New or Used Racking Systems – Things to Ponder

New or Used Racking Systems – Things to Ponder

Businesses are always looking for areas in which to save money and for those who manage a warehouse operation, the question of whether to buy new or used racking systems is always on the agenda. Businesses stand to save big money by acquiring second-hand storage solutions but are these initial savings worth it in the long term?

Looks Can Be Deceiving

Like a used car, a second-hand storage rack may appear to be in good condition from the outside, but unless you have a chance to delve beneath the surface and discover the history of product, it’s very difficult to establish if it’s suitable – and more importantly, safe to purchase and reuse for your own purposes. As an interested buyer, you would need evidence that inspections were conducted on a regular basis by a certified industry professional and that all repairs were carried as required. 

When buying used racking systems, everything is judged on face value. Without an expert analysis of the components, it’s impossible to determine the strength of the racking in its existing condition. Without this knowledge, you’re simply buying the product based on its original specifications, which may be a far cry from what the system is capable of now. Structural deterioration occurs as the result of a number of factors, including overloading, being subjected to long periods in frigid conditions or high temperatures (fire).

Dangers to Personnel

Another problem facing buyers of second-hand warehouse equipment is improper labelling. Whether it is accidental or in the case of more disreputable sellers – deliberate, the storage system may be advertised with false specifications, which could have dire consequences for warehouse personnel. For example, a pallet rack rated with a maximum load capacity of 1000 kg may only be able to support half this weight. A forklift operator carrying a load of close to 1000 kg, completely unaware of the dubious markings would place the items onto the rack, only to see the structure either partially fail or collapse altogether.

Repairs and maintenance can greatly affect the performance of racking systems. If original parts have been replaced with ones of inferior quality or have been poorly reconstructed, it will impact on the load-bearing capacity and longevity of the rack, once again placing workers at heightened risk of injury. If injuries or fatalities are found to have resulted from equipment that has dubious safety qualities, company heads will be held accountable in most instances and will face serious consequences, including criminal charges.

Not Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts

Often when sourcing used storage systems, they’re an amalgam of different brands which typically voids the warranty of the individual parts, as they’re designed to be used in conjunction with their branded parts only. Whilst racking systems are heavy-duty equipment, able to support considerable loads, they are susceptible to damage if carelessly disassembled and can also be damaged during transport if the parts haven’t been packaged or secured correctly.

When the rack system is reassembled, it’s imperative that it is done so using professional warehouse storage system installers who possess the necessary certifications to do so, and they must have access to all original instructions and documentation to ensure that they can assemble the equipment to recommended specifications.

A requirement by health and safety law issued under most jurisdictions throughout the world is the attachment of a safe working load sign or similar, which clearly indicates the load capacity. Where second-hand racking systems are concerned, it’s difficult for any principled company to provide such signage with any reasonable degree of accuracy, unless they have up-to-date assessment results that have been carried out by industry professionals or have had their own inspections and evaluation of the equipment conducted by qualified personnel.

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