Deciding to get the right pallet rack for your business probably seems easy; you choose the one that is most cost-effective, right?
The thinking is that you’ll see an immediate return on your investment. And, for the most part, the less expensive product will do a good job and meet your company’s needs.
But when it comes to pallet racks, it’s important to do some research before purchasing. Why? Because you need to get the pallet rack that’s suitable for the job. Buying the wrong one could cost money, or worse, cause injury or death if it malfunctions or is hit by a forklift.
So don’t be tempted by the cheapest quote, especially if your operation stores or ships heavy goods.
In the logistics business, particularly in storage, the care of property is the number one priority. If you can’t supply non-damaged goods, or store client belongings without damaging them, your reputation is going to suffer. People will complain, and you’ll get bad reviews online. You’ll also begin to lose clients. No business wants that.
Why take the risk? A small amount of research and conversations with specialists will answer your questions and tell you exactly what kind of pallet rack you need for your operation.
The two main choices are structural steel pallet racks and roll-formed steel pallet racks.
Structural steel pallet racks
Heavy duty pallet racks are, without a doubt, worth the investment if you deal with goods that weigh a lot. The heavy-duty rack is called a structural steel rack. This type of pallet is constructed from heavy gauge steel and the joints are welded or fastened with heavy-duty bolts, giving it significant support, strength, and stability. It’s a durable, sturdy product that can handle up to 25 tons or more.
In fact, this weight-bearing feature of structural steel pallets is the primary reason for purchase. In other words, you need less rack for more weight. A one-metre wide structural rack can hold more than a one-meter wide roll-formed steel rack. Additionally, the rack can go further in terms of height and length.
So, while the financial outlay for a structural pallet is greater per square meter than for a roll-formed pallet, the capacity of the holding ability of the structural product does, in fact, make it price competitive.
The second benefit of structural steel racks is that they can withstand daily wear and tear. A hit by a forklift truck is unlikely to damage the integrity of a structural steel pallet rack. If you work in tight spaces and bumps from forklifts happen regularly, over time the structural rack will pay for itself even though the initial outlay is greater. Forklift dings won’t automatically mean a new pallet rack must be ordered.
In addition, the goods on a structural rack stay firmly in place, for the most part, when a forklift collides with the pallet. The strength and sturdiness of the product provides major stability and absolutely minimal vibration or movement – as long as they are properly assembled.
Finally, structural steel pallets mean that you can work in taller buildings and go higher with your racking.
The structural units can also withstand greater temperature ranges and have been used outdoors and within large freezers.
Don’t forget – the structural steel pallet rack is not for every situation. Use it for heavy goods, taller systems, warehouses with a great deal of forklift traffic, outdoor locations, or very cold temperatures.
Roll-formed steel pallet racks
The roll-formed steel pallet rack is by far the most common type of steel racking system in warehouses in Canada, the U.S., and parts of Europe. It can handle average and lightweight goods. It’s a good and flexible choice for smaller warehouses and indoor facilities.
Rather than being made from a heavy gauge steel, roll-formed steel is made from strips of the metal that are heated and bent into coil shapes. Obviously, roll-formed pallet racks are less dense but compete on the basis of flexible design. Roll-formed pallet racks can also be used for catwalk systems.
With roll-formed pallet racks, uprights and beams attach to each other with connectors and are secured with locks. Thus, they are relatively easy to disassemble and reassemble into a new configuration.
Unlike structural steel pallet racks, roll-formed racks cannot withstand regular hits from forklifts or other equipment. Sometimes, even a slight bump in the wrong place will make the whole roll-formed rack shudder. This may shift stored goods precariously to the edge of the shelving. This poses an immediate safety hazard. All work must stop so the situation can be corrected.
How to make your buying decision
Now that you’ve read this blog post, your buying decision may be clearer. If you’re still not certain because you have a mix of circumstances, consider these points.
Do a realistic calculation of the weight of the products that will be stored. All pallet racking systems have a built-in safety factor. However, exceeding that factor will stress the system and create a hazardous working environment. You’ll endanger lives and goods.
Take into account your storage facilities. If you’re in a higher than average facility and intend to make use of the vertical space, the structural rack which can go higher is the right choice for your operation.
Think about what kind of environment you will locate the systems. If it’s outside in a cold climate, or in any kind of refrigerated system, the structural system is the best choice.
With average weight or lighter goods, a roll-formed pallet rack system is ideal. It will do the job well and will be less expensive, too. However, you’ll need to ensure that any and all forklift operators are particularly careful around the roll-formed racking.
As noted, this lighter, more flexible system is subject to damage when hit. Collisions will undermine the integrity of roll-formed pallet racks. They can also make it more likely that stored items will be displaced or even fall from shelving.
Are you looking for a pallet rack system? Whether you need structural or roll-formed, Michaels Global Training can meet all your needs. We’re also happy to talk and give you guidance on what best suits your business needs call us today at 647-821-996 or contact us here.