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Some elevators move like a ferris wheel and are used for lifting or lowering product. A conveyor pushes the product on a pad, then the pad goes up or down and deposits the product onto another conveyor. On their way back to pick up more product, the pads turn sideways to save space.
Other elevators have two chains on either side of a conveyor with ledges attached to those chains. When the chains cycle around, the ledges work together to pick up a box. A pallet vertical reciprocating conveyor loads product into compartments, then lifts or lowers the whole compartment.