It’s Not Just Rack

Written By: Greg Conner

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard the phrase “it’s just rack,” I’d be spending a lot more time on the golf course and less time in the material handling world. Although not rocket science, there is much more to industrial storage systems than first meets the eye.

It all comes down to upright height and beam length, right? “It just needs to fit in the space we have allotted.” If you said yes, than you should stop reading and immediately contact your insurance carrier as an accident could be right around the corner. Size is important, but what matters is capacity, capacity, capacity. And unfortunately it’s not as easy as opening up a magic book and flipping to the capacity chart. A lot of other factors need to be considered. Below is a list of just a few:

  • What is being stored? Will it be an evenly distributed load or a point load?
  • What is the unsupported length off the ground of the first beam level?
  • Will you be installing a stand alone bay, row or a back-to-back row?
  • Is your facility located in a seismic zone?
  • What is the composition and thickness of your facilities floor?
  • How do you plan to load and unload the storage system?
  • Will the equipment be installed inside or exposed to the elements?

Further complicating the process is the fact that there are hundreds, if not thousands of different types of pallet racking and shelving, many of which are manufactured by companies that are no longer in business. Before you issue a PO to your local used equipment peddler, it may be a worth while exercise to check and see if the equipment you are about to purchase is still manufactured. Bastian has received a lot of business over the years from companies that believed all they had to do was add to their existing systems. The look of disappointment on their face is awful to see when we have to tell them that the rack they got “such a great deal on” hasn’t been manufactured in 20 years.

Pallet rack accidents are becoming more and more common. The simple Google keyword search “pallet rack accidents” references over 34,000 hits. It’s amazing to me that companies will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars ensuring that all of their employees are safety trained and that their equipment is ergonomically engineered. However, they’ll not spend a dime ensuring that their storage systems are rated and installed properly. Even if storage systems are specified and installed correctly, simple changes, after the fact, such as adjusting the beam spacing can completely change the overall capacity of the system. It is always best to run any changes past an expert.

In summary, the design and installation of industrial storage systems are much more complicated than most believe. Bastian has a team of experienced engineers well versed in a wide variety of storage system designs. We also have the ability to assess your existing storage systems for damage and other potentially catastrophic issues.

If you have any questions on storage systems, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m happy to help in any way I can.

I have been with Bastian Solutions since June of 2005, and I enjoy helping our customers find solutions to their material handling challenges. I began my career at Bastian as a Project Engineer before transitioning into a Field Sales Engineer position and now Regional Director. Being in a sales role has given me the opportunity to interact with customers while serving in various roles including business development, system design, and project management / implementation.

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