Reinforced Racks

May 30, 2007
Forklift damage accounts for 90% of rack failures. Reinforced pallet storage racks provide long-term rugged protection against such damage. With the costs

Forklift damage accounts for 90% of rack failures. Reinforced pallet storage racks provide long-term rugged protection against such damage.

With the costs of warehouse storage space on the rise, including both the actual floor square footage and the pallet rack inside the facility, a company certainly doesn't need any additional unplanned costs to maintain their warehouse.

One such cost is for replacing forklift-damaged racks. This is even worse when the damage is to open-column, bolt-together storage racks that are supposed to withstand such abuse.

Now, however, there is a rack that -- though already 2-1/2 times more impact resistant than the typical, open-back column -- has doubled in strength, making the vast majority of forklift damage a thing of the past.

"Wherever there is a lot of damage to uprights, it's usually occurring because the fork truck drivers are using the uprights as guides," says Kurt Larson, Central Regional Sales Manager for Steel King, Inc. "They're bumping the uprights on the front or the sides, coming around corners, and bumping into the lower portion of the frame."

Larson has encountered installations in which they have tried to solve these problems and make bolt-together racks more rigid by placing 2 open columns back-to-back, with a 3" column in the front and a 1 5/8" column welded behind it. The problem is the hollow area inside the columns, which can result in the upright being bent inward if hit with forks. A fork can also catch the upright in such a way as to pull it outward and separate it from the floor. Needless to say, this is a dangerous situation that could result in a pallet storage rack collapse.

A far more rigid installation is Steel King's SK2000 tubular boltless pallet rack--the benchmark system in the storage market--reinforced with a C-shaped column insert called the Column Core. The SK2000, which is fully welded and not bolted together, is already 2 ½ times more impact resistant than its competition. With the Column Core reinforcement added it becomes a full 5 times more impact resistant at the front corners and sides where the uprights are most vulnerable.

"The problem with the open-column, bolt-together rack is that in the short term you save money, but in the long term you'll have to keep replacing parts of it or the whole rack." Larson says. "With an SK2000 re-enforced with Column Core, you'll almost never have to replace it."

Larson knows of what he speaks. In visiting a client a short time ago, he found that the client had installed open-column, bolt-together racks and was paying $4,000 to $8,000 per month in rack repair. "The guy that came in to run the warehouse took one look and said, 'we're done with this,'" Larson relates. "He ended up installing the SK2000 pallet racking with Column Core in the front uprights, and has had no more problems."

Because most fork truck damage is in the lower 48 inches of pallet rack uprights, that is where the Column Core is usually installed and where it will provide the most benefit. However Column Core is sold in standard heights from 6 to 96 inches, in 6-inch increments, and custom heights are available upon request.

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