Imagine your warehouse shelves sagging when your team stacks them with products. Even worse, imagine them collapsing! Not only would you lose the shelving, you run the risk of employee injury, losing valuable product and costing the company lots of money. Be sure your warehouse shelving and fixtures are properly installed and use them only for the product they were designed – nothing heavier. Here are a few tips for proper weight distribution:
Plan ahead- Consider the amount of weight you will need to store when purchasing shelving, rack systems, or other warehouse storage components. How much do your products weigh? How tall or wide are they? How many items will you need to store, and do you project this quantity changing over time or during different times of the year? Knowing your product line will give you a clearer idea of the storage components you should purchase and make it easier to choose storage that meets your weight needs.
When it comes to proper weight distribution, even is everything- Distributing weight evenly across your shelves or storage components is essential to preventing collapses. It is generally best to place heavier items on the sides of your shelves and lighter items toward the middle. When possible, place your heaviest items directly over brackets. No single point of your shelf should be burdened with more weight than other parts of your shelf.
Follow manufacturers’ guidelines- Most shelving and rack manufacturers will provide instructions regarding weight carrying capacities. Use these recommendations as helpful guides when purchasing and loading storage components. However…
It’s always better to be safe than sorry- If you are storing weights that are at the higher end of your manufacturer’s guidelines, go for the one that bears more weight – don’t be afraid to step up in product selection.
You get what you pay for – Look at the quality of the materials that make up the shelving system. Check hardware, anchors, shelf and studs. Poor quality on any of these important parts can be fatal. Cutting corners up front sets you up for trouble in the long run. If you have any doubt that a shelf or rack system cannot support a certain weight, choose a different storage component to store that weight or split the weight among multiple storage components.
Be prepared to repair- With proper care, storage components will generally last years. If you spot an issue, address it immediately to avoid any more significant problems. Think of your car- if your mechanic advised you fix something small now to prevent it from snowballing into something larger, wouldn’t you do so? Minor maintenance now can prevent major repairs down the road.
Maintain low-moisture environments when working with wood- Moisture can dramatically impact how much weight wooden beams can support. When using storage components with wooden beams, be sure to maintain a low-moisture environment to ensure that the beams do not break down prematurely. Though it is often more expensive, consider purchasing plywood or solid wood in favor of composite materials if you plan to store heavier loads or if your warehouse has a humid climate.
More beam levels usually mean more carrying capacity- Pallet racks that contain more beams generally hold higher carrying capacities. Once again, most manufacturers will offer weight carrying capacity guidelines. Be careful with upright frames, because they usually have fewer beam levels and supports, and are not designed for heavy loads.
Floors have their own carrying capacities- Warehouses should bear in mind that floors may not always be able to support very heavy loads, even if pallet racks can. When in doubt, store extra-heavy items on ground levels or split weights between floors or rooms if possible.
Need help assessing your weight storage needs? Everything Warehouse provides warehouse consulting services and design. Our professionals will help you determine how much weight storage capacity you will need as you design your warehouse, then help you to choose from the broad spectrum of storage systems we carry. Give us a call today!