Vertical Lift Modules (VLM) & Industrial Carousels


Improve order fulfillment and buffering with high-density small parts storage

Vertical lift modules (VLMs) and vertical carousels are types of automated storage and retrieval (AS/RS) systems for small to medium sized products and parts. Although they operate differently, both systems provide high-density, high-throughput, minimal-footprint solutions for order picking, buffering, and kitting. The ergonomically design workstations minimize walk time and eliminate bending while increasing operator efficiency and accuracy.

Bastian Solutions' experts will analyze your operations and goals to help you find the best automated storage system for your warehouse, distribution or production facility.


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How They Work

While the VLMs and vertical carousels offer many of the same benefits, and the term VLM is often used to both, they differ in how they operate.

Vertical Lift Modules (VLMs)

VLMs store columns of trays against the front and back walls inside the machine. Between these two columns, in the middle of the machine, is space for the mechanical inserter/extractor or crane to travel up and down to access the trays. Trays are retrieved from their storage location and delivered to the operator access area where items can be picked or replenished as needed. VLMs can reach heights up to 98 feet.

Vertical Carousels

In carousels, shelves connected in a loop rotate along the track until the desired shelf reaches the operator. A vertical carousel is a series of bins mounted to a vertical oval track inside a large cabinet. The motion is similar to a Ferris wheel. The carousel bins rotate to bring the required items to the operator. Because carriers are connected in a fixed order, the entire carousel will rotate in whichever direction provides the fastest access to the desired carrier. Vertical carousels can reach heights up to 32 feet.


Features & Benefits

  • Increase picking speeds and order accuracy
  • Improve operator productivity and morale
  • Safely store and retrieve uniform or uniquely shaped items
  • Shorten pick time through reduced walk distance
  • Improve inventory record accuracy
  • Easily enter additional SKU's for growing operations
  • Improve customer service and response time
  • Reduce shrinkage and product damage
  • Reduce or eliminate unnecessary paperwork
  • Reduce space requirements and maximize cube utilization
  • Reduce equipment downtime


To find the most effective storage and piece picking solution, it’s important to consider:

  • Facility size, layout, and vertical space
  • Product size and weight
  • Order volume and speed
  • Inventory volume and storage needs
  • Peak-season demands
  • Business growth forecast and objectives

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Case Study: Hercules