Tools & Technologies

Wildeck’s new RiderLift Type B Reliable Material Lift lets riders accompany their load between floors, increasing efficiency and safety.

By Jared Dunlap

Workers ride up and down for efficiency

As industrial engineers, we know how important the layout of a facility can be. Inefficient layouts affect processes and increase the frequency of nonvalue-added activities. Now think about all the complicating factors that come into play if the facility has two or more floors.

Facilities with two or more stories are often equipped with a freight elevator located in the rear of the facility, also known as a VRC (vertical reciprocating conveyor), which does not allow riders. In these situations, workers must place their freight onto a VRC and then either travel out of their way to an elevator or walk up or down stairs just to catch up with the material they are responsible for handling.

In both cases, workers find themselves spending time overprocessing or waiting for freight. Material handling equipment and safety manufacturer Wildeck Inc. has introduced a new vertical lift that helps regain lost efficiency attributed to such flawed facility layouts. Wildeck's new RiderLift Type B Reliable Material Lift (RML) brings the convenience of an elevator to a facility at a fraction of the cost. This innovative product is ideal for facilities with mezzanines, rack systems and pick modules.

Unlike typical VRCs, the RiderLift allows workers to ride with the freight to their destination without having to traverse stairs to catch up with their freight or rely on a co-worker to unload the freight, both activities that introduce wasted labor into the process. The Rider- Lift also encourages safe work practices since workers no longer have an excuse to carry boxes up or down stairs because the workforce views it as "easier" or "quicker."

Wildeck's RiderLift puts the worker in charge by placing a keyed switch and control panel inside the car. Typical VRCs require the worker to place freight inside the lift and then walk to the control panel before operating the car. Thus, freight is left sitting on the VRC, which can affect workers on other levels who are looking to transport freight, introducing nonvalue-added wait times into the process. Time is money, so for any time that freight is left sitting and waiting, facilities may miss scheduled deliveries. Missed deliveries, of course, result in unhappy customers and worse – lost revenue.

Standard car size is 6 feet by 6 feet by 80 inches high with a lifting capacity of 2,500 pounds (including the rider). Standard lifting height is 14 feet, and lifting speed is 20 feet per minute.

With the frequency that material movement is occurring in facilities, industrial engineers should make efforts to save minutes or even seconds from these processes. Just because your organization operates multilevel material handling facilities does not mean that processes within these buildings must be inefficient.

The Wildeck rideable material lift offers many benefits for its customers, which will help combat lost efficiency and excessive wait times attributed to traditional VRCs or stairways.

Jared Dunlap is a senior consultant at West Monroe Partners and a member of IISE's Young Professionals group.