Why Many Warehouses are Using a Vertical Lift Module (VLM)
The Increase in Popularity of Using a Vertical Lift Module (VLM)
Businesses today are taking strides to become fully automated, and with the advances in automation come technologically advanced storage solutions such as the vertical lift module. The VLM allows you to maximize your storage space while boosting your operation’s productivity levels. Additionally, it can be customized to fit a wide variety of applications making it beneficial in many industries.
What is the purpose of a vertical lift module?
A vertical lift module (VLM) delivers stored materials to the operator and effectively eliminates walk and search time. The VLM is designed as an enclosed system that has two columns of trays along with an inserter/extractor in the middle. The inserter/extractor automatically finds stored traits and retrieves them from the front and back of the system with the simple push of a button. It then delivers them to the operator at a pick window.
Why more facilities are implementing a vertical lift module
Many industrial facilities are implementing a VLM because, when used correctly, it can boost productivity levels by two to three times. Not only that, but they are available in different heights and widths to fit the needs of different-sized operations. A vertical lift module allows warehouses to maximize their space by utilizing floor to ceiling height. Optimally storing trays in positions enables the system to save up to 85% of space compared to generic shelving options. With a VLM, businesses can expand their operations without having to open up multiple facilities.
Five key benefits of using a vertical lift module in your warehouse:
1. Recapture wasted floor space
A VLM system minimizes wasted floor space by utilizing vertical space in your facility. It achieves a minimal footprint by scanning the height of products stored on its trays to automatically optimize the tray height and store materials in a way that maximizes its storage density all the way up to the ceiling. This allows you to take back wasted floor space and utilize it in more efficient methods such as implementing new equipment or expanding your warehouse’s stock without moving to a new facility.
2. Noticeable increase in the average pick rates
With pick-to-light technology, a VLM can effectively increase your productivity and reach accuracy to 99.9%. Position lights and transaction information center (TIC) at the pick window inform the operator of the location, quantity, part number, and description. Additionally, a VLM can be used to pick multiple orders at once using batch picking. This allows for much faster pick rates compared to picking from standard shelving.
3. Secure storage with user-level access
Security is essential when storing a large number of items or expensive merchandise. A vertical lift module has advanced security features to prevent your valuable materials from getting lost, damaged, or stolen. You can program these storage solutions only to give specific users access to designated trays. VLMs use badge readers, EKS, and RFID technology for user-authenticated access to better secure your stock from theft and misplacement.
4. Ergonomic storage
No storage solution is as flexible as the VLM. The vertical lift module features dynamic shelving height that varies depending on the size of the item. On the other hand, traditional shelving only has one shelf height throughout the unit, making it difficult to accommodate smaller and larger parts. If you want to maximize your storage and limit wasted space, the VLM is your best option.
5. Enhanced safety features
On-site injuries are a big concern in warehouse facilities as these environments have many moving parts that can quickly become dangerous without proper precaution. Vertical lift modules have enhanced safety features such as light curtains and shutter doors that make them far safer than traditional storage solutions. A safer storage solution means that workplace injuries will be significantly reduced, creating a safe work environment.
What industries significantly benefit from the vertical lift module
One of the best things about vertical lift modules is that they can be customized to fit various applications. Things such as small parts, tools, food, and even medical supplies can be stored on a VLM as the unit can be optimized to fit your specific needs. In fact, any business that needs to improve its organization and reduce its storage footprint can benefit from implementing a VLM. The Slate River Systems team will be happy to help you understand, choose and implement the vertical lift module you need.
To prove that a VLM is beneficial in almost every industrial application, here is a list of industries that can effectively utilize this storage solution:
- Medical manufacturing
- Car dealerships
Is a vertical lift module suitable for your business?
As always, there are a few exceptions to the rule, and some businesses may not benefit from a VLM. When deciding on whether or not to invest in this storage solution, you need to ensure that you look at a few factors such as your warehouse ceiling height, product size, inventory turnaround, and potential ROI. If you have low ceilings, deal with extremely bulky parts, have a low inventory turnaround, or your ROI shows that you will never get your investment back. You may want to consider a different storage solution than the vertical lift module.