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December 04, 2019

Warehouse Mezzanines: Types & Considerations When Installing

Warehouse mezzanines are a type of warehouse equipment that are designed with the purpose of adding additional storage space. But the type of mezzanine and how it’s designed is essential to how much space is actually created and if the space created is used effectively. Warehouses are oftentimes filled up quickly due to an inefficient design, or when warehouse equipment is installed without any forethought of what works best for the products stored there.

If your warehouse is running out of space and you’re considering relocating or expanding, you may want to first consider installing a warehouse mezzanine in order to utilize existing space in your current warehouse. A mezzanine is an elevated structure that is installed above existing racks and is perfect for warehouse ceilings that are multiple stories high. At DAK Equipment, we provide a full range of warehouse equipment, including conveyor systems, steel shelving, pallet racks, flow racks, and more that helps to increase space, productivity, and reduce safety hazards. Before you spend time and money on relocating, work with our warehouse design consultants at DAK Equipment.

Types of Warehouse Mezzanines

There are essentially two types of mezzanine systems, each with their own benefits. The style that is best for your warehouse will depend on your needs, the products stored in your warehouse, and the type of equipment being used there. Contact DAK Equipment for a design consultation.

Freestanding Mezzanine

Supported by columns that are bolted to the floor, these systems take up minimal space and can hold pallet racks, shelving units, conveyor equipment, and stored products. For much larger or heavier items, load requirements need to be considered during the design process. They are ideal when floor space under the mezzanine still needs to be used, but additional space is required above for storage.

Rack, Pallet Rack, or Building Supported Mezzanine

Rather than being supported by columns that are part of the mezzanine installation process, this type is supported by existing shelving or pallet racks or by the warehouse itself. In these situations, you will need to ensure that the support structure can hold up the weight of whatever is being stored on the mezzanine. Again, which of the three is best for your needs will depend on what is being stored. All three options tend to be more budget-friendly, as they rely on existing support structures, rather than having to install columns.

Considerations When Installing a Warehouse Mezzanine

Plan Ahead

Before you actually select which type of mezzanine is best for your warehouse and begin the installation process, there are a few things to consider.

  • Permissions: If you are renting the warehouse, consult with the planning and zoning board to ensure that you are permitted to install the structure.
  • The Purpose: Are you installing it for additional office space, storage, a showroom, production space, or retail space? The type of mezzanine and how it’s designed and installed is dependent on its purpose. Talk with your project manager at DAK Equipment about your goals for the space.
  • Headroom: Both the ground floor and mezzanine levels need to have enough headroom for employees to move around and for the items themselves.
  • Loading: A significant consideration is the weight of the items being stored and load requirements for the structure. A mezzanine that is holding machinery will have greater load requirements than a mezzanine that is being used for office space.

Floor Capacity

As you have probably gathered by now, the weight that is being held by the mezzanine is an important factor in a variety of ways. The mezzanine itself needs to be sturdy enough to hold anything from office desks, chairs, and filing cabinets to heavy machinery or other warehouse equipment. Furthermore, the slab floor of your warehouse itself needs to be sturdy enough to support the weight of everything inside the warehouse. If you’re unsure of your floor’s capacity, a slab and soil analysis can be completed, and if needed, special footings can be installed.

Surface

Mezzanine floors are typically created with high-density particle board, but depending on your needs, it can also be made with steel decking, grating, diamond plate, or even concrete.

  • Particle Board: This type of flooring is typically sufficient for most warehouse mezzanines, as it can be easily painted when needed and is budget-friendly. However, if liquids are being stored, or if the environment is wet, it may be less than ideal.
  • Steel Decking/Grating: A more common flooring material, yet still affordable, steel decks offer enhanced strength, they are moisture-resistant, and provide optimal security.
  • Diamond Plate: A great option if you’re storing heavy loads, these floors are essentially steel decks with a steel tread plate installed on top. Diamond plate floors are one of the most durable options and are slip-resistant.
  • Concrete: Another durable flooring material, concrete is often a permanent solution, offers noise reduction and can still hold heavy loads.

Stairways and Handrails

Whether the mezzanine is open to the public or not, stairways and handrails offer safety and accessibility. And possibly more importantly, there may be code requirements for the mezzanine depending on who will be accessing it.

Budget

Even though a warehouse mezzanine could save you on relocation costs, it is still an investment. There are many factors that go into the cost of the structure, including the size and type of mezzanine, type of flooring, and weight requirements. Generally, mezzanines are a cost-effective way of increasing space within a warehouse and when designed and installed correctly, they could eventually pay for themselves with increased productivity.

Warehouse equipment is essential for an efficient and safe business, whether it’s a mezzanine, pallet racks, or conveyor system. At DAK Equipment, we provide all of the above and more. Our project managers have years of experience and have worked with dozens of warehouses to help increase space and reduce production times. If your warehouse is running low on space, work with an expert at DAK Equipment. Located in Chicago, we offer quality equipment and long-lasting customer relationships throughout the area. Contact our team today for a consultation.

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November 16, 2019

Warehouse Safety Tips

Warehouses are wonderful spaces, helping businesses manage, store, and work with their inventory to complete customer orders. However, warehouses are large, they store products that are heavy and require heavy machinery to move them, they often have storage mezzanines, and a variety of other warehouse equipment. Due to the variety of pieces that make up warehouse storage and the equipment they require, safety is a significant concern for warehouse employees, managers, and business owners.

When a single element of the warehouse isn’t installed correctly, the wrong equipment is used, or certain rules aren’t followed, it can potentially lead to some serious accidents and injuries. At DAK Equipment, we provide a range of material handling equipment and we offer warehouse consultation services to ensure that your warehouse is utilizing certain products and design methods that will ensure the highest level of safety and efficiency. We offer our own proprietary line of distribution center equipment, K3 Werks, as well as a variety of pallet racking systems, industrial conveyor systems, warehouse mezzanines, and more. Whatever your warehouse storage needs are, the team at DAK Equipment can help. Contact us today for a consultation.

How to Keep Your Warehouse Employees Safe

Wear the Right Gear

Whatever the size of your warehouse or whatever is being stored on the racks, wearing the right gear is a must for all employees. Personal protective gear can include safety goggles, hard hats, fire-resistant clothing, steel-toe boots or slip-resistant footwear, earplugs, work gloves, and reflective vests. This gear can protect employees in the event of a product falling from the pallet rack or when handling certain equipment.

Stick to Your Training

A majority of warehouses need to have forklifts to move around heavier items or pallets of products. A certification is required to operate a forklift and takes a few days of classroom learning and hands-on training. If someone were to operate a forklift who did not have the proper certification, it could put that employee at risk, other employees in the area, and your business could also be at risk. Employees should never perform tasks that they are not trained or authorized to do. Rules for forklift safety could fill up a whole other blog, so we’ll come back to that soon.

Follow Proper Lifting Techniques

When an employee needs to lift an item that doesn’t require the use of a forklift, they should be trained on proper lifting techniques. Heavy lifting can cause serious injury when done incorrectly, especially when lifting items over a long period of time. It doesn’t take long to train employees of lifting techniques and can save your business money in the long run.

Pay Attention to Signs and Markings

Just like driving a car on the street, there are certain signs and rules that need to be followed when walking or operating a vehicle in a warehouse. Certain aisles may have a one-way sign, there may be “Do Not Enter” signs, areas where heavy machinery is not allowed, areas where pedestrians are not allowed, or there may be markings on the floors or at the ends of aisles. Every employee should be made aware of these signs and markings and should be expected to follow the rules.

Proper Material Handling & Storage

The main purpose of a warehouse is to store items, but employees often need to move things around. Whether a forklift is being used or not, there are certain rules that will ensure employees and the products themselves will be safe.

  • Stack products straight and even on a shelf.
  • Heavier items should be placed on lower shelves.
  • Move one item at a time to prevent falling.
  • Aisles should be clear of materials and products to prevent trips and falls.
  • Only stack items to a certain height.

Install Proper Lighting

When a warehouse is filled with pallet racks, and those racks are filled with large products, a space can quickly become dark and difficult to navigate. A properly lit warehouse will ensure that employees are able to see clearly what they are doing, what product they are moving, and their surroundings. In addition to aisle lighting, all exit doors, emergency exits, and signs should all have proper lighting.

Work With DAK Equipment

In addition to providing high-quality warehouse equipment systems and storage solutions, we strive to ensure that your warehouse and the employees and products in the space are safe. After decades of experience in the warehouse equipment industry, we know what it takes for a distribution center or storage facility to be successful. With our own K3 Werks line of equipment and a team of warehouse consultation experts, you can be confident that your warehouse will be as efficient and productive as possible. Located in Elmhurst, IL, DAK Equipment wants to help you design, build, and install the equipment you need to meet your goals. Contact our team today for a consultation.

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November 05, 2019

Top 7 Warehouse Design Challenges

Any industry with a warehouse that holds products will run into a variety of warehouse management problems. Some of those problems can have significant repercussions when left unfixed. When warehouse equipment isn’t utilized properly, or at all, or when items sitting on the shelves are difficult to access or even find, it can lead to poor customer service, lost sales, and more. So how can these problems be fixed, or better yet, avoided completely?

The warehouse equipment experts at DAK Equipment provide a variety of solutions to the many warehouse issues that could arise. With the highest quality pallet racks, pick modules, conveyor systems, and dozens of storage solutions, we have the equipment and design knowledge to ensure that your warehouse is as efficient as possible. If any of the problems below sound familiar, don’t hesitate to reach out to the DAK Equipment team for a warehouse design consultation.

 

7 Challenges in Designing & Implementing Warehouse Equipment

Inefficient Warehouse Layout

Depending on the goods your business sells, there may be items that are larger than others, heavier, or just awkwardly shaped. One of the biggest challenges that business owners face when designing and installing warehouse equipment is selecting the right equipment that will make it easier and more efficient to access their products. The first thing a contractor must do is zone an entire space and put special consideration toward what products will be stored in the space and how to organize them in an efficient manner.

  • Increase Maneuverability: When the space is organized efficiently, employees will be able to maneuver safely. Picking a larger product with a forklift requires enough space to move around without hitting, and potentially damaging, other products. There should never be sharp corners or bends and there should be one-way traffic only when necessary in order to prevent accidents and collisions.
  • Easier Access: Heavy items should be stored in an area with extra duty shelving or pallet racks that can safely hold the items. Lighter weight products should also be stored in an area where the items can be accessed easily.
  • Heating and Cooling Needs: If there are products that need refrigeration or other heating and cooling needs, they can be stored separately, increasing the energy-efficiency of the space.

Not Designating an Area For Specific Tasks

Regardless of the industry your business is in, there are most likely several tasks going on at the same time throughout the warehouse. Designing and creating a proper space for each task will help increase safety as well as production. Create a closed room made with prefabricated modular walls for a foreman’s office, breakroom, or management offices. Install industrial lockers to give employees a safe space to put their personal belongings or equipment. If your warehouse holds heavy machinery or high-value electronics, install wire partitions to create a space that can be locked. There are a variety of warehouse equipment solutions to create a space dedicated for specific tasks.

Designing With Safety in Mind

A warehouse is for storage, right? So a business owner simply needs to fit as many items into a certain space as possible, right? Sure, a well-designed warehouse will store products in a space-saving way. However, the space should never be designed without safety as a priority. A warehouse should never have poor quality or cheap pallet racks or pallets that put the wellbeing of the employees at risk. When a warehouse isn’t designed with safety in mind, and when warehouse equipment is used that doesn’t have the right specifications and grades, it will increase the risk of accidents and could decrease employee productivity.

Planning For Future Growth

It’s not always easy or possible to predict how much or how quickly your business will grow, but it’s always a good idea to plan ahead between three and five years when designing a warehouse. Planning ahead will allow you to avoid expanding and restructuring your warehouse when you have outgrown the initial space. You can also plan for temporary storage, work stations, and overstock storage to prevent problems that occur due to growth.

Utilizing the Right Material Handling Equipment in the Right Space

Whether it’s deciding between push back racking and drive-in pallet racking, or between a conveyor system or static shelving, warehouse equipment needs to be chosen and installed with a purpose. When a conveyor system is installed rather than shelving, for example, it can potentially cause employees to waste time waiting for the conveyor, rather than simply going to the shelf and picking the item by hand. If your warehouse isn’t being designed with a purpose, it can lead to a loss of productivity.

Understanding Your Inventory

Having a thorough understanding of your inventory and how quickly or slowly it moves will help dictate how to design the warehouse and what to do with new inventory that is delivered. If a product has already been sold, it doesn’t need to be put in storage when it arrives at your warehouse. If a product turns slowly, there needs to be an efficient storage solution to help your warehouse save space. As you’re selecting warehouse equipment for your storage needs, think about what products will be stored and how the equipment will be used.

The Picking Route

How quickly and efficiently items can be picked, packed, and shipped has a close tie to how productive your warehouse is. When there is an inefficient pick route, it can impact pick rates, supply chain cycle times, and can impact labor costs. Simply designing your facility for horizontal picking rather than vertical, and creating zones for more popular SKUs can increase efficiency and productivity. There is a real strategy and technique behind designing warehouse equipment, and it’s all meant to make employees’ work easier and to help your business save money.

Designing and installing a warehouse is so much more than simply putting up some pallet racks and a conveyor system and calling it a day. In order for your warehouse to be as efficient and productive as possible, it takes forethought and a thorough understanding of what will work best for your specific industry and business.

When you work with DAK Equipment for your warehouse equipment, design, and installation needs, you can be confident that you’re working with a knowledgeable and passionate team. We will begin by completing a needs assessment in order to determine what solutions are best for your business. By offering a variety of material handling racking systems, wire partitions, cantilever racks, conveyor systems, and more, you can experience a more efficient, productive, and safer warehouse. DAK Equipment also has our own proprietary line of high-quality distribution center equipment — K3 Werks. Located in Elmhurst, IL, DAK Equipment is your number one choice for material handling and warehouse equipment needs. Contact us today to get started.

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