||This article possibly contains original research. (September 2010)|
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Vermaport is a brand of a shopping cart conveyor system built by Darrott Transporttechnik GmbH of Gevelsberg, Germany. The Vermaport system is designed to transport shopping carts between floors of a retail establishment or to transport or store luggage carts at airports or other transportation hubs. The Vermaport systems are alternatives to inclined moving walkways, where a Vermaport system will take up about half as much space as a moving walkway.
The Vermaport SC (Shopping Cart) is typically used in discount retailers such as Target and Kmart, as well as furniture store IKEA, and the retail chain Bed Bath and Beyond. The cart is in use in certain stores owned by Publix. Essentially an escalator, the device uses specially designed shopping carts and transports them between levels in shopping complexes.
Vermaports level carts using three valleys. Specialized carts have their front wheels set closer together and thus not in line with the back, outset, wheels. For upwards travel, the inset wheels glide along the center valley, the outset wheels ride on the two higher outer valleys. This allows the shopping cart to stay level along an inclined path. On the way down, the center valley is higher and the side valleys are lower to allow the cart to transport level while facing down. Due to these valleys, shopping carts on the Vermaport SC do not have the typical plastic or metal grate shelf below the basket of the shopping cart that is used to carry large or bulk items.
An installed Vermaport system is typically located next to an escalator, moving at the same speed, so as to allow a shopping cart to be transported alongside a shopper as he or she moves between floors. The conveyance is accomplished by a belt of hard rubber teeth that grab near the wheels of the cart as a shopper guides it into the entrance of the Vermaport.
To use a Vermaport correctly, a customer should position the front end of the shopping cart through the swing-open double doors at the foot of the device and give a push until the cart is engaged by the drive chain. There should be a slight tug if this is done correctly. Once the cart is engaged, the customer boards the adjacent escalator, which travels in parallel with the Vermaport, to the top of the run. Once there, he or she can stand just to the left of the exit doors to wait for the cart to be pushed through.
There are special sensors at the entry portal which will cause a shutdown of the unit if a human attempts to enter the trackway, or if the drive chain is jammed. If this happens, one should summon store personnel for assistance in restarting the unit. Parents should monitor their children in the vicinity of these portals to ensure that they do not go into the Vermaport lane to ensure their safety.
The Vermaport LC (Luggage Cart) is based on the same engineering principles and the SC model. It allows travellers and their luggage to travel between floors in transportation terminals such as an airport. The LC system allows for items wider than what would fit into a shopping cart on the Vermaport SC.
The Vermaport RS (Return System) is used to store luggage carts which are typically rental fee based. Personnel at an arrival or departure area will gather abandoned luggage carts and return them to the Vermaport RS. The carts will be automatically fed into the Vermaport and will wait for a traveler to retrieve one by inserting the required fee.