With its sleek design and clean lines, the vertical lift emanates positive vibes. Unlock it and you find trays upon trays stacked up in layers right to the top. With the touch of a button, the automated storage system designed on the tried-and-tested Ferris wheel principle swings into action.
So does this system, which resembles an oversized drawer cabinet, really works as well as it looks? Let’s take a hard look at some of its key features.
Increase in storage density
One of the most striking features of the vertical lift is its height. It can be stretched up to 20 metres high, making it possible for companies to make full use of the warehouse ceiling height. By having a vertical lift instead of conventional racks, you can save up to 80% of the warehouse floor area. Being modular, vertical lift storage systems can also be integrated into any existing system or relocated with equal ease. For companies that have to squeeze as much as possible into their available space, the vertical lift is one storage system they can consider.
Increase efficiency with minimal manpower requirement
Equally obvious is the vertical lift’s ability to increase efficiency with minimal manpower usage. All you need for the pick operation is one operator. Based on the goods to man principle, the items are delivered to the operator at the touch of a button. As it cuts down the need for walking, the operator’s productive hours is maximised. Based on experience, companies can reduce operator travel time by 50-80%. For companies with pressing manpower concerns, the vertical lift is worth a second look.
Security par excellence
The third unmistakeable quality of the vertical lift is its security. Unlike conventional open shelves, the system can be locked up simply by pulling down the shutters. By limiting access only to authorised people, it is an effective safeguard against theft. The system is also equipped with sensors which trigger emergency stops once safety protocols are breached. For companies where security is a key concern, the vertical lift’s security features are hard to miss.
Ease of operation
For operators, working with the vertical lift is a breeze. This user friendly storage system comes with a table adjustable to the level which best suits the operator. The table can also be tilted for better ergonomics, preventing the kind of aches and pains which come with bending and heavy lifting.
If the vertical lift is such a wonderful system, why isn’t it more widely used, you may ask?
Cost is a factor. It requires a much higher investment upfront as compared with conventional shelves to store the same number of items. But if you were to factor in space and manpower usage, then the sums are different. In high cost countries, the efficiency gains can offset the higher upfront cost enabling companies to achieve a relatively fast return on investment.
It is also not recommended for fast moving items where the pick rate should be much higher than what you can hope to achieve on a vertical lift, which is roughly about 120 picks per hour or roughly 1,000 picks per day. It is more appropriate for slow to medium moving items, from spare parts to pharmaceuticals, or even post offices for the storage of returned mails which often have to be kept for at least a year.
Whether the next storage system installed in your company is a vertical lift or something else will depend on your requirement. For an informed decision, do check out with a competent logistics consultant who can help you to weigh the pros and cons.