Using Warehouse Mezzanines to Improve Throughput


Mezzanine systems provide a cost-effective way to optimize vertical space in warehouses, storage facilities, and other operations. They’re essentially just raised platforms that hold products and equipment — though they can be fairly complex systems. Catwalks might run between rows, and some systems have multiple levels.

Using Warehouse Mezzanines to Improve Throughput

With careful design, a warehouse mezzanine system can substantially extend your storage capacity. Another benefit of mezzanines is less obvious: When you invest in appropriate material handling equipment (MHE), mezzanines can dramatically improve productivity. Products move faster, and workers can get things done without a great deal of travel.

If you’re considering mezzanines for your warehouse, here’s what you need to know.

Strategies for Moving Products from Mezzanines to the Floor

To get the most from your investment, you’ll need to think about how employees will move products to and from the shelves.

Lift trucks can provide access to the top levels of basic mezzanines, but that approach isn’t ideal. In busy warehouses, lift trucks will need to travel constantly, introducing a potential safety issue.

And while forklifts can be efficient with experienced operators, the simple fact is that lift trucks aren’t designed for mezzanine access. Freight elevators and vertical reciprocating conveyors (VRCs) are more efficient, versatile solutions.

Freight Elevators vs. Vertical Reciprocating Conveyors

Consider the layout of your operation when choosing a transport option:

  • Freight elevators are a better option when workers need to travel with products and equipment.
  • VRCs are not elevators — workers cannot travel on them — but they’re significantly less expensive than elevators, and much more flexible.
  • VRCs generally cost less to install and maintain.
  • VRCs can be moved quite easily; with freight elevators, the equipment is generally permanent, and moving the elevator necessitates inspections and permitting.

Given those advantages, most warehouses should opt for a VRC, particularly when mezzanine systems are designed to be disassembled and moved to different areas of a warehouse.

The conveyor should be built for the warehouse mezzanine system, with appropriate guarding and other safety controls. With some planning, a VRC can fulfill all of the facility’s transport requirements — and regardless of your operation’s layout, customization is a realistic option.

Related: Vertical Lift Traffic Patterns: Planning for VRC Material Flow

Enhancing Mezzanine Efficiency with VRCs

BHS Vertical Reciprocating Conveyors are custom-built in full compliance with ASME B20.1, the Safety Standard for Conveyors and Related Equipment. By customizing each system to match the needs of each facility, we help warehouses enjoy the full benefits of this unique MHE solution:

  • BHS VRCs can be integrated with conveyors and other material handling systems. That includes Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) systems and robotic inventory systems — streamlining operations from day one.
  • Each VRC is built to match the client’s requirements for height, load capacity, and carriage size. By building to the specifications of each application, we ensure that each system provides reliable, long-term service.
  • Simple push-button controls allow workers to quickly move materials between levels. Proximity sensors automatically stop the VRC at the desired height, and velocity fuses and drop locks eliminate fall hazards.

To explore the benefits of custom-built VRCs, tell us about your facility through our custom manufacturing request form, or call our sales team at 1.800.BHS.9500 to start the conversation.