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February 07, 2019

Your Pallet Racks Are In…Now What?

Whether you’re putting new pallet racks into an old warehouse, used pallet racks into a  new house, or any combination thereof, getting them professionally installed is an exciting day. It’s probably the only time they’ll be completely empty for years, and they hold so much potential in making your warehouse a more efficient place to work. Now it’s time to fill them up and get down to business!

But once they’re in, you can’t just think that they’re never going to need some maintenance. Yes, they might be huge pieces of metal that can handle tens of thousands of pounds, but they’re also susceptible to damage. Forklift damage, imperceptible earthquakes, and overloading can all take a toll on your pallet rack system, so it’s vitally important that you keep and eye on them for the sake of your employees and your inventory.

Know (and Follow) The Weight Capacity

When you have your pallet rack system installed, you don’t want to ignore all of the information you’ll be given on it. The installation experts will give you paperwork that tells you, among other things, how much weight you should put on it and how you should load each rack.

One of the most common ways that pallet racks are damaged is that they become overloaded. They might be made of incredibly strong steel, but even steel has its breaking point. Be aware of the weight limits, and make sure to pass that information to anyone who might be putting a load on them.

Check the Braces

When you do a visual inspection of you industrial pallet racks, be sure to check the braces for signs of warping. If a pallet rack is overloaded or if isn’t loaded evenly, it might start to buckle and shift to one side. That’s why you should always…

Have a Bubble Level On Hand

As a warehouse manager, it’s your responsibility to keep your pallet racks in the best possible condition. It’s also up to you to make sure that they’re not in any danger of collapse anytime soon. And eyeballing it isn’t enough.

A $10 level is all you need to put your mind at ease that the rack that looks like it might be leaning is actually okay. Inventory on the racking can cause optical illusions, making plumb pallet racks look unlevel and unlevel pallet racks look plumb. Just doing a periodic check with a bubble level can let you know if your eyes are playing tricks on you.

Look For Upright Damage

Yes, we know that you have a policy saying that absolutely every contact between forklifts and the pallet rack system has to be reported. You might have told forklift operators that they won’t get in trouble if they report it happening, or you might have threatened them with firing if they don’t. Maybe you have a no-questions-asked, completely-confidential policy.

They’re still not going to tell you every time.

No employee wants to admit they messed up, so while they might tell you about the first and second time they hit the pallet racks with the forklift this year, they’re not going to tell you about the third and fourth times they did so. They don’t want to be the one to get fired when review time comes around, so they’ll just drive away and hope no one finds out.

So, whether you hear about hits or not, you’ve got to go looking for them, especially on upright columns. While damage to horizontal shelving might not cause the whole thing to come down, damage to uprights might.

Be Aware Of Rust and Discoloration

If you’ve purchased new pallet racks, it’s unlikely that you’ll have to worry about rust for a very long time. But it’s still important to look for rust, because that means that something might be wrong with the warehouse itself. If you find rust, it’s likely that the warehouse has a leak and that you should do something about it. Not only will you be protecting the warehouse itself, but also the pallet rack and your inventory.

Make Sure Others Look For Damage

Once you know what you’re looking for, take a bit of time and have some training with your employees. No matter the size of your warehouse, you probably don’t want to be the only one to have their eyes looking for damage. The more people you have looking for damage to a pallet rack system, the greater chance a problem will be found.

You might even want to consider putting some reward system in place to encourage employees to report damage. A $50 gift card here and there could prevent tens of thousands of dollars in damage.

Get Regular Pallet Rack Inspection

A homeowner should keep an eye on the condition of their roof, but it’s always a good idea for them to have a professional get up there and inspect it up close every so often.

It’s the same with pallet racks. While you might do a good job at giving them a visual inspection, it’s very important for you to use a pallet rack inspection service in the Chicago area to come in and do a much more thorough inspection. Doing so protects your employees, and if something goes wrong then you can at least show OSHA that you had them inspected recently.

DAK Can Help!

At DAK Equipment and Engineering, we can handle it all. We’ll be your warehouse layout optimization experts, sell you the pallet racks, be your pallet rack installers, and perform the inspection on them for years to come. Just click here to learn more about our pallet rack preventive maintenance program. We’ll help keep you pallet racks in the best condition possible.

 

 

 

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October 24, 2017

New Addition to the K3 Werks Safety Products

K3 Werks Brute

We’re happy to announce that DAK Equipment is now stocking the strongest corner protector on the market. Designed in-house, the K3 Brute will protect all the vulnerable corners in a facility from lift truck impacts. Building corners, dock door guides, rack end-of-row corners and more can all benefit from this rugged safety product.

We’ll be honest with you.  The picture doesn’t do it justice.  Two feet high, made from half-inch thick steel, weighing in at 115 pounds, and fastened down with six concrete anchors this thing is literally a brute designed to take heavy impacts and shrug them off.

Because it’s very helpful with new products like this, we’re including the design drawing below to answer most of the questions you may have about the K3 Brute.  Remember that six 3/4″ diameter concrete wedge anchors (DAK Part # CWA-750X550) are needed and are not included.

K3 Brute Design

If you have any questions about the K3 Brute or any of the other products we stock for you, just get in touch.

 

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August 07, 2017

Warehouse Permitting: What You Need to Know

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Avoiding Delays in Your Warehouse Build-out

paperworkIf you’ve participated in designing and building out a new warehouse or distribution center or even simply made an addition to an existing facility lately, you’ve learned that municipalities have increased the permitting requirements over the last several years.

Understanding what’s needed and staying on top if it can make all the difference between meeting your project’s completion date and a month or more of delays, redesigns and other problems. Below you’ll find what I and the other DAK project managers have learned about working with municipalities to complete the permitting portion of material handling projects.

First and foremost, you need to understand what’s required by the municipality so start as early as possible. The cost and level of cooperation you get from the local government will vary wildly depending on your location. For example, some communities are remarkably helpful while others drag their feet and throw up roadblocks.

Below are some bullet points on things to do to get started.

 

  • Start Early! Yes, it really is that important.
  • Visit the Community Website. You can often find helpful information on permitting requirements by digging around a little. If nothing else, you will probably find a point-of-contact or email address that may help. If all that fails, the chamber of commerce can probably point you in the right direction.
  • Fire Safety is Always the Biggest Concern. Be ready to provide detailed info on sprinkler systems and how high your storage will be, egress paths and signage, and how everything fits together. Be aware that fire department inspectors are almost always big fans of wire decking in your storage bays. If a high pile permit is also required, it may need to be obtained through a different process before a building permit is issued.
  • drawingBe Ready to Provide Drawings. CAD drawings of your system are almost certainly going to required but again, what will be asked for will vary by location. Some are happy with partial drawings, others want full, and some require seals and stamps from an engineer.
  • Get Your Contractors Involved. Obviously if you’re having the facility built a whole other layer of permitting is involved but you need to be sure that your material handling systems provider can produce what’s needed for their part of the project as well. This is particularly important if your distribution center is in a seismic zone.
  • Ask About a Temporary Permit. Plan ahead for something to go not quite right with scheduling the build-out versus receiving the full permit and find out if a temporary permit is a possibility. It could buy you the breathing room you need to hit your targets.

These six points only cover the big items for getting ready for permitting. Along with many other things, a municipality may want details down to the kind of welds used to connect the endplates on the beams or the elevations on the individual bays. Food storage facilities open up a whole other slew of requirements.

As you can see from the above, the permitting aspect can make or break your warehousing project. The project managers at DAK have years of experience handling material handling permits for our customers–It’s just part of the service we provide to meet your business needs. After all, your success becomes our success as well.

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