The North American material handling and pallet racking industry has dubiously accepted that welded pallet racking uprights or frames are superior to bolted upright frames. So then why have European material handling professionals been building upright frames with nuts and bolts for years.
After all, we are in constant contact with bolted structures; buildings, bridges and so on. Even some of the material handling storage products we build are nut and bolt structures, including mezzanines and cantilever systems.
I believe they are both good products that will store what you need. But, I do think that bolted upright frames do have an edge on the welded frames. Let’s take a closer look at the 5 benefits of bolted pallet racking frames:
Lower Manufacturing Costs
Bolted uprights tend to have lower manufacturing costs over roll-formed pallet racking uprights. This is due to the absence of welding costs. While the manufacture of the major components of the upright is much the same between bolted and welded uprights, welding adds more labor costs that are passed on to the customer.
Repairing bolted frame racking is simple and economical. The damaged piece can be singled out, removed and replaced with ease. Repairs of welded frame racking require cutting, grinding, welding and painting which can be timely and come at a higher cost. Additionally, welded frame repairs are more difficult to determine the effectiveness of the repair, specifically the welded joint. Engineers have a very difficult time approving this type of repair and subsequent effectiveness. This could become a liability issue.
Better Seismic Responses
Like the buildings and bridges, bolted frames can flex and give during a seismic event. Welded frame uprights tend to be more rigid and can even break under the pressure. I suppose that high levels of seismic proportion is detrimental to all racking, however, bolted racking frames definitely provide less rigidity and provide forgiveness during seismic occurrences. Welded racking frames are not as forgiving and more susceptible to breaking and shearing during seismic events.
Another common myth associated with bolted pallet racking frame is the bolts will become loose. Not true, lock nuts hold tight.
Pallet Racking Customization
Bolted upright frames are much easier for customization. It is both easy and cost-effective. The adjustable bolted bracing can be moved to several locations along the uprights to permit the cutting of the columns to accommodate various heights. Customization of welded racking involves a process similar to racking repairs. Braces are cut and removed, the column is cut down and then re-welded together again. You could imagine the difficulty engineers would have to approve such a method of customizing your re-configuration. There are certainly limitations on the level of customization of welded frame uprights.
Lower Shipping Costs
Lastly, welded frame uprights are shipped from the manufacturer final assembled form meaning shipping of the uprights requires much more space than a disassembled bolted frame upright. Bolted upright frames are much more compact and therefore transport at a far cheaper cost. This more efficient use of transportation can add up to considerable shipping costs.