Why Buy New When Used Pallet Rack Will Do?

Next Level crew assembling new pallet rackYou hear this phrase regarding used pallet rack a lot in the material handling biz. Many people believe that used or refurbished pallet rack is not only cheaper, but that it’s just as good as new. Will used pallet rack really do the job just as well? And is it really cheaper?

With over thirty years combined experience in the material handling industry, some of us here at Next Level have, in the past, dealt with the used pallet rack market first-hand. We know the benefits, and we know the pitfalls, so without further ado, here’s the deal about used pallet rack.

Warehouse Optimization

The thinking that prevails in the industry is that used pallet racking is more cost-effective. Miriam-Webster defines cost effective as “producing good results without costing a lot of money.” Granted, the up-front cost for used rack is less (that’s the benefit), but does it produce good results? While it’s not impossible to achieve maximum optimization with used rack, in reality, the chances are slim. Warehouses that operate at optimal cost-efficiency have been carefully and precisely designed to take advantage of every square inch, with product flow in mind. The odds of finding all the necessary used rack with exactly the sizes and capacities you need for your warehouse to operate at its highest and best use are slight. At best, you might have to buy piecemeal from several dealers in different areas to even come close. And then, you could be looking at numerous partial freight charges that would immediately eliminate any savings.

Pallet Rack Safety

Used dealers might say there is virtually no difference between the two options, except for possible physical appearance, but this is simply not true. If the safety of your rack is compromised in any way due to past damage, you are putting your employees at serious risk, never mind the tons of money you could lose in the form of damaged product, downtime, and the costs of repairs and/or replacement parts. How can you know your used rack is safe? When you receive your shipment of used rack, you should inspect every piece carefully. Is any metal component rusted or corroded? Are any uprights bent or damaged? Are any beams dented, twisted, dinged or scraped? Are the clips, bolts, or safety pins, or beam attachment pins missing or damaged? If you answer yes to any of these questions (and you very likely will), you should seriously reconsider using those components. Used racks are sold as-is and they are never warranted. There’s no promise as to how safe it is or how long your used rack will last.

Pallet Rack Capacity

It’s imperative you know the specifications of the rack you are installing to have a safe and cost-effective warehouse storage system. Unfortunately, all you can really know about the capacities of used rack are what you can derive from the height and depth of the upright frames and the width and length of the load beams. There is no way to know the gauge or thickness of the steel beams unless you cut the beam open and measure it. So, when it comes to the beam capacities, you are making a calculated guess.

Modified Pallet Rack

Beware of modified rack. Some use dealers rule-cut and replace parts (often using welders that are not certified), thus putting together a used pallet rack frame that has been modified from the original design. This causes capacity issues. Also, beam connectors supplied by the manufacturers have the capacity design based upon their framing beam. When you read all the load charts supplied by the manufacturer, they specifically state that the capacities are designed based upon their beam/connector and frame.  When you mix and match,  you do not get the same capacity ratings.

Building Codes & Permitting

Most racking systems are now required to meet new building codes. Without the correct engineering calculations, your permits will never be approved by city planning and building departments. The materials you acquire must be usable in engineering calculations for city planning and fire department approval. While it’s possible to get your used pallet rack permitted, keep in mind that the engineers won’t give you full capacity due to unknowns about the rack’s condition.

Why Buy Used Pallet Rack, When You Can Have New?

The benefits of new pallet rack are many: better quality, more control, known capacity and calculations, higher efficiency, reduction in maintenance costs, and easier (and thus less expensive) installation. New rack is almost always the better (and safer!) choice, and it definitely will save money in the long run.

Next Level is committed to helping our customers increase efficiency and profitability through lower material expenditures and cost-efficient design solutions. Whether you are considering used or new rack, give us a call for a quote. Our FlexRack™ pallet rack is designed for easy installation and reduced freight costs – and  we’re confident you will be pleasantly surprised by our very competitive upfront costs and quick lead times, as well. Learn more about FlexRack™ here.

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