Holes in the Floor: Importance of Repairing Damaged Concrete
Written By: Blake Bearden
When running a warehouse, packing house, or distribution center, creating efficiency through system automation and improved process control is a proven method of reducing total cost of operation. This is also by far the most obvious way to close up “holes in the floor” – in other words, costs that if unmitigated will continue to drain a business from the ground up.
But what about real holes in the floor of your facility! We see the “potholes” that eat up forklifts, AGVs, and rolling machines of all types. These are usually prevalent in older facilities that get re-purposed or changed over to warehousing for their new use. Typically, this gets overlooked even in new facilities – as they have been more recently surfaced to allow for the smooth transfer of materials between areas. Regardless, surfacing of these floors was left to the contractor that originally poured the pad, and the life expectancy of the floor was assumed to be nearly infinite.
So what happens when a large floor crack, or pothole appears in an existing facility? When is it ever fixed? Often times it is only when serious damage occurs to equipment, when a reportable injury occurs, or it is discovered by an inspector. By then, it can be too late to do anything about it. And if the operator of the warehouse is not the owner, it is often left to someone else to address such as the landlord or property management company. And if not addressed for any significant period, the need for these repairs can begin to drive costs upward.
But there is good news: Damaged floors can be easily repaired and made suitable for material handling operations, usually without loss of down time for the facility and without significant costs. Environmentally-friendly industrial coatings have come a long way in the past few years as there are now polymers that can be used which cure harder than concrete within minutes, and depending on the size of the crack, can even be used in walls.
The key is to consistently inspect the facility’s traffic areas such that these cracks and holes can be easily identified and dealt with before they become a problem. For those who have to deal with a property management company, educating the landlord on how addressing this problem can help reduce risk, as well as help them build a relationship with their tenant. This helps build trust and makes the partnership between that property manager and logistics company that much more solid.
Proactively addressing minor issues with facility structures can pay dividends later in terms of improved safety and performance. Look to a valued consultant to provide expertise so you may reinforce best practices in facilities maintenance and establish a protocol that will support efficient utilization and enhanced safety of your material handling equipment.
If you need recommendations on the best way to repair your warehouse floors, please contact us.