Replace vs Replacement of Industrial Storage Rack - What is Right?

Today, many types of storage racks are used in industrial warehouses for storing large, small, lightweight, and heavy items. Most of these racks are designed for long-term use and require minimal attention. However, this doesn’t mean that these racks will not damage anytime. The damages are often ignored by warehouse managers to the point that they aggravate and lead to catastrophic failures. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), warehouse workplaces are one of the highest-risk environments. There have been more than 4,600 deaths in 2012 alone due to the collapse of damaged storage racks. In addition to this, business interruption, damage to expensive business inventory, replacement costs, cleanup of the damage, and litigations are a few other consequences of dealing with damaged racks. In response to all these, nowadays warehouse managers are taking important steps to avoid catastrophic failures in their warehouses. However, many times, they fail to make a decision in the favor of replacement Vs repair when it comes to these racks. This post discusses several important factors that will help them decide if it is better to repair the rack or replace a damaged rack. The post also analyzes factors that cause rack damage as well as tips to recognize the amount of damage.

Understanding the Different Components of Industrial Storage Racks

The understanding of repair vs replacement is incomplete unless you have an in-depth understanding of different rack components. These components will fail to perform if they are damaged.

  • Horizontal Beams: These support the load pallets, and their bending or deflection may lead to a catastrophic failure.

  • Vertical Uprights: Along with horizontal beams, vertical uprights are one of the important components of the racking system. These components support the entire weight of the rack. Vertical uprights may fail due to buckling.

  • Diagonal Braces: These braces are used for supporting horizontal beams and vertical uprights. In short, these braces help keep the racks square and strong. Many times, these diagonal braces may fail due to stress.

  • Baseplates: These are the metal tabs positioned at the bottom of the column posts. Baseplates are provided with pre-drilled holes for anchor bolts, which help secure them to the floor. These baseplates are subjected to compression forces, and they may fall due to improper anchoring. This causes the floor base of the rack to topple or fail.

  • Frame Connectors: As the name suggests, these are designed to join together different components. Designed for bearing heavy loads, these connectors may get weaker with time, thereby causing heavy damages.

Analyzing the Important Causes of Storage Rack Damage

The storage racks may damage due to several reasons such as:
  • Overloading
  • Forklift damage
  • Operational changes that are incompatible with the existing design
  • Faulty equipment
  • Low-quality construction
  • Racks featuring mixed manufacturing component combinations.
How to Inspect for Rack Damages

Visual inspection is one of the best methods for identifying the damaged components. Although most damages can be easily identified, sometimes they are difficult to spot. Some damage signs may be ignored as insignificant, when in fact they may lead to catastrophic failure. Here are some tips to identify the damage in racks:

  • Conduct a primary inspection every day to check, if the rack appears normal. If no, then how do they look—plumb, twisted, or skewed? Are the alignments proper? Do they appear misaligned or crooked? All these are indicators that there might be issues with horizontal beams, vertical uprights, and diagonal braces.

  • Next, look for buckled or bent vertical uprights. These may not be easily visible to naked eyes, so use a three-foot level, and position it against the upright. If you notice a gap then there is a problem. Any slight bend or gaps may affect the ability of the stand to bear heavy loads.

  • Similarly, you also need to check for beam deflection, because they may appear saggy or bowed. These signs indicate a serious problem. So, you can relieve the loads and take the necessary measures to replace or repair the member.

  • Misaligned braces, loose baseplates, and connectors, and rust plates are a few other symptoms that you need to take seriously.

While attending to these problems, do not forget to analyze the reasons why these have occurred. This analysis will definitely help you avoid serious injuries and accidents, and repetition of the same issues in the future. What are the common causes of warehouse rack failure? After knowing these causes, comes the next step— whether the part requires repair or an entire replacement. The same will be discussed in detail in the next post. Stay tuned to know more.

Warehouse storage racks are one of the important assets for any manufacturing business. Small damage or failure of these racks may lead to severe losses. There are several reasons why these racks may fail. They are discussed in this post, along with the scenarios when either repairs or replacements may deem appropriate.

Why Repairs are Beneficial than Replacements at Certain Times

Like any other business decision, it is important to check the pros and cons of repairing and replacing warehouse racks. The following are some benefits of repairing warehouse racks:

  • Quick Solution: If the damages are minor, then repairing becomes a quick solution as you don’t have to wait for new replacement parts.

  • Smooth Warehouse Operations: Most times, repairs are conducted during non-business hours, but if conducted in business hours, they rarely disrupt the operations.

  • Repairs are Affordable: Although plastic racks are gaining popularity across warehouses, there is a high demand for metal racks. These racks are designed for long-term use; however, they may require minor repairs sometimes. Most times, these repairs can be easily done, and they remain within budget, too.

  • Fewer Loading and Unloading of Parts than Required for Replacement: Rack repairs may involve the replacement of certain parts, but fewer parts would need to loaded or unloaded compare to that in replacement.

  • Save Money on Pallet Repair Kits: If you have already invested in pallet repair kits, they can be used for repairing minor damages. So, you can easily save money on repair kits.

Why Storage Rack Replacements are better than Repairs in Some Situations

Storage rack replacements become a practical option at certain times. The following are a few cases when they become unavoidable:

  • The rack is damaged beyond the point of repair. They cannot bear the extensive load and may collapse anytime, thereby endangering the lives of people around as well as the stocked inventory.

  • The rack system design has become obsolete, and its parts are not available in the market.

  • Repairs may be difficult owing to the expenses involved or the lack of experienced repair professionals. Some complex repairs are difficult to handle, and they can only be performed by experienced players.

  • The facility is being relocated to the new place, and moving the racks that have moderate damages may not be worthwhile.

Thus, the choice of repair vs replacement of warehouse storage racks will entirely depend on the severity of the damage, and other factors. Whenever investing in the new or used racks, it is important that you source them from a customer-driven manufacturer who offers quality customized storage solutions. SPS Ideal Solutions has been one of the leading providers of warehouse storage systems, since its inception.