Used Pallet Racking: Is it Worth the Risk?

If you’re shopping for pallet racking for a warehousing facility, you may have considered buying a used rack instead of ordering new ones. Although they are usually less expensive, it is reasonable to wonder whether used pallet racks are safe to use.

Before deciding whether to purchase new or used warehouse racking, it is essential to be aware of the potential hidden costs, legal requirements, and other limitations that may come with buying used.

When to Buy New

There are three main reasons why buying new, high-quality products may make more sense than purchasing used pallet racks: laws and regulations, warehouse safety concerns, and tailoring your space to your needs.

Laws and regulations

Building codes and legislation change frequently, and racking that met the regulations in the past may not necessarily meet them today. If you buy used pallet racking, you take the risk of buying products that may not be legal to use.

Another legal concern is meeting seismic regulations. If your warehouse is located in a high seismic hazard area, your racking systems must meet seismic code and specifications to be safe and legal to use. Used racks are not likely to meet these requirements, as they may not have been intended for use in a high seismic hazard zone in the first place.

Warehouse safety

One of the most critical ways to maintain the safety of your warehouse operations is to ensure your pallet racking can support their rated maximum loads.

Although it is possible for used racking to support its listed maximum load, you can’t be 100% certain unless you have proof of the racking’s age, quality, and condition. The only way to ensure your racking is safe and capable of supporting its maximum load is to buy new.

Tailoring your space

The main purpose of warehouse racking is to maximize the space in your storage facility and improve its overall efficiency. You may be tempted to think that saving money and buying used storage solutions is cost-effective.

However, that is not always the case. When buying used, you get what was available, which may not necessarily use your space efficiently. For example, your facility may have had space for multiple rows of five-deep drive-in racks, but the only used models you could find were four-deep, resulting in wasted space and, ultimately, decreased efficiency.

Used racking systems may not be compatible with new automated materials handling systems, potentially reducing your storage and retrieval efficiency. Buying new warehouse racking is the only way to customize and tailor your racking to your specific needs, making the most out of your available space.

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How to Inspect Used Racking

One of the main benefits of buying used pallet racks is affordability. Used pallet rack systems are less expensive than new equivalents, and with the right deals, you can outfit an entire facility for a fraction of the cost of new racks. This is ideal for new start-up ventures like a brand new warehouse, small facilities on a tight budget, or when expanding your facility.

Although every warehouse manager must be budget-conscious, buying the cheapest options does not guarantee you will save money. If the used racking systems don’t match your needs or are unsafe to use, you will need to buy new ones, resulting in money wasted and potentially spending more than the sticker price of new racking.

If you plan on buying used, it is critical to inspect the racking and determine whether it is safe and suitable for use.

Structural integrity

Check every component for signs of external damage, such as bent beams, damaged mounting points, or welding failures. Minor dents in non-critical areas are acceptable, but you should reject any parts with more severe signs of damage.

As the primary load-bearing part, an upright failure means a failure of the entire rack. When inspecting uprights, subject them to additional scrutiny. Check every weld and strut, and make sure the posts are as vertical as possible, with no more than 0.5” of deflection.

Inspecting for rust

Most used racking features damaged or faded paint, and signs of rust are ubiquitous. However, there is a critical difference between a component with surface rust and advanced rust.

Parts with surface rust may have a faded or weathered appearance but are still structurally sound. In contrast, advanced rust manifests itself with signs of pitting, suggesting the metal is damaged and weakened. Avoid parts with advanced rust at all costs.

Contact Us for Information About New & Used Pallet Racking

At Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc., we understand the importance of cost-efficient, budget-conscious warehouse management. Browse our large selection of new and used pallet racking systems, parts, and accessories for your storage facility.

If you need any advice, assistance, or information on safely optimizing your storage space on a budget, call us at (800) 589-7225.