As you can imagine, there are several ways to move, stack, carry, store and prep material when deciding upon the correct material handling equipment. This may seem a bit more simplistic than it is but, in general, it takes a lot of consideration when creating the specific product material flow. Additionally, there are a lot of choices when it comes to the equipment used to move material, store it and potentially assemble it.
Material handling equipment can be any apparatus that helps move, store, protect and even control material. The options seem limitless.
Categories of Material Handling Equipment
There are four generalized categories of material handling equipment. The first is wire container. Generally, it consists of the JP wire containers and EU mesh containers.
The next category of material handling equipment is any roll container.
The third category of material handling equipment consists of pallet containers.
The last material handling equipment category refers to storage racking systems.
Determining the Right Container for Material Handling
When companies purchase containers for material handling, they tend to shop based on container type, size and availability. The size of the container depends on required holding capacity and the footprint of shop storage space. This is generally the starting point for many purchasing departments who receive specifications from their shop personnel for container use.
Pallet racks have played an essential role in maximizing storage capacity at warehouses and distribution centers for decades. An important part of industrial pallet racking design is the selection of rack decking, which acts as a base for storing cases or non-palletized items in conjunction with palletized products. By increasing the number of contact points between the product being stored and the storage media, decking reduces the chance of products falling – increasing overall warehouse safety. Naturally, not all decking solutions are created equal. One of the most versatile and popular choices, and the topic of this article, is wire decking.
If you’ve decided wire decking is the best option for your warehouse or distribution center, you still need to decide which options will work best. Below are 4 things to consider when selecting the best wire decking for your application.
1. What are you storing?
The most important factors when selecting wire decking are the weights and overall dimensions of the products that will be stored on it. Unless specifically designed to do so, wire decking is not intended to support the full weight of a pallet (point load) and can warp or collapse under the pressure. This creates a significant safety risk and is one of the most common mistakes we see in the field.
2. How will you be using your wire decking?
Will you be storing full pallets, individual pieces of equipment, or loose cases? Pallet racking can accommodate all the above, but it is important you consider the overall use of decking in your design. One very common use of wire decking is the storage of individual cases. Some companies refer to this as “hand stack”. If this is your intended use, you should consider increasing the density of the wire mesh grid. Standard grid densities are typically 2”x4”, 2.4”x4” or 2.5”x4.5”. When “hand stacking,” consider selecting a grid size of 1”x2” or 1”x4”. There are also design enhancements that can be incorporated into wire decking to help with your specific application. For example, the 90-degree turn at the front and rear edges of the wire deck, called waterfalls, can be configured upwards to help prevent products from sliding off the deck. There are also different accessories like dividers that clip onto the wire deck itself to help with organization. If your intended use is order picking, you could also consider sloping the wire decking to make it easier to access products.
3. In what type of storage media will the wire decking be going?
Are these wire decks for bulk shelving or pallet box? If the answer is pallet racking, is it roll-formed or structural? Manufacturers can differ slightly on the overall dimensions of their beams (horizontal members) and uprights (vertical members), so it’s important to check the sizing to ensure a good fit. Bastian Solutions has many years of experience working with all pallet racking manufacturers and can help in this selection process.
4. In what environment will the wire decking be going?
Is the wire decking going into a freezer or cooler? Will it be stored outside or in a facility where food is present? In most applications, a standard paint finish of backed on or powder coated enamel is fine. However, in environments where moisture or oxidation are concerns, galvanized or stainless steel should be considered.
Another consideration is whether wire deck channels should be inverted or flipped upside down. By inverting the wire decking channel, you can help mitigate the buildup of moisture, dust, dirt and other debris. This practice is commonly found in the food storage industry to promote a cleaner environment.