical Details

Also known as a vertical reciprocating conveyor (VRC), or vertical lift, the vertical conveyor utilizes a fixed vertical mast as the track for the movement of a load handler, which travels the length of the beam.  A motorized lift, controlled by either a variable frequency drive (VFD) or a servo motor, moves the load handler along the vertical beam. The rapid acceleration, smooth glide, and precise positioning control of the vertical conveyor enables the gentle and efficient transport of goods between the levels of whatever system the lift services.

Vertical conveyors can be equipped with a variety of load handling devices that expedite the reciprocal exchange of product between levels. Load handling devices can use telescoping plates, belts, conveyors, or arms or to move goods on and off of the load handling device or an adjacent conveyor feed system.

Vertical conveyors can handle up to four cartons at 55 pounds each or two totes at 110 pounds each at a time for a total payload of 220 pounds and can randomly deliver or sort each item to any level of a warehousing system.  Vertical conveyors can execute up to 100 cycles per hour and are often used in redundant arrays to accommodate greater throughput for an automated operation.

Vertical conveyor

Vertical conveyors are often used in arrays.

Vertical conveyor load handling device

A vertical conveyor load handling device uses telescoping, reciprocating plates to load and unload totes to and from a shuttle ASRS.

When used in arrays or groupings, vertical conveyors provide a redundancy not found in other systems such as a paternoster type lift.  When a paternoster goes off line, the systems it services will go down too, but when vertical lifts are used in groupings, one or even a percentage of the array going offline will not shut down an entire operation.

Benefits of a Vertical Conveyor:

The vertical conveyor can be used:

  • As an accumulation/buffering conveyor when space is limited.
  • To transport product to multiple levels of a facility.
  • To deliver and remove goods from an ASRS shuttle system.
  • To move ASRS shuttle vehicles between levels of an ASRS.
  • As a sorter to multiple processing levels or multiple levels of a facility.
Vertical Conveyor payload

A vertical conveyor load handling device simultaneously removes two totes from a shelf, which can be randomly delivered to another level or adjacent conveyor system.

Vertical Conveyor Integration Considerations

vertical conveyor and mast

The vertical conveyor is comprised of a fixed mast and motor controlled load handling device.

Of equal importance to the performance of a vertical conveyor is the warehouse management system (WMS) and warehouse control system (WCS) software used to integrate an vertical conveyor into an intralogistics system. Invata’s own FastTrak® warehouse execution software is a key asset to achieving optimal performance for vertical conveyor systems of all types.

To learn more about what an Invata vertical conveyor can do for your operation, contact us. We’ll be happy to share more about our rich history of employing vertical conveyor technology to enhance ASRS operational productivity.

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