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Material Handling
Wednesday | 16 December, 2009 | 8:41 am

Saving space, saving time

By John Loos

December 2009 - Organization is key to navigating the workday without disruption. And when a company deals with heavy or long products, such as steel pipe, bar or even lumber, an efficient and tidy storage system can make all the difference when it comes to making deliveries on time and efficiently handling material throughout the facility.

Structural rack systems from WC Cardinal Co. Inc., Cadiz, Ohio, are designed to maximize warehouse and distribution operations by clearing up cluttered floors and neatly arranging materials on multilevel systems. The company’s structural cantilever racks, however, marry the benefits of a structural rack system with a cantilever design to make the organization of long and heavy products as simple and efficient as possible.

"It’s cost-effective for what you want to do," says Joe Tost, president of WC Cardinal. "It’s a great space saver. Think of going up four or five levels instead of needing space on the ground that would take up five to six times as much storage space."

Custom capacities
A successful material storage system needs to be flexible enough to meet a company’s unique product mix and material handling abilities. WC Cardinal’s structural racks distinguish themselves by being customizable right down to the color of the system.

"The customer will call in with what his needs are, specifically the weight load and the dimension of the product," says Tost. "Then, we’ll do engineering and create custom drawings to send to the customer for approval and next we go into production."

The structural racks have a maximum capacity of 48,000 pounds for standard use but can be designed for heavier loads, depending on specific requirements. All upright systems are constructed with heavy-duty 3-inch or 4-inch structural steel C-channels that are pre-punched on 4-inch centers. The structural steel beam connectors are pre-punched on 2-inch centers. Standard beam lengths range from 48 inches to 180 inches but can be made longer or shorter.

Along with the varying dimensions of its structural racks, WC Cardinal also offers multiple accessories to its designs, including horizontal braces, offset or slope legs, heavy-duty post guards and welded angle protectors. The necessity of these extras is determined when WC Cardinal collaborates with a customer prior to system implementation.

"There’s a lot of interaction in the beginning with a lot of follow-up," says Tost. "A lot of times, we go to the site of the project to verify the measurements and the specific needs of the product. Then, we engineer it and, if need be, during the construction of it, we’ll go to the site in case the customer has a problem. We offer continuing support after the product’s been installed to make sure the customer is completely happy."

Handling variations
WC Cardinal’s structural racks come in multiple variations for its customers’ differing material handling capabilities, including the structural selective rack, a push-back rack, a drive-in/drive-through rack, a pallet flow rack, and the newest edition to the line, the structural cantilever.

The structural selective rack’s C-channel construction makes it resistant to forklift impact, reducing the possibility of deformation.

The push-back rack is designed for warehouses looking to store up to six pallets deep with access to each level. It reduces aisle quantity by two-thirds, retrofits with existing systems, and features durable structural carts and rails.

For operations that require continual loading and unloading of materials, the drive-in/drive-through rack can create space savings of up to 80 percent and allows forklift drivers easy access up and down aisles. It can also feature extra reinforcement to reduce damage from forklifts.

The pallet flow rack is designed for facilities that have a large number of pallets per product. It creates high-density pallet storage, as well as first-in and first-out retrieval, and allows automatic stock rotation. The structural cantilever is typically used for longer and heavier product that steel companies, lumber yards, pipe yards and manufacturers need to store more efficiently. It’s designed for each individual application using different sized I-beams to meet the capacity required. Structural cantilever systems are shipped to the end user in knockdown form and bolted together on the job site, which lowers shipping costs and expedites installation.

Quick response
WC Cardinal’s storage systems are sold through a network of distributors, including Metro Industrial Equipment LLC, East Meadow, N.Y. Although Metro Industrial could choose from a variety of storage systems to sell, it’s had notable success with WC Cardinal’s product.

According to Tod Cagan, owner of Metro Industrial, what struck him about the WC Cardinal product was "the quality and definitely the workmanship. A lot of these materials are welded and then painted. The welds are spot-on, and the paint quality is superb. I also like the versatility. All of [WC Cardinal’s] products are designed so that they can be adjusted to the customers’ needs. In other words, we could set them up for certain levels, certain heights and certain capacities one day, and the next day, we could readjust them simply by adjusting some nuts and bolts. The overall look and feel of the product is outstanding."

One customer that purchased two WC Cardinal storage systems, including a cantilever system through Metro Industrial is Manhattan Door Corp., Carlstadt, N.J., a company that offers flush wood doors of varying sizes, styles and material composition. It also offers hollow metal doors. The company touts a "Door-in-24" program, which guarantees it can make a door for a customer in 24 hours.

With that much material moving about in a fast-paced manufacturing setting, the organization of the company’s door parts needs to be efficient and smooth.

"We were expanding our warehouse, and we were in need of some more racking," says Ricardo Ramos, director of operations at Manhattan Door. "The salesperson was great, very amicable and helpful."

He also notes that getting an effective storage system "is essential to any warehouse. You need to occupy all of your ceiling space. It’s just necessary [for business], and racking allows for that to happen."

Cagan says WC Cardinal’s response to last-minute changes in orders is quick and thorough. "Sometimes we need to change certain components. And [WC Cardinal was] able to get us the components that we needed almost immediately."

It makes sense, then, that a company specializing in products that enhance and simplify material organization would have the same easy, no-fuss mentality when doing business. WC Cardinal strives for that with each custom order, regardless of what a customer’s requirement may be.

"The big advantage of a structural system is that it’s quick, and it’s easy to put together," says Tost. "And I think our strongest point is our customer service with designing the product and interacting with the customer." MM

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