It’s a question we get often from people new to pallet racking. A customer has existing racking and is looking to expand or re-design their layout. They need to purchase more and are wondering if it is possible to use a different type or manufacturer from their existing product. In cases such as this, we recommend that you DO NOT try to mix materials – whether it be uprights, beams, or other components – that may be similar in style or look.
Here are four of the top reasons you should not mix different manufacturers into your pallet rack layout.
Warranties are almost always voided when using two different manufacturers. When original or updated engineering documenting is available, the replacement of damaged components with identical parts from the original manufacturer is an approved method to address the need. This is dependent on if they meet the original manufacturer’s capacity requirements.
Component capacities are void in a mixed materials situation because each manufacturer’s capacities are based on using their material as a system, not just components. A manufacturer cannot predict how their material will work in another manufacturer’s system. Nearly every installation has been engineered specifically for a unique storage application and job site condition, and with mixing materials, the risk of a collapse is much higher due to improper capacity and connection.
Some material simply does not fit in another manufacturer’s system. An example is frame extensions which are only made to fit the specific manufacturer. Column dimensions and gauge prohibit these from being used in a different system.
Another factor is frames designed for seismic zones. Frames that are designed for seismic areas may have different foot plates, different from the typical, non-seismic design. Replacement frames that are not seismic-designed may need additional shims and may be unable to anchor or secure to the floor.
Manufacturing length tolerances are slightly different for each manufacturer. Even though each manufacturer has a 96” beam, the lengths could be slightly different. If your customer is trying to mix beams from two different manufacturers in the same bay, the slight difference in length may result in the beams not fitting in the bay.
Along with an incompatible fit, the locking pins are typically different from manufacturer to manufacturer. This could cause a safety hazard as a result of the beams not being able to lock in place. If two different manufacturers must be used for similar materials such as teardrop pallet rack, it is recommended to use all the same manufacturer’s material in one bay. This could mean consolidating existing material and using new material for add on bays.
BONUS REASON: Permitting
State, county, and city guidelines and permits can vary to a wide degree. Certain engineering standards and codes typically need to be met with pallet racking and storage. If you mix materials, you may be violating your local building code, resulting in an even bigger headache should a failure occur.
As always, our goal at WPRP is to help you! Please contact us at (888) 578-1579 with any questions or inquiries.