The ups and downs of vertical reciprocating conveyors
Vertical conveyors are specially designed to transport in-process materials from higher elevations to lower ones at a controlled rate. They are an excellent solution when you're working with limited floor space and need to make the most of the facility's ceiling height.
There are two different ways in which vertical conveyors are classified. The first is the rate at which the system handles the product, and there are two options: vertical reciprocating conveyors and continuous vertical conveyors. The second classification is in the system's directionality: while most vertical conveyors are designed to run from high elevations to low ones, you can also get vertical lift conveyors that do the opposite.
Reciprocating Versus Continuous Vertical Conveyors
As its name suggests, continuous vertical conveyors are designed for uninterrupted product transport. These power conveyors are designed to accept input horizontally, transport it vertically and discharge it horizontally at its end point. The feed belt of a continuous vertical conveyor is linked with its lift mechanism and features non-stop operation, allowing you to run the system without any supervision.
However, continuous vertical conveyors are expensive and they're not always the ideal solution. If you need to vary or control the feed rate, vertical reciprocating conveyors may make a better (and more affordable) option. If you don't need continual product flow at a high rate of speed, this is a cost-effective answer. These systems do require supervision and loading at both the start and end points, though.
Specialized Types of Vertical Conveyors
One unique type of vertical conveyor that is worth special mention is the spiral conveyor. These systems combine the principles of gravity conveyors with the functionality of vertically oriented positioning.
A spiral conveyor features a gentle incline wrapped around a vertical axis in a spiral shape, allowing for even but highly controllable product flow. They are used in place of elevators and lifts in many industrial settings and can help you save a great deal of floor space while providing continuous operation. However, their drawback is that they are one of the more expensive options in the world of vertical conveyor systems.