7 Benefits of Vertical Reciprocating Conveyors (VRCs)

Vertical Reciprocating Conveyors

Mezzanines and stacked pallet racks are a fall and injury risk for employees when it comes to storage and retrieval, with 49,250 workers injured due to a fall in 2020. Vertical reciprocating conveyors (VRCs) provide companies with a safe and effective way to transport materials between floors or mezzanine levels.

Vertical reciprocating conveyors offer a budget-friendly alternative to freight elevators or inclined conveyors, enhancing your warehouse’s efficiency with their small footprint and tailored design. Explore the benefits of making vertical reciprocating conveyors your go-to solution for handling materials across multiple levels in your facility.

Different Types of VRCs

When selecting a VRC for your warehouse or distribution center, you have two primary options: mechanical and hydraulic. Both types come with their unique benefits, tailored to fit different applications.

Mechanical VRCs

Mechanical VRCs use electrically powered chain, rope, or belt systems for precise load platform control. They operate quietly, making them suitable for handling loads up to 5,000 lbs. With smooth starts and stops, these systems are ideal for distribution centers, capable of managing heavy loads and traveling up to 100 feet to streamline high-volume workflows.

Hydraulic VRCs

Hydraulic VRCs use a hydraulic cylinder and pump to lift and manage heavier loads ranging from 5,000 to 50,000 lbs. These VRCs ensure your employees can safely handle fragile goods, offer controlled lift velocity, and integrate seamlessly into compact facilities, reaching heights of up to 28 feet to access multiple levels.

Key Benefits of Using VRCs

When considering storage options to safely and efficiently move materials between floors in your facility, VRCs are an excellent choice. VRCs deliver major benefits that optimize multi-level workflows, including:

Space Efficiency

Traditional elevators and inclined conveyors often occupy valuable floor space, posing a challenge in facilities with limited square footage. VRCs, however, require minimal floor space at each level, making them ideal for tight configurations.
Additionally, their ability to integrate into existing structures, including using unused elevator shafts, unlocks vertical space that might otherwise be wasted. This compact design is a boon for warehouses, factories, and buildings with mezzanine levels, allowing optimal utilization of every inch of available space.

VRCs Freight Elevators


Compared to bulkier freight elevators, VRCs offer major cost advantages. Installation costs are often lower because of their simpler design and smaller footprint. Operating and maintenance costs are also lower, thanks to the absence of complex elevator features and regulations.
Additionally, VRCs are budget-friendly storage solutions that leverage vertical space efficiently. This allows for more effective material handling and storage within the existing structure of a building, avoiding the need for expensive infrastructure expansions. They also contribute to operational efficiency by automating the transport of goods between floors, which can lead to savings on labor costs.


Safety is critical, especially when dealing with heavy equipment and potential hazards. VRCs prioritize safety with various features, including enclosures to shield goods from external hazards and locking doors to prevent unauthorized access.
They’re equipped with safety interlocks that halt operations if any obstructions are detected, and automatic stops ensure smooth transitions at each level. These safety features create a secure environment for the goods and, crucially, for the people operating the VRC, minimizing the chance of accidents.

Increased Productivity

VRCs enhance productivity by automating vertical material transport through seamlessly integrating with Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (AS/RS) or Warehouse Management Systems (WMS). This integration minimizes manual handling, reducing goods movement time and freeing employees for higher-value tasks.
By ensuring a smoother, quicker, and more reliable material flow, VRCs boost operational efficiency and throughput. Their ability to communicate with broader warehouse automation systems allows for real-time inventory management, optimizing order fulfillment and space utilization in warehouses and manufacturing settings.


VRCs can accommodate a wide range of loads, including pallets, drums, boxes, totes, and odd-sized cargo with customizable platform sizes, enabling oversized items to be handled easily.
They can also be outfitted with accessories like pivoting forks and rotators to securely transport unstable loads or shift-on-the-fly to handle multiple loads. With adaptability across different industries, VRCs can be configured to match the application’s exact weight capacities, dimensions, and goods handling requirements.

Durability and Low Maintenance

Due to their industrial-grade steel frameworks and reinforced platforms designed to withstand heavy loads and repetitive use, VRCs offer a durable, low-maintenance materials handling solution.
Their design incorporates heavy-duty components like chains, cables, and bearings, chosen for their resilience and longevity. The simplicity of having fewer moving parts reduces wear and tear, lowering maintenance needs and costs. Modern VRCs often include maintenance-free designs with self-lubricating bearings, enhancing reliability and maximizing your facility’s operational uptime.

Improved Workflow and Efficiency

VRCs are invaluable for connecting inventory management systems across multiple floors for a lean, seamless material flow. They can eliminate excess material handling by transporting loads directly to where needed.
Combined with sensors and controls, they prevent bottlenecks and delivery delays by allowing automated vertical access to inventory. This seamless workflow integration results in smoother, more efficient operations.

Choose the Right VRC for Your Business at SRS-i

Vertical reciprocating conveyors are becoming a go-to choice in various industries for their efficiency and safety benefits. At Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc., we specialize in understanding the unique needs of each business.

Our team can help you identify the perfect VRC solution for your specific requirements, ensuring you maximize space, boost efficiency, and prioritize safety in your facility. Contact us today at (800) 589-7225 to discuss your material handling needs and discover how vertical reciprocating conveyors can elevate your operations.