Wildeck Inc.

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WILDECK is a national manufacturer of vertical reciprocating conveyors (VRCs), mezzanines, and safety-guarding products for the self-storage, archive and other industries. The company’s national network of dealers is available to assist owners in selecting the right lift for their new construction, retrofit or conversion projects. Inside Self-Storage spoke with Todd Canham, VRC product manager, and Melissa Benzine, marketing specialist, about the company’s offerings. For more information, call 800.325.6939, ext. 225; e-mail tcanham@wildeck.com .

How long has Wildeck been manufacturing lifts?

Wildeck began custom designing and manufacturing VRCs in 1991, adding to its existing mezzanine line. We are the largest U.S. manufacturer of mezzanines and VRCs, serving a range of industries. Since its inception in 1980, our line has expanded to include safety-guarding products such as guard rails, machine guards, bollards, and column and rack protectors.

What sets you apart from other lift companies serving the self-storage industry?

Rather than retrofitting a VRC from another lift manufacturer, we actually design and manufacture our lifts. Wildeck also has an extensive network of hundreds of dealers nationwide who work locally with owners, architects and general contractors. The availability of local dealers ensures any problems that may arise are resolved as quickly as possible. In terms of design, Wildeck lifts are among the best in industry due to their flexibility—they are truly customizable. From a very basic lift with expanded mesh sides and no roof to a completely enclosed, solid sheet-metal lift, Wildeck provides a multitude of options.

What are the pros and cons of passenger elevators vs. VRCs for storage sites?

The initial cost of a passenger elevator far exceeds that of a VRC, not to mention the higher installation and servicing costs. Elevators usually require more pre-construction prep, such as fire-rated walls or load-bearing walls, making VRCs a prime candidate for retrofit or conversion projects.

However, sometimes an elevator is required by code governing handicapped access. In such cases, Wildeck frequently places VRCs in conjunction with passenger elevators. For example, two elevators and two VRCs may be placed opposite each other in large-scale facilities. The money saved can be invested in security or other features.

Finally, VRCs can be larger and more rugged than standard passenger elevators, thus better able to stand the rigors of hauling customer goods.

How would you describe the construction of Wildeck VRCs?

Our standard design incorporates wide-flange structural steel members for the hoisting masts of the VRC. We also offer a truss-type mast system if desired. Our mast systems can be designed to be totally freestanding with no attachment to the building at all. The carriage platforms can be designed as anything from a simple platform with guard rails and snap chains to a fully enclosed carriage.

Is your product available in other countries?

Yes, we have dealers in Canada and Mexico. In addition, a number of our VRCs have been integrated into larger materials-handling systems and exported to Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

How many employees do you have?

More than 100 employees work at the corporate headquarters in Waukesha, Wis. Our staff includes 12 engineers with degrees in mechanical, electrical, structural and architectural engineering.

You are the only U.S. company that makes VRCs and mezzanine systems. When might a self-storage developer need the latter?

Transforming a big-box retail building to a multistory storage facility can be accomplished efficiently and cost effectively with a mezzanine system. We can provide the conversion with stair systems and accompanying VRCs.

You make hydraulic and mechanical units. What are the advantages of each?

Hydraulic VRCs are usually preferred for two-level self-storage facilities because they are less expensive. If you have more than two stories, a mechanical lift would be used because it stops accurately at every level. You may also want to consider a mechanical unit if it is the only VRC serving your building and you expect frequent use (20 cycles or more per hour).

What kind of versatility do you offer?

Some lift companies are limited to certain carriage dimensions, ceiling heights or weight capacities. Wildeck is able to provide lifts that exactly meet a facility’s requirements as dictated by local or state codes. For example, one self-storage chain prefers a VRC with no roof and an 8-by-8 carriage, and we were easily able to furnish it.

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