Pallet racks, also known as warehouse racks, industrial storage racks, and steel racks, are the backbone of any warehouse operations. They’re integral to timely and proper product handling, convenient product accessibility, and efficient order fulfilment, all of which are essential for the profitability of your business.
But just because they’re so important for your business does not mean that you need to get new ones. Both used and new pallet systems are available in a wide range of styles, sizes, and capacities to accommodate most pallet sizes and load weights. Whether you’re expanding your warehouse operations or just venturing into product storage, you need to decide whether your budget can accommodate new pallet rack systems, or you would rather choose used pallets.
New Pallet Rack Systems
Due to strict manufacturing standards and regulations, new warehouse racks are guaranteed to use lead-free, chip resistant, and non-toxic paint substances with exceptional durability and resilience to damage. In addition, these systems are constructed with premium steel, which is 50% stronger than traditional commercial steel, with a capacity for 50,000 psi.
Although they’re expensive, new pallet rack systems are undoubtedly quality products if purchased from a reputable organization. You might also consider getting new ones if you have a complex system that requires much customization. If you’re planning on expanding your current space, for instance, new systems will be better placed to accommodate the add-ons and extensions needed to improve your processes or enable specialty applications.
Used Pallet Racks
Smaller warehouse and storage operations usually require minimal equipment, such as beams and upright frames to allow for vertical storage, which can be obtained at a bargain from warehouse closures and liquidations for businesses that are downsizing or looking to raise fast cash by selling some of their equipment.
These pallet racks are usually in good working condition, yet they’re available at deeply discounted prices. You can purchase different types of used pallet racks, including:
- Selective pallet racks – the most common style for warehouse applications. They feature upright frames and rack beans that allow for easy access from the forklift travel aisles without moving other products to gain access
- Pushback pallet racks – can hold a lot of the same products up to 6 pallet positions deep, or 12 pallet positions deep with the pushback racks placed back-to-back, which is great for maximizing on storage capacity per area. Recommended for Last-in, First-out (LIFO) inventory management system.
- Pallet flow pallet racks – This system also maximizes the use of warehouse space using the First-in/First-out stock rotation. It is recommended for fast-moving products.
- Drive-in and drive-through racks – They allow you to use up to 75% more pallet storage per area compared to selective pallet racks. The drive-in system is typically used for LIFO stock rotation, while the drive-through system works best with the FIFO stock management system.
You can also choose between teardrop and structural pallet racking styles. Teardrop pallet racking is more popular because of the flexibility it offers, as the design doesn’t require bolts, nuts, clips, or other assembly accessories. Structural pallet racks, on the other hand, offer great impact resistance, which makes them ideal for use in areas with seismic activity.
Generally, there are three ways to purchase used pallet racks:
- Inventory sales – Where the agency buys them from business liquidations and warehouse clearance functions, transfers them to their own warehouse and sells them gradually over a long time
- Auctions – Where the broker or agency arranges for on-site or online bidding for the pallet racks
- Whole lot purchases – Where the broker or agency finds a buyer who can purchase all the equipment in one fell swoop
Most of these options involve the purchase of used pallet racks in the exact same condition that they were being used by the previous owners (as-is equipment). However, it is possible to find used pallets that have been “repaired” at a slightly higher price.
Used equipment that is sold in the exact condition that it was previously being used (as-is) is usually the most cost-effective option. They have not been repainted, repaired, or prepped for sale in any way, which means that they may show signs of use and age from their previous application.
When purchasing through this option, you should work with a trustworthy broker or sales agency that can verify the structural integrity of the used pallet racks.
Refurbished pallets are those that have undergone a process to restore their original condition to “like new”, sometimes with better structural integrity and aesthetic value than as-is equipment, but still at a much lower price tag compared to new pallet racks.
The reconditioning process for used pallet racks involves:
- Sticker and markings removal from the surface
- A thorough inspection of each component to check for structure damage, which is then repaired or replaced accordingly
- Cleaning and prepping for painting using state-of-the-art technology for rust and residue removal without affecting the value or integrity of the metal
- Painting and curing
- Sorting, packaging, and shipping to the client after confirmation of the purchase
Buying Used Storage Racks
When purchasing used, you should keep aside some of the savings to cushion your budget for ongoing maintenance and/or unexpected service and repair work for hidden damage. Here are a few tips to ensure that you’re making the best possible purchase:
- Inspect the condition to ensure they are not compromised
- Ask questions about the age, any history of impact or trauma, and where they were used (both the location and industry). Geography is an important consideration as some natural phenomena, like seismic activity, humidity, and salty conditions can cause rapid deterioration
- Conversely, if you plan on using these pallet racks in a region with seismic activity, you should expect stricter requirements. The associated testing and consulting fees to ensure that your used rack system is permissible can be quite high, eating away at the savings.
- Ensure that the design specifications of the steel racking are compliant with your industry rules and regulations, as well as the current ratings in your local building and fire codes, including any that reference lead-based (or toxic) paints
- If they’re out of compliance, you can get them updated if you can reach the manufacturer, and that product line is still active. Consider the extra cost and hassle to determine whether it’s still worth the bargain. If it’s difficult to get up to code, it might be best to forgo the purchase.
The Verdict: New vs. Used
New pallet racks would be more ideal for complex and long-term warehouse needs. But if you’re looking for an affordable or temporary solution or, quality older racks can give you the cost savings you need to finance other business operations. Used pallet racks can also be used as a low-cost, short-term stopgap for businesses looking to relocate or expand their warehouse operations.
For more information, call Michael’s Global Trading today at 888-471-5066 or contact us contact us here.