Skip to content

5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Freight Lift Elevator

5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Freight Lift Elevator

Did you know that there are very different safety standards associated with operating a device that lifts people as opposed to one designed solely to be a freight elevator or conveyor?

In 1981, PFlow helped enact legislation which separates “material-moving” vertical reciprocating conveyors (VRC) from “people-moving” elevators.

Since then, PFlow has continued to innovate, now offering freight lifts that vertically convey extremely large loads to small packages. If you only need to convey materials, VRCs offer greater productivity, enhanced safety, and notable cost savings.

1. Freight Lifts (VRCs) and Elevators for People Are Regulated Differently

In the United States, there are very different operating standards and regulations for running an elevator which transports people and one meant solely for moving materials or equipment. When only materials will need to ride in your freight lift elevator, you can save a great deal of time and money by installing a VRC.

2. What are the Standards for a Material-Carrying Freight Elevator?

freight liftThe ASME A17.1 is the national standard for elevators and escalators. These devices can carry people and also be used as freight elevators. They support more uses but come at a much higher installation cost, and the standards governing them are much more strict to maintain from year to year.

The ASME B20.1 is the national standard for vertical reciprocating conveyors. These devices are only meant to carry materials. They are not meant to be operated in the general proximity to the public, and are designed for controlled commercial and industrial applications.

3. Why Choose a VRC Over an Elevator?

If you are operating a controlled commercial or industrial facility that does not need to transport people, a VRC could be the perfect choice to serve as a freight lift.

You will save time and money in the short and long term by choosing a VRC over installing a new elevator meant to transport people. The main savings is tied to the unique codes and upkeep associated with the operation of an elevator that can carry people.

It is important to note that VRCs are commonly referred to as freight elevators, though in the eyes of the federal government, they are not the same.

4. How Does a VRC Differ from an Elevator?

Some fundamental ways that a VRC differs from an elevator are:

  • A VRC cannot be operated from inside the moving car. This is a huge difference compared to any elevator you are likely to have ridden inside a public building.
  • An elevator is capable of lifting at speeds up to 100 feet per second. A VRC will only be able to lift up to 15 to 25 feet per second. It is important to remember that VRCs are designed for lifting much heavier loads compared to pedestrian elevators.
  • A VRC can be placed in many unique locations inside buildings where it is not legal to place an elevator. This means that you have many more options when installing one.
  • An elevator costs much more to install and maintain than a VRC.

5. How to Choose the Right VRC

If you are only interested in moving materials around your facility, a VRC freight lift is probably the better choice than an elevator.

VRCs offer:

  • Cost-saving solution for moving materials
  • Safer and more efficient than operating a forklift between floors
  • Easily move weights up to 100 tons
  • Customized solution will fit perfectly in your building
  • Many unique options available depending on the types of loads you need to move on your property
  • Simple installation in an unused elevator shaft or new construction
  • Some models can be installed outdoors
  • Conforms to code in all 50 U.S. states
  • Meets national ASME B20.1 safety standards

Contact us today to learn about how to choose the right VRC to lift freight or packages in your building!

Return to the Blog Main Page.