In many industrial and shop settings, standard shelves are not the optimum way to store the materials needed to complete a job. Instead, you need an advanced material handling solution that maximizes both safety and convenience. The following tips can help you choose the right systems.

1. Choose Designs That Match the Materials

Not all storage systems work with all materials, particularly if you need to store either volatile items or sensitive and easily breakable items. Instead of choosing a standard rack design, consider custom designs that match your materials. For example, if you need storage for expensive glassware, such as in a lab, then have racks made specifically for holding the glassware you use safely.

2. Consider Transport Ability

Ask yourself if it is easier to move the items in the storage rack or to transport the entire rack to the various workstations where the materials may be needed. If you need a transportable rack, look into cart-style storage solutions. You can have carts designed so that they are ergonomic and easy to move without damage to any of the materials stored on them. Much like standard storage racks, storage carts should be designed specifically for the type of materials they will hold. The carts can even be equipped with doors and locking mechanisms for additional security and safety.

3. Look for Integrated Safety Features

Depending on the materials that are being stored and handled, certain safety features are a must.  A rack that stores volatile chemicals will require not just the proper safety labels on the outside, but also proper ventilation to ensure that fumes do not build up and to guard against possible combustion. What safety features are needed will depend greatly on the material type and whether the storage system is fixed or transportable. A custom design may be necessary for some materials.

4. Research Automation Options

Automation can improve safety and streamline operations on the work floor. Some materials may need to be held at specific temperatures, so an automated cooling or heating system on the storage rack is a must. Electric assist can make it easier to transport storage carts, particularly those that transport heavy or awkward shaped items. You can also have fully automated racks with movable dividers and conveyance systems inside that allow you to maximize storage space in locations where deep shelves are a must.

Contact a material handling equipment supplier for more help in choosing the best storage racks for your business.  

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