Material lift vs Vertical Reciprocating Conveyor

Whats the Difference between Material lift (Freight Lift) and a Vertical Reciprocating Conveyor (VRC)?

Material Lifts are used for vertical transportation of material and cargo from one floor to another. They can be used in warehouses, factories, hospitals etc.  The Material Lift is governed by the National Elevator Code ASME A17.1/CSA B 44... Material Lifts need Elevator Style approved interlocks and all the same requirements for controllers, safeties, deflection etc as the National Elevator code.

Since they follow the National Elevator Code, Material Lifts are designed, manufactured and located in areas that cater to the general public.

There are basically two types of Material lifts. The Type ‘A’ Material Lifts are controlled by landing mounted operating devices. The size and capacity of material that is allowed on them is limited. Riders are not allowed to travel along with the materials on the Type ‘A’ Lift.

The Type ‘B’ Material Lift has no limitations on the size and capacity of the cargo that is allowed on them. However, across North America, the vertical travel of this type of lift is restricted to a maximum of 5 m (except in Ontario, Canada where it may be more). The Type ‘B’ Material Lift authorizes a rider to travel on the lift with the materials.

Material lifts are typically regulated & inspected by state and local authorities that regulate Elevators.

Material Lifts can be installed without the need for civil construction. Furthermore, these type of lifts can be installed using zero pit depth and typically do not need a machine room for operation. Material Lifts are available in several different options such as fire rated doors, electro mechanical interlocks etc.

VRCs (Vertical Reciprocating Conveyor) are governed by their own Nation Code called the ASME B-20 “Safety Standard for Conveyor and other related equipment”. As the name suggests they are vertical conveyors and not a Material Lift. Therefore, they do not allow a rider to travel on it. These are for MATERIAL ONLY.  

VRCs are designed and manufactured to operate in a controlled industrial environment.

“VRCs are typically regulated & inspected by OSHA”*

*VRC’s are not available in Canada.

*In Canada-All Material Lifts with over 1m (39”) of travel must conform to the National Elevator Code.

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