WHAT IS A VERTICAL CAROUSEL AND HOW IS IT USED?
by Mark Preston, on August 18, 2020
The vertical carousel has been around since the 1950s, but you may now be just discovering it. Even if you are already familiar with the vertical carousel, this article will give you an overview of its features and functions, along with its many applications.
WHAT IS A VERTICAL CAROUSEL?
The basic mechanics of a carousel can be described by comparing it to a Ferris wheel. A Ferris wheel consists of an upright rotating wheel with passenger cars attached in a fixed position on the wheel. The rotating wheel loads and delivers passengers at a designated stop as directed by the operator.
The main component of a vertical carousel is the chain drive which rotates (like a Ferris wheel) in a vertical loop around an elongated vertical track. Carriers are attached in fixed locations to the chain drive and they cycle forward or in reverse, as directed, to bring stored items to the operator at an ergonomic level.
BENEFITS OF A CAROUSEL
One of the unique and compelling features of a Vertical Carousel is that it utilizes unused overhead space and stores items by stacking them vertically (up to 30 feet). Standard shelving stacks items vertically to just within arms’ reach, then they are multiplied laterally taking up a lot of floor space. Storing vertically not only saves a lot of space, but also saves employee time and energy in locating items as they are delivered directly to the operator.
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Another bonus is that no ladders and forklifts are needed to retrieve items. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, ladder-related incidents led to more than 150 worker fatalities and more than 20,000 nonfatal injuries in 2015 (68% of ladder fall injuries result in an average of 24 lost workdays).
With the vertical carousel, items stored high are automatically brought to the operator at an ergonomic height.
Here is a summary of the benefits of storing your inventory and items in a vertical carousel:
- Increased speed and accuracy of picking operations as items are automatically retrieved and brought to the operator at the touch of a button
- Eliminate safety issues with forklifts and ladders
- With the inherent ergonomic design, reduce employee injury from reaching, bending and twisting while retrieving or carrying loads
- All inventory is centrally located and optional integrated software allows for inventory management processes to improve dramatically
- Recover up to 80% of floor space by storing vertically, resulting in:
Your storage footprint dramatically being reduced
A significant increase in your ability to store more in less space
COMPONENTS OF A VERTICAL CAROUSEL SYSTEM
As mentioned above, carriers are attached to the drive chain of a carousel. The carriers provide the vehicle for your stored materials: inventory, supplies, raw materials, textiles, etc. Carriers come in all different sizes and configurations to accommodate the items they are storing.
All carriers on a carousel are uniform in size and are attached in fixed locations. You can reposition a carrier on a carousel however it is not a simple procedure, so you want to make sure you put carriers in the correct position right from the start.
However, you can modify and configure each carrier in many different ways depending on the size and type of your storage items by adding storage bins, boxes, dividers, etc.
These carriers show how they can be configured for specific needs (not comprehensive):
Carrier Load Capacity
The average overall load capacity of a Vertical Carousel ranges from 13,000 to 39,000 pounds. Individual carrier capacity ranges anywhere from 750 to 3,000 pounds. Note: load capacities will vary by manufacturer.
There are optional inventory management systems which will interface with ERP, WMS, barcode, and RFID systems.
Carousels secure your stored items preventing loss and theft. Security gates and locker configurations are further options for securing your storage.
Vertical Carousels generally range in height anywhere from 7 feet to 30 feet. Widths range from 6 feet to 21 feet. Note: Dimensions will vary by manufacturer.
Build to Fit
Some vendors offer build to fit specifications to fit your specific storage needs.
APPLICATIONS FOR A VERTICAL CAROUSEL
There are multiple applications in which an automated Vertical Carousel can provide great solutions for storage and retrieval operations. Here are a few:
If you are still wondering whether or not a vertical carousel is for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to a storage specialist. There are many different material handling storage solutions and this article, “What is the Number 1 Best Storage Solution for My Commercial Workspace?” may help you navigate your options.
With over 100 years of combined experience in storage solutions, we are here to provide you with the information you need about all things storage. At your request, we are happy to help!
P.S. Is there any other storage topic you want to hear about? We welcome your suggestions or comments below.