Mezzanine Doubles Your Storage Space – Part II

If you are planning for a small parts storage mezzanine in the future, here are a few easy and low cost steps you can take now to minimize the extra costs and impact to your operations in the future.

Shelving and rack supported mezzanines are often installed in two phases. The lower level is installed first, with the anticipation of expanding upward to a second level as storage, order picking, or manufacturing needs grow. It is very important to design your shelving or rack layout initially with the future mezzanine capability in mind. You can avoid major safety concerns and extra installation costs if this is done correctly in the beginning. Most of these concerns will apply to both the deck-over and the shelving-up-through options

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The first consideration is capacity. A shelving or rack system may be adequate for a single level system, but when a second level of storage is added, the upright post or frame capacities may not be sufficient to support the load on the second level. This can be addressed in two ways. First, ensure that the posts or uprights you install on the lower level, and the factory recommended sway bracing, will be adequate for the capacities you need when the second level is added. Second, the spaces between the rack or shelf levels will affect the capacity of the uprights: the closer the shelf spacing, the higher the capacity of the uprights up to their maximum capacity. So, ensure that shelf spacing used on the lower levels is close enough to guarantee the required capacity, or, plan to add these extra shelf levels when the upper level mezzanine is added in the future.

The next concern comes extending the upright posts or frames to accommodate the second level. The second level posts are usually joined to the lower level posts with a factory approved splice kit. So, if you installed 7’ high shelving, you will have to remove the top shelf, install the splice and effectively reduce your storage capacity on the lower level. To avoid this situation, you can install higher posts than you need during the initial lower level installation. Then, when the time comes to install the second level, there is free post extending beyond your top shelf where the splice can be installed. The second floor can then be installed below the splice without affecting any of the existing shelves on the lower level. This option can be used with bulk rack, shelving or rivet rack applications.

The last two problems you can avoid with a little planning are: floor anchoring and aisle spacing. Shelving supported mezzanines require the lower level posts to be fastened to the floor. This is very difficult to do after the shelving has been installed, usually requiring the emptying and removal of all the lower shelves to get access to the post bases. (Hopefully, those posts have floor shoes already installed to accept the floor anchors.) Then those lower shelves are re-installed and reloaded. This represents a significant investment in time and money. So, for a small additional cost per unit, you can install floor anchors in all the shelving units on the lower level in the first installation and avoid the higher cost later.

The last recommendation is to install row ties at the top of all the shelving units on the lower level. Over time, usage from loading & unloading and the occasional ‘bump’ from a cart or truck may cause shelving rows to become misaligned or to get out of vertical. Installing row ties ensures that all the rows are straight and none of the individual units are out of alignment. It also maintains a consistent spacing between the shelving units. Then, the flooring for the second level can be sized to easily fit in each row and no expensive custom cutting or fitting will be required during the installation process.

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So, if a mezzanine is in your future, take these few simple and inexpensive steps now to ensure a smooth and cost efficient transition to a two-level storage system in the future.

Innovo Storage Systems 1 Goldsmith St, Johnston, RI 02919 (401) 383-0883

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Mezzanine Doubles Your Storage Space – Part I

Mezzanine (Multi-Level) Storage Systems can be an effective way to utilize all the available vertical space in your building. However, even if you don’t need one now, a little evaluation, planning, and a small expense up front, can save you time & money in the future. First, we will discuss the most common type of mezzanine support structure used for small parts storage: a Shelving Supported Mezzanine. Then, in our next post, we examine how to effectively plan for a mezzanine in the future.

Shelving supported mezzanines use standard steel shelving or bulk storage racking to support the second level. The rack or shelving can stop at the deck height to provide a clear, open second floor, often called a ‘deck-over’ system, or continue up through the floor level, to provide storage units on the second level, mirroring the layout on the first floor (see photo below). In the latter case, only the aisles will have the floor decking. Recommended sway bracing and shelf spacing are required in the units on the lower level for strength and stability. So, the lower level is always used for parts or smaller carton storage. Railings will be required on the mezzanine, around stairways, open areas and at the ends of aisles on the upper level.

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Why would you want to think about a mezzanine before you need one? The answer (as it often is in the business world) is Money! Installing a mezzanine in an existing facility with on-going manufacturing, order picking and storage operations is time consuming, possibly dangerous, and definitely more costly.

So, if you are planning for a mezzanine in the future, there are a few easy and low cost steps you can take now to minimize the extra costs and impact to your operations in the future. Check our next posting for everything you need to know, before you start building on the ground floor!

Innovo Storage Systems 1 Goldsmith St, Johnston, RI 02919 (401) 383-0883

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Inspect Your Storage Equipment Yearly

The New Year is a good time to resolve to have a safe & efficient storage area. One aspect of safety in your facility is equipment inspections. It is important for you to inspect your storage shelving and racks every year for damage. Even minor damage to uprights or shelves can seriously weaken their storage capacity.

The easiest way to conduct an inspection is to have a form with all your bin or rack locations printed on it. Then you can walk your stockroom or warehouse and note any damage by location code.

 Storage Rack & Shelving Inspections should include the following items:

Plumb & Level:  All rack stability depends on the rack uprights being installed in a true vertical position and the cross beams & shelves being level. Note any evidence of racks being crooked, out of alignment in the row, or leaning from vertical in any direction. Typical allowance would be 1/2″ in 10′ of height. You may need to install or repair sway bracing on those units that are more than 1/2″ out of plumb.

Rust & Corrosion:  Note any areas of rust, flaking paint, or corrosion on the rack uprights or beams. This may indicate a weakening of the metal in that area. Be extra careful with inspections in damp areas or where flooding has occurred, or where freezers or coolers create a chance for condensation.

Upright Column Damage:  Check horizontal and diagonal braces for bending or damage. Check footplates and floor lags for secure attachment to floor. Note any upright posts that are twisted, dented, punctured, or buckled. Damage to the upright column can significantly reduce the capacity of that entire section of racking. Damaged uprights should be repaired or replaced immediately.

Overloaded Beams & Shelves:  This can be a difficult issue. Most storage shelving and racks are not marked with capacities for the uprights, beams or shelves. This can lead to overloading as your product mix changes or racks are reassigned for use in a different application. If you are not sure of the capacity of your shelving or racks, contact your supplier or the manufacturer for the specifications for you equipment.

Note any shelves that are deflecting (bowing) in the center or have a permanent kink in the front edge of the shelf. If the shelf does not return to a straight and level condition after unloading the shelf, it should be replaced or reinforced with angle iron.

Check the beams in every rack section for deflection. The deflection should not be more than 1/180 of the length of the beam. That is about 1/2” deflection for an 8’ long beam at the maximum load. In addition, the beam should return to a straight condition with no deflection when the load is removed. If it does not return to level, then the beam has been permanently deflected by previous overloading and should be replaced.

Inspect the beam connections where they attach to the upright frame. Note any impact damage to the face of the beam, cracked or broken welds on the beam clip, or distortion or damage to the holes in the upright frame where the beam attaches. Replace any damaged components.

Missing Safety Pins, Clips or Bolts:  Shelving and Racks use a wide variety of connection methods. Some shelves and beams bolt in place, some clip into the upright, some have the beams attached to a clip that hooks into the upright and some use a combination of clips and bolts. You should know the recommended attachment method for your brand or brands of storage shelving and rack. Ensure that all beams are securely fastened into the upright.

On bulk racking, in addition to the main beam attachment, there should be a safety pin, clip or bolt that prevents the beam from being accidentally dislodged from its connection to the upright frame. Note any missing nuts or bolts on rack connections and check to be sure all nuts and bolts are securely fastened. Note any beams where the safety pin or clip is missing or damaged. Missing or damaged hardware should be replaced immediately.

In addition to the items listed above for regular inspection, there are some general safety measures that can be employed to supplement the regular inspections and increase overall safety in your facility.

General Safety Procedures to be implemented along with regular inspections.

Employee Awareness:  All employees working with and around the storage equipment should be made aware of the potential problems listed above and notify their supervisor if they discover an unsafe condition.

Posted Capacities:  Post the shelf capacities for all areas in your system. This will help avoid overloading the shelf levels. Post the upright frame capacity for the rack system. The total of all the shelf capacities in a section should not exceed the rated capacity of the upright frame. Be advised that the total upright post or frame capacity is not a fixed number and varies with the spacing of the shelf levels. Upright capacity decreases as the vertical space between the shelf levels increases. In other words, the closer your shelf levels, the closer you get to the maximum capacity of the upright frame; the greater the space between your beam levels, the more the upright frame capacity is reduced from the maximum capacity.

Call us or email if you have any questions about Rousseau shelving and bulk racking.

Innovo Storage Systems 1 Goldsmith St, Johnston, RI 02919

Call (401) 383-0883 or email: support@innovostorage.com

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