As companies relocate, expand or reconfigure their warehouse spaces, one question that often comes up is whether they can mix and match components from different pallet rack manufacturers. After all, many uprights, beams and other parts look almost identical and connect in the same way. The answer is that many times you can mix, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should. There are several potential problems with a mixed parts approach.
It May Void Your Warranty
If you are using new materials that are under warranty and you add components from a different manufacturer you are almost certain to void your warranty. For most applications, the replacement of damaged components with identical parts from the original manufacturer is the only way to stay within warranty parameters. Since manufacturers have no control over the quality of third party components, it makes sense that they won’t stand behind a system that uses them.
It May Affect System Capacity
Unfortunately, capacities are rated at a system level, not at a component level. For example, if a manufacturer rates an upright at 16,700 lbs, it means that the other uprights and beams must be part of the same system for that rating to be valid. Manufacturers can’t predict how their system will work with another manufacturer’s components, so you can’t rely on the stated capacity if you are combining components from different sources.
Components May Not Be Interoperable
Some components simply don’t work with other manufacturer’s systems. For example, an upright extension may only fit a system from the original manufacturer. The column dimensions and gauge may prevent it from being used in a different system.
Uprights designed for seismically active areas can also be problematic. They may have different foot plates that vary widely from the more common, non-seismic design. Replacement uprights that are not seismically rated quite often cannot be anchored in the same fashion and shouldn’t be combined with seismic versions.
Lengths May Be Slightly Different
Manufacturing length tolerances can vary between manufacturers. For example, 96 inch beams can be slightly over or under, depending on the manufacturer. If you’re installing beams from the same manufacturer it’s not an issue since all the beams are uniform, but if you try to combine beams from different manufacturers in the same bay they may not fit right.
Locking pins can also vary among different manufacturers. This can create a hazardous situation of beams are not locked in correctly. If you do end up combining components from different manufacturers, it is advisable to use the same manufacturer’s components in each bay.
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If you have questions about combining racking materials from different vendors and would like to speak to a warehouse expert, give us a call today!