What’s the difference between roll formed and structural steel and what does that mean for you?
Actually, both types of steel used in pallet racking are roll formed. Steel that we refer to as “roll formed” is made by a process called cold roll forming: sheets of cold steel are bent with rollers to form the shapes for the uprights and beams. The process is not that much different for structural steel, except the steel is roll formed while hot. In fact, both types are also referred to as hot rolled steel and cold-rolled steel.
The main difference is that structural steel is made from hot rolled channels of steel while roll formed rack is shaped from flat carbon steel. So what does that really mean for you?
Both types of rack have advantages. Structural steel is what you might want if you are storing extremely heavy loads and/or your rack is in a very abusive or tough industrial environment. The design of hot rolled steel allows structural rack to hold more weight and withstand more impact than cold roll formed rack. If your rack will be exposed to a lot of lift truck impact, is located outdoors or is in a freezer or cooler application, you will probably want to consider structural rack.
Roll formed pallet rack, however, is tough enough and strong enough for most warehouse applications. It is less expensive to buy and install–and if you don’t expect a lot of abuse, roll formed rack can be quite cost-effective. Consider using upright column protectors and end-of-aisle protectors to lessen the chances of forklift damage.
Speak with a material handling professional to determine which type of rack will give you the best return on your investment, based on your particular environment and storage needs.
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