After groundbreaking research and development, the structural design team at Dematic has created a new Drive-In Rack system.
According to Dematic, the new Drive-In system is the lowest cost solution for high density storage on the market and the new design has been optimised by using stronger and bigger components, but less of them.
The Drive In Rack is the lowest cost and most popular form of high density pallet storage. While providing excellent storage capacity, Drive In Racking does restrict access, with the first pallet in, being the last pallet out. Drive In Racking is ideal for many industry sectors including General Manufacturing, Food Manufacturing and the Cold Storage Industry.
To better understand the design process and the features and benefits of the new system, we sat done with two members of the team.
According to Dr. Murray Clarke, Structural Design Manager, the challenge for the design team was to examine ways of improving the structural efficiency of the system and standardising the component designs and manufacturing processes whilst not compromising on load capacity or safety.
“Four years ago we sat down with a blank piece of paper and an overarching philosophy to make our Colby Drive-In system bigger, better and stronger whilst reducing the number of components to ensure it remained cost competitive,” Clarke says.
“We examined the key components and looked at ways of simplifying their design and manufacture, as well as installation. We started with the uprights, which were previously available in 90mm and 110mm configurations, and increased these to 125mm and 150mm in width.”
“This has enabled us to reduce the number of uprights, cantilever brackets and beams in a system; at the same time the components we have developed have application in other areas such as mezzanine floors and high rise racking” he says.
Probably the most innovative element of the new system is the new and patented Pallet Runner. Dr. Paul Berry, Senior Structural Engineer, says the new Pallet Runner is the result of extensive theoretical analysis, supported by prototype testing, to optimise the design.
“We spent many hours examining the shape and configuration of the Pallet Runner and we are confident we have designed the most advanced Pallet Runner in the world,” Berry says.
“The new patented design is capable of large spans, easily managing spans of 2400mm, and it minimises the vertical deflection and virtually eliminates horizontal deflection and twist.
Also the Pallet Runner is bolted from underneath, avoiding any catchpoints, and has holes punched at 50mm intervals providing greater flexibility in frame depth,” he says. T
he new system also includes innovative, one piece, formed Cantilever Brackets that wrap securely around the upright ensuring negligible rotation under load. T
he streamlined Protect-a-Rack wraps around the base of the upright with the angled profile deflecting impacts and the streamlined design maximising clear bay entry.
Heavy duty bracing connects symmetrically to the upright which increases the strength and load-carrying capacity whilst reducing the amount of bracing needed.
A Backstop is positioned at the end of the pallet runner to prevent pallets being pushed too far into the depth of the rack, eliminating potential damage to spine bracing and further increasing safety. Heavy duty, purpose designed floor channels help guide the forklift ensuring quick and easy alignment, safer handling and greater protection of the rack.
“The inherent flexibility within the system’s design makes it modular and capable of accommodating most customer requirements, including custom pallets,” says Paul Berry.
“For example, we’ve had great success in the cold storage industry where pallet density is the key issue and we’ve had to construct the Colby Drive-In around cooling fans. It hasn’t been a problem, and because everything is so modular we are able to provide faster installation times.”
An additional tool developed by the Dematic team is the sophisticated design software program “Rackman”, short for Rack Manager.
“The “Rackman” program provides Dematic and the Colby distributor network with a very valuable tool and a marked competitive advantage,” says Murray Clarke.
“By entering the customers requirements we are able to configure the best and most cost effective storage solution. “Rackman” configures the system and carries out advanced structural calculations to ensure it is compliant with design standards.”
“The customer can tweak the design and change the height and weight of pallets and the program will check the design and calculate the required floor loading. Finally, the cost of the storage system is calculated, all in a matter of a few minutes. This would have taken hours not so long ago,” he says.
“The market has responded in a positive manner to the new Colby Drive-In rack and we already have a number of happy customers in a range of installations, across a number of industries,” saysClarke.
“As part of our research and development of this new product, we examined a number of competitive products and are confident that, right now, this is the most advanced Drive-In Rack system in the world.”