Bolted is Better - Racking for the Future

There is a bit of confusion in the market these days around the subject of bolted racking. By bolted racking we are referring to racking made from roll formed components that instead of using welds to make the various connections on the frame, nuts and bolts are used.

Since North America did not start producing bolted racking in any significant volume until 2000, the majority of the racking in use is of a welded frame style. Because of this an entire industry has spawned due to the complications involved in repairing welded frames. Today we see brace caps, splice kits, and entire bottom sections of frames being replaced with all sorts of proprietary constructions of structural steel and wizardry. It is a nightmare to document with respect to the engineering and safety of the system, not to mention the cost. Somewhere we lost site of overall long term maintenance costs and chose to apply very expensive band aids.

This subsequent repair industry is one that shouldn’t exist. Any new system being purchased should be made with bolted assemblies to avoid this repair industry down the road. If something is damaged, the part can be disconnected and replaced. These pieces can be kept in inventory and applied as part of your maintenance program, either in-house or out-sourced.

Lastly, lets not forget what has the biggest impact on racking damage; aisle size and beam length. It was the evolution of the reach truck that gave us narrow aisles and shorter beams in the first place. But we went too far. The wider the aisle or longer the beam will make it much easier to actually place the pallet and reduce impacts (think of parking spaces at a Costco, its the same principle). Of course there is a happy median between space costs and this ease of pallet placement but error on the side of bigger is better.