Custom Steel Shipping Racks

June 14, 2006
Steel custom shipping racks do away with damage and the enormous amount of waste associated with shipping of odd-sized manufacturing parts.June 14, 2006

Steel custom shipping racks do away with damage and the enormous amount of waste associated with shipping of odd-sized manufacturing parts.

June 14, 2006 -- For years, automotive parts were shipped in either corrugated or wood containers, custom-made for the task. Inside the containers, they were packed in paper or plastic-based material for protection. The problems were multiple: First, the containers and packing materials were not adequate to the task and goods were often damaged. Second, and perhaps most importantly, tons of waste were created because these containers, and the packing materials, were simply discarded once the parts reached the assembly plants and were unpacked. Custom steel shipping racks are now solving this problem for many manufacturers.

Bernard Vercillo, Certified Packaging Professional (CPP), is the Senior Packaging Engineer at Volvo’s North American Manufacturing Engineering (NAME) group. This division of Volvo is involved with the assembly of Class 8 heavy-duty trucks at three different assembly plants in North America. This includes both highway trucks (over the road long-haul and day-cab tractor trailers) and vocational trucks (cement mixers, dump trucks, refuse trucks, and other specialty vehicles).

Vercillo recalls the problems he was having prior to using steel custom shipping racks. “We were using a lot of wood and cardboard boxes, and it was damaging parts because these boxes required stacking and they weren’t holding up.”

Thirteen years ago, Vercillo discovered a company called Steel King which custom manufactures steel shipping racks, based directly on the material they will contain and the space requirements of the customer. Since that time, Steel King has customized some 40 different lines of racks for Volvo’s NAME group and has become the principal supplier for them.

“With these racks, we experienced far less damage with our glass components, fiberglass components, metal components, and painted parts, as well as critical parts such as hoods, instrument panels, exterior mirrors, bumpers, interior trim, cooling modules, engines, grilles, eyebrows and electrical parts,” Vercillo says. These parts include virtually every part that becomes a Volvo or Mack Truck you see on the highway or on a construction site.

The racks must be efficient everywhere they are used, and are designed for such. “Steel King regularly works with us to design specific shipping racks,” Vercillo continues. “The key is to optimize transportation for the various parts as well as fit in our workstations. The rack design starts at the point of use, and works backward to the supplier. Our ultimate goal is to have the least amount of work for our indirect and direct labor throughout the supplier chain.” Optimization of inventory floor space and shipping trailers is also key.

These racks can also be easily broken down flat when empty, and many are designed so that when flattened 3 of them will take up the space normally occupied by 1 full rack. They are then quickly set up again when they reach the beginning of the line.

Besides the automotive industry, these shipping racks are in used in many other types of manufacturing industries including windows and doors, glass, and even currency containers for the United States Federal Reserve Banks.

Custom steel shipping racks solve the most crucial problems associated with shipping manufactured parts: Parts are securely protected from potential damage, and the enormous amount of packaging waste which used to end up as only landfill is completely eliminated.

For more information contact Donald Heemstra at Steel King, 2700 Chamber St., Stevens Point, WI 54481 or call at 1-800-826-0203, visit the website at