Eye Catcher Innovations highlight the importance of Protect-it rack protection system to protect pallet racking from forklift impacts. In a Protect-it rack protection system presentation in a warehouse in Toronto by Eye Catcher Innovation team, a customer put the Protect-it rack system on a frame on the steel guards mounted on the floor.
The customer came back with a 15 pound sledge hammer and hit the Protect-it rack system with full force and the hammer bounced out of his hands. There was no damage to the Protect-it rack system or the column and an hour later the customer ordered Protect-it for his warehouse.
The conventional argument by racking manufacturers is that steel is best, but the technical argument does not support this when one considers performance, purchase cost, installation cost and replacement cost and ease of rack inspection. A well designed plastic protector is far superior and more economical option than a steel guard.
Metal: Steel guards do not absorb impact. It transfers impact by permanently deforming at the weakest point until it damages either the bolts which attach it to the floor, the concrete floor to which it is attached or even worse to the rack itself. Impacts can occur when a pallet is being placed into a bay or when a pallet is being withdrawn from a bay, and it is during withdrawal that steel guards are most vulnerable to damage. When damage occurs, the result can be costly.
Plastic: Plastic guards absorb impacts. Under light to moderate impacts a plastic guards will deform to resist the impact and then return to its original shape. Under higher impacts a plastic guard will deflect even more, delivering increased impact absorption. It may not fully return to its original shape, but it still retains its protective function. This staged response makes plastic protectors flexible enough to accommodate everyday knocks and bumps yet robust enough to withstand substantial forklift impacts.
In some cases of severe impact, the plastic protectors will be destroyed and need to be replaced. This is exactly what plastic protectors are designed to do. Importantly, there is no damage to the column. If replacement of the plastic protector is needed then the cost of replacement is much lower that the cost of replacing a steel guard and much lower than replacing an entire column. Then there are the commercial reasons for buying plastics protectors. Initial purchase cost of plastic is similar to steel guards, installation cost is much less than steel and replacement of damaged plastic guards is much less than steel.
When purchasing a rack protector, customers need to ask for a copy of an independent test report. Rack protection must comply with Occupation Health and Safety Laws within the country. Eye Catcher Innovations offer three simple rules for customers to follow, while buying a racking system.
Protect the pallet racking from forklift impacts with a protection device that complies with a recognized Standard. If customers do not have pallet rack guarding, then they are most likely in breach of both local Occupation Heath and Safety Laws, and the standards in the country.
All pallet racking columns that are vulnerable to a forklift impact are required to be protected. If customers do have pallet rack guarding, their equipment still may not comply and they could be in breach of both local Occupation Heath and Safety Laws, and the standards in the country.
Regularly check the pallet racking for damage and keep records of inspections. It is very important to undertake regular inspections for damage to ensure that the racking system is safe. Local standards will provide information to determine whether the damage is within acceptable safety limits. The easier it is to undertake inspections, the faster it can be done and the lower the cost. Plastic protectors are much easier to remove and replace than steel, making inspections much easier.
Maintain, repair or replace damaged pallet racking and safety equipment including rack protectors. Standards may vary from country to country, so please check your local standards.
FEM 10.2.02 section 2.6 (Europe): Impact damage caused by fork-lift trucks or other moving equipment against rack uprights shall be avoided by appropriate safety measures.
The minimum requirements are as follows:
- An upright protector with a height of no less than 400mm should be positioned at the end of each rack
- The upright protector must be designed to absorb an energy of at least 400Nm in any vulnerable direction at any height between 100mm and 400mm
- The upright shall be positioned in a way that after its deformation by absorbing an impact, the upright will not be damaged