Advance Blog

February 26, 2018
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3 warning signs your racking system is on the verge of collapse

By Peter Johansson, Managing Director of Tellus Systems

Your racking system is integral to your warehouse. You rely on it to safely store your stock items in an organised manner. While this is necessary to operate an efficient warehouse, your racking system is also important for another reason. When it is safely installed and maintained, the chances of a hazardous collapse is unlikely. If a racking system collapses, not only can you lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in damaged stock and the resulting downtime, but you run the risk of serious injury to your personnel. How can you prevent such a disastrous scenario? You first need to recognise some key warning signs that a racking system is failing. Below we look at three of the most recognisable signs:

  1. Bending – how much is okay?

According to physics, nothing in this world is definitively rigid. Skyscrapers and large manmade structures are perfect examples – Baiyoke Tower moves, Impact Arena moves, and even the Egyptian pyramids move. These structures need flexibility built into them to prevent a collapse due to the wind and natural shifts of the Earth’s surface. Racking systems are designed in a similar fashion. They’re built to accommodate the weight of products. So if a rack beam bends a millimetre or two once weight is placed on top of it, the slight bend is completely acceptable. But when a bend begins to appear unnatural or is grossly apparent to the naked eye, we highly recommended replacing the beam or column. For example, when a column exceeds a bend of even 3mm, we recommend calling a rack inspector immediately. There’s a higher potential of a hazardous collapse.

  1. Rack leaning – is it acceptable?

Leaning is a sign a rack wasn’t properly installed. While some rack bending is acceptable, rack leaning is always a problem. Even a slight lean of 1 degree should be investigated immediately.  Does that mean each of your racks must be measured to determine whether or not it’s safe? Not at all. A visual spot check of a rack is good enough. If you can see a lean with your eyes, it’s time to call a rack inspector.

  1. Rust – why a serious problem may go unnoticed

There are a number of small visual cues that indicate a rack should be replaced or repaired. Corrosion is one of the more serious indicators and is a strong indicator of a weakening system. Often, corrosion on a rack exterior is a sign the internal structure has been rusting for months. So how can you determine if a rack’s interior is rusting? Look for blistering on a rack’s external surface. This reveals corrosion is happening inside.

These are just three of several visual cues that signify a rack may fail. However, you may wonder, “Is it possible to prevent rack damage from occurring in the first place? How can I get the longest life out of my rack, without having to replace parts every few months?” We’ll answer that question in next week’s article: How to prevent potential rack damage!

Until then, if you’re concerned that a rack may be exhibiting some of the signs above, get in touch with the experts at Tellus. Our experienced team of site surveyors have been inspecting racks for over three decades. With each site visit, an inspector thoroughly examines each and every one of your racks to ensure they’re in safe working order. Don’t just think your warehouse is safe. Know it is safe. Call us now at +66(0)2643 8044.

Peter Johansson, Managing Director of Tellus Systems
Peter Johansson is the Managing Director of Tellus Systems. Since 2001, Tellus has provided smart storage solutions tailored to their customers’ unique demands. Headquartered in Bangkok, Thailand, Tellus represents multiple global-leading producers of industrial storage equipment, including warehouse racking, material handling automations systems, and other storage solutions.