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The Importance of Racking Inspections and Maintenance

Filed under: Warehouse Racking

A common oversight in warehousing is underestimating the importance of racking inspections and maintenance.

Often at a glance racking can look 100% in working order, however when closely examined there are a number of areas where potential damage, defects and failure can occur.

Forger in Modern Materials Handling (MMH, 2018) lists some of the most common areas where damage, defects or failure may occur, including:

  • Crushed or sheared frames
  • Bent columns
  • Broken components
  • Damaged footplates
  • Damaged anchors

Racking failure can lead to a number of negative consequences for individuals and businesses with some even fatal, consequences can include:

  • Personal injury
  • Loss of life
  • Loss of inventory
  • Business interruption
  • Clean-up and replacement expenses
  • Litigation expenses

It is imperative that racking is inspected regularly and thoroughly as damage is often cumulative.

An individual impact may only cause minor damage initially, however repetitive impacts in the same area can cumulatively degrade the structural integrity of the racking.

Two of the most common causes of racking damage are lift truck impacts and day to day usage damage.

Lift truck damage results from impacts where a vehicle or unit collides with racking.

These impacts are most commonly caused via operator error or from a unit operating in an incorrectly designed and installed aisle width.

Day to day usage damage can result from overloading above the specified weight of racking or damage created via the incorrect adjusting of racking to accommodate different products stored.

Racking inspections should be conducted annually as a minimum; inspections should also be carried out in the event of any collision or seismic event (if located in earthquake prone zones).

Areas previously damaged should also be inspected particularly thoroughly as there is a higher likelihood they may be damaged again.

Other reasons for inspections include increased product velocity, higher levels of activity or increased traffic levels.

Fateen in MMH (2018) recommends seven key racking elements for inspects as:

  1. Columns: Check for plumbness and impact damage. Corner dents are more critical than in the face or side of the column
  2. Base plates and anchors: Must be connected to the column without any break in welds. Anchors require proper installation to the concrete slab and the nut properly torqued
  3. Frame bracing: Note any shears, bends, buckles or loose/missing bracing
  4. Row spacers/structural frame ties: Inspect floor location, quantity and type
  5. Beams: Check for dents deeper than 0.25 inches and their location
  6. Beam to column connectors and locking mechanisms: Look for damage to the tabs, studs, bolts or any other connector to columns
  7. Accessories such as wire decks and cross bars: Inspect for general condition

common racking damage examples/diagram

Any necessary repairs that arise out of an inspection need to be approved by a design professional, most commonly from the manufacturer or supplier.

The most common forms of redress for damage are the complete replacement of faulty components of the racking or a pre-engineered repair kit installed on the existing racking structure.

Adaptalift Group is able to assist businesses properly maintain their racking a number of ways:

  1. Our wide range of materials handling units we are able to provide units suitable for operation in most aisle widths to prevent damage from using units that are too large for available aisle widths
  2. For businesses looking to maximise available storage space and design narrow aisle widths our specialist narrow aisle units allow racking to be installed in the narrowest widths. For further information on narrow aisle units click here
  3. To better monitor impact events Adaptalift’s Forktrack telemetry and safety system can be retrospectively fitted to most units. Using highly sensitive monitors and sensors data can be recorded such as severity of impact, direction, speed and lade status to assist in incident investigation. GPS impact tagging can also be recorded to accurately show exact locations of impact. Harnessing IOT connectivity reports are viewable in real-time along with real-time notifications

For more information on how Adaptalift can assist in racking maintenance and repair ring 13 22 54 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Reference List

  1. Modern Materials Handling (MMH). 2018. Don’t Underestimate Rack Maintenance & Repair. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.mmh.com/article/dont_underestimate_rack_maintenance_repair [Acce.ssed 31 October 2018]

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