The effects of damaged warehouse racks

Despite warehouse storage racking being designed and installed to have a long life with minimal maintenance, they can be damaged as the result of various factors. This damage often goes unnoticed and could result in disastrous failure and load collapse.

Warehouse racking failure can result in the loss of product inventory, lost income due to business interruption, unnecessary cost of cleaning up and replacing the warehouse racking, possible litigation but more importantly can lead to injures and even deaths. Therefore, damaged warehouse racking needs to be identified at an early stage to ensure preventative measures are put in place.

Repair or replace?

There are several factors when considering whether to repair or replace damaged warehouse racking:

The key consideration – Is the damage substantial enough that a repair isn’t practical or cost-effective. Additional factors to keep in mind include the age of the racking, its current condition, and the expected remaining life cycle.

Benefits of repairing damaged warehouse racking

  • It is cost effective.
  • It is a faster solution as you don’t need to wait for replacement Uprights.
  • There is minimal workflow disruption because it’s faster to repair than replace.
  • Repairs can take place without unloading or dismantling the racking.

Choosing to replace rather than repair

  • Extensive damage resulting in material cracks or fractures on an upright and cannot be repaired.
  • The racking system is outdated or near the end of its life cycle.

A comprehensive inspection is the first step in deciding whether to repair or replace.

Warehouse racking systems

Warehouse racking systems are high-performance structures engineered to support product loads that can sometimes be up to 100 times the weight of the racking structure itself. Each component in the warehouse racking system is designed, manufactured, and tested to ensure endurance and strength.

Warehouse racking components

These are the main warehouse racking components, and all are prone to failure when damaged.

  • Vertical uprights support the majority of the weight and can buckle.
  • Horizontal beams are where heavy, loaded pallets are placed and they can fail through horizontal deformation.
  • Diagonal bracing keeps the vertical uprights and horizontal beams aligned and may bend with impact.
  • Baseplates are evenly spread load points on the floor and may not be correctly anchored mechanically, causing the racking floor base to move or rotate and thus deforms the upright.

Identifying damaged warehouse racking

Although damaged warehouse racking is easily identifiable, often workers don’t notice the damaged areas, or they do not report incidences. As a result, regular and thorough inspections are necessary.

How to identify damaged racking components:

General appearance: Is the racking level and/or twisted and/or Plumb? Poor alignment is a clear indicator of damaged warehouse racking or an indicator of poor installation practices.

The impact from material handling equipment like forklifts and reach trucks are usually noticeable by paint scrapes and vertical upright/frame dents.

Bent or buckled vertical uprights – It only takes a slight bend to reduce a vertical upright’s ability to withstand heavy loads.

Deflected or sagging horizontal beams – Obvious sagging or bowing is a serious problem and indicates that the horizontal beam is or has been overloaded.

Misaligned or bent diagonal or horizontal braces.

Rust spots and paint blisters are clear signs of deterioration of components. Once metal corrosion becomes visible the corroded racking components need to be replaced.

Horizontal beam connectors should be closely examined and any loose or bent connectors need to be immediately replaced.

Unhooked horizontal beams need to re-hooked if not damaged.

Causes of damaged warehouse racking

Damaged warehouse racking is almost always caused by human error. Examples of the damage that might occur include:

Forklift or reach truck impact are the leading cause of damaged warehouse racking. Operators may not be forthright in reporting impacts.

Overloading rack systems above the manufacturer’s maximum design load is estimated to be the second most common cause of rack damage.

Changing the manufacturer design as the warehouse grows to accommodate expansion. As a result, safe heights and spans are exceeded, the stresses on the racking may become excessive.

Repairing damaged warehouse racking with minimal cost and effort

The ROS International SA rack repair system is a patented repair system. It enables warehouses to repair damaged racking, rather than replace it at a fraction of the cost. Damaged warehouse racking can be returned to their original state without the need to be unloaded or dismantled the racking. As a result, the carrying capacity is restored to its original specification.

Contact ROS International SA today to find out how you can save both money and time when you repair damaged warehouse racking.