Frequently Asked Questions

Q : Why should you store sheet metal efficiently?

  • To increase your capacity, throughput, and profits! Sheet metal handling and storage is one of the most overlooked aspects of fabrication businesses; without good processes in place, fabricators get buried in their own material without ever capturing those costs. Material handling costs are very real, and they add up extremely quickly.

 

Q : How do I store my sheet metal more efficiently?

  • Loaded question! This largely depends on your size, variety, volume, footprint, and other factors. In a nutshell, it starts with allowing for quick & independent access to your material, while also decreasing your current storage footprint. Once you minimize time and reduce space, you’ll begin to reap the benefits of efficient FIFO control, protected material, and protected operators.

 

Q : Where do I start?

  1. Measure; perform time studies. If your operators/runners track time spent daily locating/unburying/handling material, you’ll quickly realize where you need to place priority.
  2. Ask for help. It’s what we’re here for. Explain your current methods to us, and we’ll dive in headfirst. We’ve seen a LOT of shops, and we’re happy to help. We’re low-pressure, and if we don’t have the right product to help you, we’ll refer you to someone who does.

 

Q : Is my shop/equipment a good fit for this type of product?

If you cringe when we ask any of these questions, then yes, you are likely a good fit:

  1. Do you consider your shop “tight on space”?
  2. Do you spend time looking for raw material on your shop floor?
  3. Do you spend time unburying material once it has been found?
  4. Are your machines producing parts while you’re looking for the material?
  5. Is your material ever damaged (scratched surfaces, bent corners, warped)?
  6. Have you ever had wooden pallets break/snap?
  7. How much cost is amortized into your cost of steel to cover the wooden pallet?
  8. How do you dispose of wooden pallets?
  9. Have you had any safety incidents with raw material?

 

Q : How expensive is a Sheet Metal Storage System?

  1. Of course, it depends. As a ballpark, the investment is much less than what you’re currently spending on material handling. After we understand your specs, we’ll be able to offer our best price for your opportunity.
  2. Contact us for our ROI calculator. That way we can do the work for you! ROI is typically a much shorter cycle than our customers initially anticipate. Plus, most customers find out that their current method of material handling and storage costs more to operate than it costs to buy and implement our storage systems.

 

Q : Why are there (3) different styles of cartridges?

  1. Depending on your volume, consistency, supplier relationships, and commitment to safety, we offer something for everyone.
  2. The Re-Rack cartridges are the most robust offering, which are designed to be shuttled back and forth with your raw material suppliers. See more info here .
  3. The Safety Block cartridges are an economical alternative to the Re-Rack cartridges, with nearly all the same features. However, they do not directly stack on top of each other like the Re-Rack cartridges do. See more info here.
  4. The Plain cartridges are just as they sound – plain. They do not have perimeter features to keep the material in place, and they are typically built size-on-size to the material, much like a traditional wooden skid. See more info here.

 

Q : Are all (3) different styles of cartridges universal?

  • No. At least, not typically. We can adjust if you have specific requirements, but for the most standard offerings see the sizing chart here:

 

Q : How much weight can each cartridge hold?

  • 5,000 pounds.

 

Q : What sheet sizes are compatible with Lean Sheet Metal Storage Systems? Can I create custom sizing and spacing of the rack?

  1. Most common sheet size is 4’x8’, 4’x10’, 5’x10’, 6’x10’ and 6’x12’.
  2. If your sheet size(s) does not fall within those sizes, we can still create a solution for you. We have extensive experience providing custom solutions.

 

Q : How can I get a quote?

  1. Share with us. Each project is custom-built to your exact specifications, and we need to understand your goals, constraints, and opportunities.
  2. Be prepared to share any (or all) of the following details:i. Sheet Size
    ii. Number of pallets currently in your shop
    iii. Ceiling Height
    iv. Bundle Height (material stack height) on individual pallets
    v. Weekly consumption of material
    vi. Loading automation attached to lasers/punches
  3. If you’re able to send any pictures of your current material storage area, those always help us immensely.

 

Q : What is the lead time for a sheet metal storage rack?

  • Typical lead time is 6-7 weeks. We build-per-order to ensure we’re meeting your exact specs, and we will always do our best to work with your scheduling needs.

 

Q : How much clearance is there between the shelves?

  1. We recommend at least 1.5” from the top of your raw material to bottom of the angle iron above it. For example, if you have 22 shelves within a 14’ tall rack and a max “material stack height” of 2.5”, there will be 1.75” of clearance between the top of the stack and the bottom of the angle iron above it.
  2. We will work with you using renderings to dial in the right spacing for your exact application.

 

Q : Do your cartridges slide out of the rack like a drawer?

  • No, we do not offer hand-operated sliding drawers. There are a few other manufacturers that we can connect you with, but the rolling slide-out drawers are not our product. Instead, ours are accessible with forklift, which allows us to go much higher and better-use the vertical space in your shop.

 

Q : Do you offer carts to put the cartridges on?

  1. Yes, absolutely. In fact, they are great carts! For full size carts, we use a pivot mechanism to allow maneuverability in your shop floor. The carts have swivel casters in the 4 corners, and rigid casters in the middle, which means the center of the cart is the “pivot axis” = shorter turning radius.
  2. We especially recommend these if you are manually loading your machines. We can spec the cart(s) so they are at machine height, and will minimize the height differential the sheets need to travel. For example, if you’re using a jib crane, you won’t need to run the suction cups all the way to the floor just to grab the next sheets…minimize the distance traveled with a strategically placed cart.

 

Q : How do you transfer material from a wooden pallet to a LEAN cartridge for storage?

  • A lot of people call it a depalletizer, but we prefer “Pin Table” because we use a series of sliding pins along a grid framework to successfully and efficiently transfer sheet metal off a wooden pallet or runners onto a LEAN cartridge. See more info here.

 

Q : How big is the rack footprint?

  • Please contact us and we would be happy to provide you with the footprint of our sheet metal storage systems. We can either send a drawing of the rack itself, or you can send us a DXF of your plant layout, and we can see where they’d fit.

 

Q : What is the concrete requirement for these racks?

  • Pending the exact specs of your system(s), your concrete must be able to support 3,000 PSI across a level surface. If you have concerns about your concrete, we do offer larger foot pads for the racks, which can help further distribute the load.

 

Q : How are the storage systems installed? How long does it take? What equipment is needed?

  1. The sheet metal racks are shipped in a series of flat panels (side walls & back wall) that are stood up and joined together with supplied hardware.
  2. They can be assembled using either an overhead crane or a forklift – typically customers do not use any outside rigging services, but we’re happy to point you in the direction of local companies if you need assistance.
  3. Rule of thumb is 2-3 hours for 2-3 operators for the first unit, and 1-2 hours for each additional unit after that.

 

Q : Do these need to be placed against a wall of the building?

  • No. Each rack has (4) anchoring holes for securing the unit to the floor.

 

Q : Can we do custom colors?

  • Of course! Blue and white is our default color scheme, but we’re more than happy to swap out for the powder of your choice. Just let us know what you’d like to have on your shop floor, and we’ll make it happen! We’re still waiting for the first hot pink order…

 

Q : Can you visit us?

  1. Yes – our doors are always open to you. We are located about 30 minutes outside Milwaukee, Wi.
  2. Likewise, we have many skilled representatives across the country that would be thrilled to meet you at your facility and measure your project with you in-person.
  3. We also have many happy customers scattered across the US that (pending their line of work) would be willing to show you the units in their facilities.

 

Q : Do you have a referral program?

  1. Absolutely! We appreciate and recognize our customers that refer us to other businesses. Please contact us for more information!
  2. We strive to satisfy our customers to the level that they recommend us to friends.
Q : What is standard sizing and height?

  • The reusable cartridges are typically designed to match a standard 40×48 pallet size. Height spacing is determined per order to best suit our customer’s needs.
  • Height typically ranges between 10’ and 14’, depending on your ceiling and/or forklift constraints.

 

Q : Are specs and spacing adjustable per the customer’s needs?

  • Yes! We base specs off of our customer’s needs. We know that our customers get the most functionality and efficiency when we design projects specifically for them.

 

Q : What is the load rating per shelf?

  • Typically, the load rating is 3000 lbs. per shelf evenly distributed. If a different load rating is required, reach out to us and we can discuss what we can do to accommodate your needs.

 

Q : How is the rack assembled?

  • The racks are shipped in a series of flat panels (side walls & back wall) that are stood up and joined together with supplied hardware.
  • They can be assembled using either an overhead crane or a forklift – typically customers do not use any outside rigging services, but we’re happy to point you in the direction of local companies if you need assistance.
  • Rule of thumb is 2-3 hours for 2-3 operators for the first unit, and 1-2 hours for each additional unit after that.

 

Q : What is the lead time?

  • Typically, 5-7 weeks is the standard lead time for the WIP Staging racks

 

Q : What is the footprint of the rack?

  • Contact us and we are happy to supply you with footprints for the rack. Since each project can be slightly different, we prefer to provide footprints as our customers request them.

 

Q : Do you have any CI recommendations that are complementary to the WIPStaging Racks and efficiently storing blanks?

  • Magnets for labeling
  • Job folders on side of rack
Q : What are the dimensions?

  • Most commonly, 40×48 table dimensions to match a standard pallet.
  • Carts are built-to-order and can be modified to your exact dimensions.

 

Q : What is the working table height?

  • Depending on your needs, an ergonomic working height typically is between 28”-36”. Working height is easily adjustable for what is most comfortable for you.

 

Q : What is the load capacity?

  • Most commonly, our small and mid-size carts are rated for 3,000 pounds of evenly distributed load.
  • If you have custom load requirements, we can typically accommodate.

 

Q : Is there a handle for pushing the carts?

  • Depending on your application, ergonomic push/pull handles are available. They can either be welded in place, or removable. Let’s discuss what will work best for you.

 

Q : What are they made out of? How are the carts constructed?

  • Our carts are steel weldments, most commonly 11ga. Casters and brakes are bolted onto the carts so they are easily removable for repair/replacement if ever needed.
  • After fabrication/welding, our carts are always powder-coated for longevity and appearance – colors are up to you!

 

Q : Can you add custom features?

  • Yes! We specialize in customization. If you have custom ideas for a cart, you are in the right place. We have added custom handles, casters, dimensions, flanges and more to our carts. We would love to hear your ideas!

 

Q : What are the “slogans” or “culture statements” on there?

  • Adding your company name, values, slogans, etc. to the side walls of the carts is an extremely easy way to boost company culture on the shop floor. Let us help promote what’s important to you.
  • We laser-cut stainless-steel tags and rivet them to the side wall(s) for you. Some common examples:
    • {your company name}
    • Doing it right the first time
    • Helping each other succeed
    • Honoring the Golden Rule
    • Staying focused
    • Striving to do our best
    • We are family

 

Q : What types of casters do you offer?

  • We offer casters that fit your needs. Most commonly, customers order 6” diameter steel casters on their carts, but we can change diameter and work with a number of caster types:
    • Polyurethane
    • Phenolic
    • Cast Iron
    • Etc.

 

Q : How do I get pricing?

  • Fill out an RFQ or give us a call. It is helpful to have prepared your desired dimensions, quantity, preferred load rating and how you plan to use the cart. We aim to be cost-effective and make this an easy decision for you; our goal is to turn every new customer into a repeat customer!

 

Q : What is the lead-time?

  • Depending on the quantity and current workload, lead time is typically between 3-4 weeks.

 

Q : Do they come assembled?

  • All carts ship fully assembled so they are ready to use as soon as you receive them. We want to make this an easy plug-and-play for you!
Q : What is standard sizing?

  • Most commonly, these are designed to accommodate a standard 40×48 pallet. We often adjust sizing per our customer’s specifications – if you let us know what you’ll be transporting on the carts, we’ll work with you to find the best solution!

 

Q : What is the Modular Stacking Cart’s intended use?

  • Versatile, independent, and mobile access to multiple different components. It’s easily configurable to fit a variety of different projects, and always able to adjust to your current workload.
  • Very useful when handling cosmetic parts that need to keep separated.
  • “Fab Shop” example: you’re running a cosmetic stainless job, and the lasered blanks need to go to the press brakes for forming. With the modular stacking cart, the laser operator can configure the cart to hold all the parts needed, without any scratches, and with independent access for the brake operator – then, as the brake operator is forming the parts, he/she can remove the tiers and keep continuous workflow without excess handling.

 

Q : What is the difference between Modular Stacking Carts and Rolling Pallet Carts?

  • The Modular Stacking Carts have multiple levels for part/component placement, while the Rolling Pallet Carts are single-level.

 

Q : How heavy is each tier?

  • Depending on size, we always try to keep the tiers under 40 lbs. for operator safety.

 

Q : What are the carts made of?

  • The base cart is a steel weldment, and each stacking tier is an aluminum weldment. If the tiers are for a heavier-duty application, steel can be used in its place.

 

Q : What is the load rating per tier?

  • 500 lb uniform load rating for each aluminum tier. If you have requirements for heavier loads, we can change materials and add more reinforcement crossmembers.

 

Q : How high can you stack the tiers of the cart?

  • We do not recommend exceeding 6’ tall in a cumulative stack. Although they could be stacked higher, we recommend keeping it at an ergonomic max height for an operator so he/she is not reaching above head-level.

 

Q : Can you add custom features?

  • Yes! We specialize in customization. If you have custom ideas for a cart, you are in the right place. We have added custom handles, casters, dimensions, flanges and more to our carts. We would love to hear your ideas!

 

Q : What is the lead time?

  • Depending on the quantity and current workload, lead time is typically between 3-4 weeks.

 

Q : Do the modular stacking carts come fully assembled?

  • All carts ship fully assembled so they are ready to use as soon as you receive them. We want to make this an easy plug-and-play for you!

 

Q : What is the top surface of the modular stacking cart?

  • The top surface is either aluminum or steel, pending your preference.
  • We also offer rubber top layers for a small cost. This is highly recommended for the extra protection to your parts, and the added friction to prevent sliding parts.
Q : How are they constructed?

  • Static, structural steel weldments

 

Q : What is the load rating per stacking pallet?

  • 3,000 lbs. each stacking pallet

 

Q : What is standard sizing?

  • Most commonly, these are designed to accommodate a standard 40×48 pallet. We often adjust sizing per a customer’s specifications – if you let us know what you’ll be storing and transporting on the stacking pallets, we’ll work with you to find the best solution!

 

Q : What is the vertical clearance between tiers?

  • Depends on your application – if you let us know what you’ll be storing and transporting, we’ll work with you to put together the best configurations.
  • Most commonly, clearance varies anywhere from 8” to 36”.

 

Q : Do these need to be secured to floor?

  • There are (4) bolt plates on each stacking tier. It is recommended that once you establish location(s) on your shop floor, you bolt the bottom one to the floor as a base fixture. Then, you can stack and re-stack to any configuration needed.

 

Q : How tall can you stack the tiers?

  • Recommended maximum height of 12’ configuration.

 

Q : How do you get the most functionality out of the stacking pallets?

  • By utilizing 40×48 re-usable cartridges within the stacking pallets. See more info here
  • With the use of low-profile carts for increased mobility without a forklift. See more info here:

 

Q : What is the lead time on the stacking pallets?

  • Depending on the quantity and current workload, lead time is typically between 3-4 weeks.

 

Q : What are the main differences between stacking pallets and the WIP staging rack?

  • Stacking pallet racks are quickly movable as full units across the floor. Stacking pallets work extremely well for “kitting” a full assembly together.
  • WIP staging racks are extremely dense storage, designed for staging a specific work cell.
  • If you have questions about which one fits your application better, please ask! We’d be happy to review your operations and offer suggestions.
Q : What is the max./min. sizing of the mini hopper? (LxWxH) What is the footprint of the hopper?

  • We design and build the mini-hoppers on an as needed basis. Each mini-hopper is designed for exactly what you need. Send us your desired dimensions and footprint and we can create something to fit your needs.

 

Q : What are the caster dimensions?

  • Typically 4” steel casters. Swivel casters in the rear near the release handle, and rigid casters in the front.