Teardrop (Interchangeable) style racking is a very common form of boltless racking. The beam connectors have “pins” that are manufactured as part of the connector. These pins have a section called the neck and a section called the head. Proper installation requires that the head of the connector pin be fully inside the column (beyond the wall thickness of the column face) and seated down where the neck of the pin is in line and in contact with the wall thickness of the column face. The reason is that the larger size (or diameter) of the head of the pin will engage the column face material thickness, thereby preventing the beam connector from pulling out of the column.
A common error that is made is that the beam is installed so the head of the pin is not fully inside of the column and seated down. Instead, the rim of the pin is bearing right on the wall thickness. This may prevent the safety mechanism from engagement. The beam, if loaded or bumped, may come out of the column and fall. At a glance, a beam that is installed in this manner may not be easily distinguishable from a beam that is correctly installed. This is why careful installation and inspection of the installed beam is extremely important.
Proper engagement and seating of all connectors must be a priority when installing this product.
Here are some tips to help with the installation and inspection of the beam.
1.) The top edges of the two beam connectors that come together at a column should be even, rather than having one higher than the other. When one is higher than the other, it is likely that the higher one is not engaged and seated properly, but it is also possible that neither one is properly seated.
2.) Even when the top edges are even, it is possible that neither beam is seated. It is a good idea to visually inspect a seated connector by measuring a reference distance to the next hole above or a matching intermediate hole on the connector and column to determine the correct vertical position of a seated beam.
3.) The inside surface of the connector angle that is supposed to bear against the column face must be bearing against the column face for the full height of the connector. For the case of a thin column thickness, there could be a slight gap due to the pin neck length being much longer that the column gage. For thicker column gages, the gap will diminish or disappear. When the connector is not fully engaged, the surface will not be in contact with the column face. Often when inspecting these, the tip of a screwdriver can be jammed in the space that exists when the surfaces are not in contact.
4.) Sometimes the top pin is correctly engaged and the bottom pin is not engaged, and the connector is only hanging on one pin. When this condition exists, there would be a gap at the bottom but not at the top. The opposite of this scenario is also possible, with the bottom pin engaged and the top pin not engaged and seated.
5.) Check that the safety mechanism is properly engaged, but remember that on some styles of teardrop racking the safety mechanism may appear normal even when the connector pins are not fully engaged and properly seated.
Pallet rack beam connectors should align when properly installed.
Remember that just because a beam has been loaded, it doesn’t mean the
connectors are engaged and properly seated. There have been cases where a beam has not been installed properly and has been loaded/unloaded for years and one day it gets hit just right and comes out of the rack. Damage or imperfection of the column face may also prevent a beam from seating properly.
Whenever a beam is moved or bumped, the beam should be re-examined to ensure proper seating of the connectors.
A fork lift operator should never load a rack position with people standing close by in the rack aisle. This is a safety violation. The forklift driver is protected by his overhead cage but the bystanders can be hit with anything that may fall during the load process. Many retail environments will also prohibit people from being present in the adjacent aisles because it is possible to bump product and cause it to fall into the next aisle.
In conclusion, rack safety begins with inspecting the connections after installation. It is a good idea for everyone to check connections often as there are so man moving parts within an operational warehouse. All warehouse employees should know what to look for and report anything that does fit properly or look right.