Key Factors to Consider When Purchasing Used Warehouse Equipment

shelving and rack systems

Used warehouse equipment is cost-efficient and can allow small businesses and startups to grow much more rapidly. However, finding used equipment that is in good condition and meets your needs can be a challenge. Although high-quality racking can last for decades, some may wear out early due to damage from forklifts or other pieces of equipment.

Pre-owned warehouse racking and equipment dealers work hard to bring you safe equipment at the best deals possible. When shopping for cost-effective options, remember that saving money isn’t worth it if the resulting purchase won’t do the job.

Partner with a company that specializes in material handling and high-density storage. A specialized company can answer any questions you have about your racking system while helping you navigate the most important factors influencing your purchase.

Equipment Condition

Warehouse storage systems are not indestructible, and even a slight dent can result in catastrophic failure of shelves. Both vertical supports and horizontal beams must be completely free of damage to support their rated loads.

When purchasing used equipment, make sure it is free of any dents, rust, or other damage that could compromise its strength. Warehouse racking companies repair damage when they purchase old equipment to resell, but it’s best to check the quality of their work for yourself.

Choosing the Correct Type

There are many types of warehouse racking, each with slightly different purposes. Three basic kinds are:

  • Push-back racking systems: High-density first-in-last-out systems that use gravity to keep pallets accessible to forklifts.
  • Drive-in racks: Require forklifts to drive into the racking to retrieve pallets that are farther back.
  • Cantilever racks: These racks are as open as possible to allow furniture, lumber, and other irregularly-sized items to be loaded and unloaded safely.

The right racking type for you depends on the size and scale of your operation, as well as the types of goods your warehouse contains.

Width and Height

Many businesses use forklifts and other equipment to move pallets. In order for the machinery to be able to move around safely, pallet racking systems and other shelving need to have aisles that are at least three feet wider than the largest equipment to be used. Failure to meet this requirement could result in penalties from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the event of an accident.

If your warehouse is small, you may struggle to meet this requirement. You can also build taller racking to allow for more aisle space without compromising storage space, but tall racking can become unsafe if it is not properly maintained. Taller racking may be more susceptible to becoming out-of-plumb over time.

Automatic Picking Options

Many businesses are striving toward automating picking and moving of goods. This helps distribution centers accomplish long-term cost savings and reduces accidents. Human error can contribute sharply to warehouse accidents, so reducing reliance on humans can make the workplace safer.

Because automated systems are so popular, they are more difficult to acquire in used condition. However, some used hardware may be available if its previous owner outgrew it or moved facilities.

Software that works with automated picking systems still requires some customization and reprogramming to work with your needs. At the end of the installation process, you can run the system smoothly, even if it has used equipment.

Overall Cost

Used warehouse equipment is always less expensive than new equipment, but some resellers try to charge more than the equipment is worth. Small business owners and startups must be careful to choose the right equipment provider for their needs.

Cheaper options aren’t always necessarily better, especially if that equipment won’t fully meet your business’ needs. Balance your short-term needs and your long-term growth potential. Buying the bare minimum for equipment might result in operational difficulties or even unsafe working conditions as your business grows.

Finding a Balance

Balancing all these factors can be difficult, especially if you’re not sure how fast your business will grow. Consulting with a reputable and experienced used equipment dealer is the best way to assess all your options and make a wise investment in shelving that can last you a long time.

Shelving + Racking, Systems, Inc., is a quality retailer of a wide range of new and used warehouse equipment, from basic racking to automated picking systems. We carefully inspect all used equipment to keep you and your employees safe. Contact us at (800) 589-7225 to learn more about our customized solutions for your business.