Industrial steel racking: a buyer’s guide
Industrial steel racking and shelving is an investment asset for companies, and is an essential equipment for performing operational and logistic tasks with productivity and safety guarantees. For proper decision making during the purchasing process of these equipment, it is important to know the basic fundamentals of storage systems and what factors must be taken into account for a correct buying decision.
The acquisition of industrial racking and storage systems are in general strategic purchases for companies. The investment amounts can be high and logistic equipment has a long life and extended duration, with a significant relevance in the operation of our warehouses and in companies in general. For those reasons, wrong decisions can have a significant impact in a negative sense, and we suggest that at least below stated points should be taken into account by any purchase department or decision maker.
Additionally, it must be considered that the industry of storage systems and industrial steel racking and shelving is highly competitive, with a variety of different storage systems and a significant number of suppliers.
We have gathered below a list of basic recommendations to be taken into account for the acquisition of racking and storage equipment, and think they will help in taking more correct purchase decisions.
1. Let’s start with the obvious. Always seek professional and expert advice for the design of your storage equipment. Racking and shelving, depending on the use and application can be quite tricky from a technical perspective. Be sure to comply with all applicable regulations and legal requirements that are in force. Pay particular attention to the safety and accessories required. Ask you suppliers (or potential suppliers) to inform you about all the regulatory requirements and standards.
2. It is not just the racking, but also the papers. It is important to have your installation properly documented. Make sure the supplier includes with the supply of the racking all necessary documentation: project, user manual, load warning plates, etc.
3. Not all needs are the same, and not all warehouses are comparable. Let yourself be advised by experts to acquire the solution that best suits your needs. The starting point for the design of a storage system must always be your own operations, and the facilities and warehouse buildings in which the racking will be installed and used.
4. Although it may appear so at first glance, not all racking is the same, nor are all suppliers are comparable in quality. As in all products, there are large differences in quality and performance between racking solutions and racking suppliers. Just bear in mind that the racking equipment you are about to acquire will store lots of tons in height. Do not put the safety of your workers in jeopardy by purchasing inadequate equipment or by being guided only by price.
5. Bear in mind that the racking installation will require maintenance. If anything can be certain is that your new racking and storage equipment is going to deteriorate with the use. You will need replacements and will need minor assembly works. Consider it in your purchase and ask your supplier if they will provide the needed after sales service.
6. It is essential to consider the type of handling equipment that will operate the racking, the characteristics of the loading unit and the load carrying accessories (type of pallet and its dimensions). Not all racking solutions suit the existing handling equipment.
7. Pay attention to bracings. The use of bracings may increase the racking’s strength and stability, and can reduce the initial acquisition cost, but at the same time the use of bracings imply that those bracings must work correctly all the time. In our experience, the reality is that vertical bracings are loosened very easily, failing to perform their function. In this way, the load capacity of the racking will be less than the capacity of the original design with bracings. Without knowing it, you are putting your workers and stored goods at risk.
8. Believe that used racking is just as good as new racking. With new racking correctly purchased you have the security and the guarantee of the manufacturer or supplier, and a design adapted to your needs and specifications. With used
9. The purchase does not end with the racking assembly. Know that you have to train your staff in the correct use of the racking, have to appoint a PRSES (Person Responsible for Storage Equipment Safety), carry out periodic visual inspections, and an annual racking inspection according to EN 15635.
The acquisition of industrial racking and storage equipment is a technical purchase of an investment property. Look for the advice of experts with experience in this type of equipment, who will inform you about all the implications related to storage equipment.
Racking and shelving are necessary, they help us to be more efficient and more effective, and they facilitate order, productivity, and security. Let us pay to our racking the attention they deserve and take care of them.