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Better Portable Rack Use Calls for Better Training

Friday, July 3, 2009

Proper training prevents damage, misuse of portable rack systems, which can maximize storage density or selectivity and optimize transport

For transport or fluctuating inventory where maximizing storage density or selectivity is important, portable racks are hard to beat. Compared to standard pallet rack, stackable portable racks with removable vertical posts can maximize storage density, maximize selectivity, or a combination of the two, while eliminating the need for wood pallets since the tubular steel base serves as a pallet.

Yet improper installation or use of portable rack systems can lead to a host of problems from rack and product damage, to inefficient material handling and injury. As the down economy prompts some companies to cut corners on training, the risk of these sorts of problems rises. Proper installation and operator training is required to achieve full safety and effectiveness.

"As portable racks become more popular because of their flexibility, it's critical to ensure that operators load and stack them properly, whether the racks have side pressure on the posts or not," says Dawayne Edwards, a sales manager at Steel King Industries, a leading manufacturer of portable rack and material handling systems, based in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. "Since the portable racks are a flexible, stackable system, it takes some know how to avoid stacking them too high, or not high enough, to achieve the safest, most efficient use of warehouse space."

As a resource for proper installation, operation, and maintenance of portable rack systems, proactive warehouse managers are training staff with the help of a free safety "Portable Rack User's Manual." Offered by Steel King (www.steelking.com), the portable rack installation and safety manual highlights best practice procedures, illustrating them with easy-to-understand graphics.

The safety manual offers a number of critical guidelines including:

  • how to lift, move, place, and stack rack, for maximum safety and efficiency
  • what type of floor must be used, and which types may lead to tipping
  • how to match rack capacity with load weight
  • how to match base construction to fork length
  • when "high corner sockets" or heavy gauge corner posts may be required
  • when standard or custom designs are required

A "How to Design Portable Racks" handbook also offers illustrated help on:

  • how to select rack capacity, base decking, and column height
  • how to determine rack size, base design, and base socket size
  • how to determine stacking height and optimum loading patterns

For a free copy of Steel King's safety "Portable Rack User's Manual" with guidelines for proper installation, operation, and maintenance, or a "How to Design Portable Racks" handbook, contact Donald Heemstra at Steel King, 2700 Chamber St., Stevens Point, WI 54481; call 800/826-0203; email: dheemstra@steelking.com or visit the website www.steelking.com.

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