Posts Tagged ‘Material Lift’

More on Creating Space with Mezzanines

July 23, 2010

I have been ignoring my blog on material handling because I have been very busy generating a proposal for a large, and rather complicated mezzanine. For this customer, the total is pretty large (over $100,000), but looking at the cost per square foot (about $20.00), it is certainly less than the alternative of adding building space.

Adding the mezzanine also offers more advantages. The addition of a building adds square footage, but it also adds more travel time within the building. This particular customer moves everything on carts, one at a time, so it is a big price tag to add another 250 feet to the travel on those carts. Additional square footage adds lots of costs: moving, utilities, maintenance and taxes to name a few. For a large company, even planning a move can cost double or triple the cost of a mezzanine.

The mezzanine will depreciate as a piece of equipment in 7 ½ years, unlike a building addition, which will depreciate in 39 years. If your company is profitable, the write-off can be significant (contact your tax professional!). Another big advantage of the mezzanine is that it can be modified, moved or sold in the future. We have several customers that have built mezzanine levels in several sections, as funds were available. One never knows about the future, so it is great to know that if your company relocates, the mezzanine can be taken down and moved to the new location. Stick built structures can’t do that!

There are lots of companies manufacturing mezzanines, so do your homework. You should not deal with any company that does not have structural engineers on staff. When you get a quote, it should detail the structure, size of beams, columns and all the weight capacities and loads. If you don’t have that information, then you can’t really know what you are buying. Some suppliers use lighter-weight structure, and the product costs less, but you probably won’t be happy with the finished product. In the mezzanine world, you get what you pay for.


Freight Elevator or Vertical Conveyor?

May 24, 2010

A potential customer called today with a dilemma.  He has a new building going up and will need a way to move material to a second level of the building.   He has been told that he will need a freight elevator, but he doesn’t have the budget.  He asked if we had any solutions.

An affordable alternative to a freight elevator is a Vertical Reciprocating Conveyor or VRC.  This equipment is designed to move materials, not people, so it is much less expensive (1/3 the cost) of a freight elevator. 

The VRC is generally designed for the application, to the load sizes, weights and characteristics of each operation.  We have worked on lifts as small as 30″ x 30″ up to giant VRC’s big enough to lift 2 cars.  One or more stops can be designed into the lift, with entries and exits on various sides of the platform, so they are very flexible.  We have even used VRC’s to replace old, outdated freight elevators.   Many VRC’s are used in applications where people have been transporting materials up stairways.  That can be a really expensive injury!

Some time ago, I had a customer call and say that they had been lifting barrels to a mezzanine level with a forklift and that they had dropped a barrel.  It caused a huge incident, with the local fire department, HAZMAT, EPA and the associated clean-up.  They were lucky that no one was hurt.  We quoted and installed a VRC for them.  They were so happy with the improvement in safety and productivity that they bought a second VRC for another location. 

A VRC can be a big savings, not only in the initial project cost, but in the longer-term for process improvement and a much higher level of safety.