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Massachusetts law toughens safety rules for vertical reciprocating conveyors

The law, passed in April 2009, gave the state’s Board of Elevator Regulations and Department of Public Safety jurisdiction over the installation, maintenance, repair and inspection of VRCs.
By Modern Materials Handling Staff
January 27, 2011

Vertical reciprocating conveyors (VRCs) play a big role behind the scenes in factories, restaurants, hotels, airports, schools, stores and warehouse / distribution centers. But according to John Powers, president of Century Elevator Co. in Quincy, Mass., and who has installed and repaired hundreds of VRCs over the years, many building owners, facilities managers and operations people aren’t aware of the law passed in April 2009 that gave the state’s Board of Elevator Regulations and Department of Public Safety jurisdiction over the installation, maintenance, repair and inspection of VRCs.

Powers says the new regulations dictate that a permit must be obtained from the Department of Public Safety prior to the installation of any new VRC or modification to an existing one.  As with all other elevators, VRCs must now be inspected annually by a state elevator inspector, and a licensed structural engineer must verify conformance with state building codes. Special provision was made for VRCs installed prior to April 14, 2009.

VRCs can be designed to move things from 1 pound to 200,000 pounds between levels in multiple story buildings. There are several ways to install them, and they’re fast, efficient, convenient and safe. The main components of vertical reciprocating conveyors include guide columns, carriage and a mechanical or hydraulic actuating mechanism.

Powers says VRCs have numerous benefits. Besides the fact that VRCs are classified as a material conveyor and operators do not require OSHA forklift training.
They:
• Can be installed in new or existing building.
• Can be customized to specific applications.
• Are less costly to install, operate and maintain than elevators.
• Are safer than using a forklift to move materials between levels.
• Move loads of all shapes, sizes and weights.
• Can be installed in unused elevator shafts.
• Proven in over 12,000 applications
• Meet or exceed ANSI B20.1 and OSHA regulations.
• Can use hydraulic, mechanical and fully automated systems.

Powers says, “VRCs are like unsung hero workhorses behind the scenes. They’re safe,  rugged, reliable and low maintenance.  Whether you need the simplicity of a hydraulic VRC, or the faster, continuous operation of a mechanical unit, VRCs can be configured to meet your specific load, height, and speed requirements. The ones we recommend are made in the USA.”

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