Unloaded double deep pallet racking.

5 Reasons To Get New Pallet Racking

When it comes to businesses that use a warehouse, pallet racking can often be one of the biggest one off costs, but it’s also an investment. However, like so many things that may appear to be a one off purchase, they need to be replaced or upgraded, leading to another purchase.

While every business wants to minimise its costs, sometimes there’s a positive to having to spend money, especially on getting new pallet racking. Let’s explore those positives and how to get the most out of a pallet racking upgrade. You’ll see it may be a good thing.

Increase Safety With New Pallet Racking

Workplace safety always needs to be the highest priority, and new or upgraded pallet racking can help lead to a safer warehouse.

Although yearly pallet racking inspections should keep track and repair any damage, wear and tear takes it toll over time and it may be time to look at a full replacement of your pallet racking. Although this is a cost, it’s much less than having to recover from an accident that destroys equipment and hurts people.

New Pallet Racking Is An Investment

We already mentioned that the initial purchase of pallet racking is actually an investment in a business, and an upgrade can be an investment too. We’ll explore this is a little more detail in the following reasons to get new pallet racking, but all in all, and upgrade can lead to denser storage without having to sacrifice selectivity, a more efficient warehouse, and generally taking advantage of newer racking technologies.

Basically, with older pallet racking, you may not know what you’re missing out on. Although new pallet racking is an expense, it’s an expense that may actually pay for itself over time.

Increase Storage Density With New Pallet Racking

As a business grows, so does its need for storage. This means that the business needs to relocate or figure out a better solution for its existing facility. Either way, there’s going to be an expense, and that expense can often be minimised simply by installing better pallet racking.

New and upgraded pallet racking may be able to take heavier loads allowing for higher racking or heavier pallets; you may be able to find a denser storage solution; or you may just be able to afford something better now that the business has grown.

Or You’re Moving To A New Warehouse

If the time has come that a business must move to a new warehouse, either because they’ve exhausted the storage density of their current facility or a lease is ending, it may be a good time to buy new pallet racking. After all, the old pallet racking needs to be removed anyway, and it may be cost effective to buy new pallet racking, especially when you take pallet racking buy back into account. Although we offer new pallet racking, we also purchase and sell used pallet racking for more budget conscious businesses. Although selling your pallet racking to us won’t offset the entire cost of new pallet racking, it can significantly lower it, getting a business brand new pallet for a fraction of the cost.

Take Advantage Of New Racking Technology With Updated Pallet Racking

All of this is to say that technology changes over time, and this includes pallet racking. Steel gets stronger, allowing heavier loads to be used on pallets. New storage ideas are had, creating new ways to store pallets more efficiently. Computers and technology improve over time, which can lead to better ways to figure out warehouse optimisation.

It’s easy to think that pallet racking is just a bunch of steel used to stack pallets, but like everything, it improves with time and changes in technology. Pallet racking that was bought and installed 10 or 20 years ago is likely obsolete.

Talk To Us About A Pallet Racking Upgrade

Ultimately, it’s important to periodically evaluate your current warehouse storage solution and determine whether it’s the best thing for your business. Of course you shouldn’t replace or upgrade existing pallet racking for no reason at all, but if there’s a good business case for it, an upgrade can be good for a business.

If you’re curious about whether your business will benefit from new pallet racking, contact us today.

Outside of a very large cool room mid-construction.

Cold Xpress Stage One Complete, Onto Stage Two!

In May, we announced that we were beginning a major project with our long time client Cold Xpress. This project involved building Cold Xpress’ new cold storage facility. The purpose built facility was set to include multiple temperature controlled zones including freezer, dry, and chiller. Combined, these zones will be able to accommodate 12,000 pallet positions of pallet racking. In addition to this, the new facility will have extra loading bays built into the structure, solar panels, and more. This is set to be a large cold storage facility in Melbourne’s east; one that can service the entire state and greatly expand Cold Xpress’ business.

After beginning the project, we’re pleased to announce that Stage One is complete and we have moved onto to Stage Two.

What Was Involved In Stage One?

Like many commercial construction projects, big and small, Stage One of this project involved a lot of preparation work in order to get the site ready and fit for purpose.

An important part of the running of Cold Xpress’ new facility is going to be the installation of solar panels on the existing warehouse’s roof. Running a cold storage facility of this size requires a large amount of electricity, and Cold Xpress will be able to offset both the monetary cost and the carbon footprint of the facility by using solar. In order for the roof of the existing warehouse to be able to support the solar panel installation, it needed to be reinforced during Stage One of the project.

Other parts of Stage One involved general site preparation. This makes sure a project goes according to plan. As mentioned, this the preparation work that ensures a project can run smoothly. And now it’s been completed and signed off by the client.

What’s Involved In Stage Two?

A very large temperature controlled room mid-construction.Stage Two has already begun at a rapid pace, and is moving along smoothly.

The most visible part of Stage Two is the installation of the insulated sandwich panels, which create the walls and ceilings of the cold storage area. This part of the project is well underway and will see panels erected along the length of the warehouse, utilising as much space as possible for cold storage.

From there, the interior electrical cabling for the refrigeration and lighting will be installed throughout the cool room area.

Following this, Stage Two of this project will also see the installation of important safety features needed in every warehouse environment: fire protection. Since it’s going into a cold environment, the sprinkler system needs to be upgraded to withstand the freezing conditions as well as extended to go into the freezer rooms. As an added layer of protection, heat sensors are being installed in the sub-ceiling. The risk of fire is low because the insulation is fire resistant and the refrigeration system is CO2 based, it’s a safety measure designed to comply with the current codes.

Stage Two will also see the installation of the infrastructure of the CO2 refrigeration as well as the electrical components of the cool rooms themselves.

The final part of the second stage of this project will be the flooring for the cold storage areas. While insulated walls and ceilings are important for cold storage, it’s also important to have the flooring both insulated and safe. Flooring in temperature controlled environments like this involves building heating elements and an insulated subfloor to protect the building’s slab from sub-freezing temperatures.

And Onto Stage Three!

Stage Three of the project is scheduled to begin very soon.

Stage Three involves works that will be happening on the exterior of the property, so it’s possible for construction to happen concurrently with Stage Two. The works for Stage Three will include the outdoor plant room for the refrigeration as well as installation of additional loading docks into the existing building.

Stage Three will mostly involve external works with the build of the new plant room and electrical substation. It will see multiple contractors on site with multiple tasks being performed. This will ensure the project is finished quickly, allowing the client to start taking advantage of their investment.

Cool Room construction

The Cool Room Construction Process

Cool rooms, walk in freezers, and general temperature controlled rooms all have a similar construction process. Overall, the main differences come down to how the room will be used and how cold it needs to be. If you’re about to build, or are considering building, a new temperature controlled room for your business, you’re probably curious about how the project will proceed.

Like many commercial construct projects, no two cool room installations are the same, but they do have similarities. Here at A1 Precision Solutions, we like to balance the unique aspects of a project with a routine and process we know that works to keep a project both on time and on budget. It’s all about recognising a projects unique challenges while relying on years of experience to get a job done.

Temperature Controlled Room Design

The first step in process of building anything is the design. This allows us to find out and understand what’s needed for the project as well as make sure that the cool room will work as intended for the client. The design process includes a few steps.

One of the first steps of the design process is determining what type of insulation is needed for the room. Insulation for temperature controlled rooms is usually in the form of insulated sandwich panels. An insulated sandwich panel has a core made of an insulating material, often made from polyurethane, polystyrene, PIR, or synthetic wool. On the outside of the panel is a skin designed to protect the insulation. The thickness of the panels and what they’re made of will depend on how much insulation is needed for the facility.

With so much focus on the insulation from on the walls and ceiling, it’s easy to forget about the flooring. Sandwich panels aren’t typically hard wearing enough to be used as flooring, but reinforced concrete is a good option as it’s easy to maintain and can withstand colder temperatures. Depending on the overall cool room design, insulation may be placed under the concrete before pouring.

Another important part of the design of a temperature controlled room is the refrigeration system. The size, power, and design of the refrigeration system will depend on the size of the facility it’s cooling as well as the temperatures it needs to achieve.

With the two most important aspects of a cool room accounted for, it’s also important to consider both doors and lighting. Doors are obviously a point where temperature can be lost, and these need to be designed to maximise insulation while also be easy to operate and also safe for workers. Lighting is potential source of heat in a temperature controlled room, but it’s needed for workers to be able to do their job safely. Because of this, LED lighting is often used and designed to give off as little heat as possible.

From there, any pallet racking and shelving for the cool room is designed to fit in the space as efficiently as possible. Temperature controlled environments can be expensive to both construct and operate, so space is always at a premium. This needs to be treated as a warehouse optimisation exercise in order to make use of the space as efficiently as possible.

Building A Temperature Controlled Room

Once the cool room is designed, it’s time to start building. The building process is similar to any project, especially because many of challenges unique to the project are usually addressed in the design process.

Proper site preparation is also key to any construction process. This ensures that the site is clean and clear and that materials can be delivered. Site preparation also includes making sure the utilities needed, such as electricity, are in place for the project to get under way.

From there, the insulated sandwich panels for the cool room are usually installed first. This can often be done concurrently with the installation of the refrigeration system, but this will depend on how the project is planned out. Either way, flooring is usually installed after the walls and ceiling have been installed.

With the actual room constructed and refrigeration installed, it’s not just a matter of flipping a switch and having a giant walk in refrigerator. Before finalising the project, it’s important to test the equipment for both functionality and safety. How this is done will depend on the nature of the facility.

From there, any storage, like pallet racking, can be installed in the cool room. For some facilities, it’s important that the concrete flooring is brought down to temperature before things like racking are bolted into it to prevent is from cracking due to contraction; while this may increase the construction time, it ensures success.

Fitting Out The Rest Of The Warehouse

Temperature controlled facilities often have other aspects to them apart from the cool room itself. These may included non-temperature controlled warehouse spaces, loading docks, and even fitting out an office.

Because of this, clients often find it useful to use a larger construction firm like A1 Precision Solutions. Not only are we able to construct cool rooms and walk in freezers, we’re also able to complete all aspects of warehouse and office construction. This allows clients to work with a single builder to complete the entire project end to end.

Feel free to get in touch with us to discus your next cool room or construction project.

Office Ceiling Repairs

How To Choose A Commercial Builder

Regardless of the size of a commercial building project, every client wants it to be a success. Even small projects may seem big for clients, even if it’s not too big for the builder. That’s why it’s important for a builder to treat all projects as important. For the client, the project is important.

Since every commercial building project is important, it’s also important that clients choose the right builder for it. Choosing the wrong builder could lead to delays, cost blowouts, or even incomplete projects.

But, unless you’re choosing builders every day, as a client, you probably don’t know what to look for in a commercial builder. Here at A1 Precision Solutions, we were on a range of different types of commercial building projects and over a variety of project sizes, so it’s no surprise that we think we’re usually the right choice for a client. But you don’t need to take our word for it. We always encourage clients to look into other builders and evaluate them on the following.

What Sort Of Experience Does The Builder Have?

As much as we all want to give someone a chance, past experience (and success) is possibly the best indicator of future success in the building industry. With that, a builder who has been around for awhile is obviously doing something right if they’re able to stay in business.

Also, with experience comes the network of suppliers and trades to not only get the job done to a suitable standard, but also avoid delays in getting supplies and the people to do the work. Like any industry, the building industry is often about having a good network of contacts to stay adaptable and rely on the right people and partner businesses.

But it’s not just about general experience, it’s also about experience with specific types of projects, whether that’s in relation to project size or what’s being built. For example, some commercial builders only have experience in areas like office fit-outs, while others may only have experience in warehouse fit-outs. Others may be large enough to be span across both.

Do You Need A Specialist, A Generalist, Or A Mix Of Both?

With that in mind, sometimes it’s not a problem to use a builder who only has experience in one thing. A specialist builder can be boon for specialist industries that may have unique requirements whether it’s for their facilities or due to government regulations; often a specialist is the only builder you can use. On the other side of this is generalist commercial builders who can do most projects to a high standard. Both have their place.

Larger commercial builders, like us, may be able to have the right mixture of general building experience along with specialist teams that are able to get all sorts of jobs done. Our insulated sandwich panels team is an example of this. Our specialised team is able to plan and build cool rooms as well as clean rooms, both of which are often complex projects with specific regulations associated with them. However, projects of this nature often also have warehouse fit-outs, office installations, and more associated with them. As a generalist commercial builder with specialist teams, we’re able to help our clients by being a single point of contact for complicated projects requiring different teams.

Is Your Commercial Builder Licensed and Insured Appropriately?

Even if a builder seems right for the project, if they don’t have the right license or insurance, it’s time to start looking for someone different.

Using an unlicensed builder can lead to projects being stopped by planning authorities and other regulators. It can also lead to problems down the line with a business’ insurance if there’s a problem or worse, and accident. Although using an unlicensed builder can be a short term way of saving money, it’s often something that will cost more in the longer term.

Similarly, using a builder with inadequate insurance is a major concern for projects of all kinds. Insurance is there for a reason, and if a situation arises where it’s needed, it may be inconvenient, but at least all parties can be made whole. If there’s an accident or similar while using an uninsured commercial builder, the client may end up with an uncompleted project, out of pocket, and little recourse.

Don’t Forget To Look At Past Projects

If everything else in a builder looks adequate, don’t forget to look at past projects, whether online or in person. A good commercial builder should be proud of their past work and should have no problem telling a potential client about them.

Just like experience is important, it’s also important to see what kind of work a builder is able to produce.

There’s no problem asking for this information.

Choosing The Right Commercial Builder Can Be Difficult

Choosing the right commercial builder can be difficult. As we’ve already mentioned, although a good builder may work on projects of different sizes all day every day, for the client, every project is a big one and of the highest importance. This means that clients can’t make these decisions lightly.

Here at A1 Precision Solutions, we feel we’ve created a reputation as a full service commercial builder delivering projects on time, on brief, and on budget. Ask us, and we’ll prove it.

The Advantages Of Using CO2 As A Refrigerant In Industrial Projects

In the world of refrigeration, there are a lot of choices when it comes to keeping things cold. And this goes for both at home and industrial uses. When a client is constructing a new cool room, they often ask for advice on what kind of refrigerant they should use, and more and more we’re finding that we recommend using CO2 for their new system. There are a lot of reasons why this is usually our suggestion, so let’s go through some of the reasons why we think CO2 is a good option for industrial refrigeration.

CO2 Is The Refrigerant Of The Future

One of the biggest reasons to us CO2 in an industrial cool room project is that you’re effectively future proofing your refrigeration.

Although CO2 is probably the best known greenhouse gas, it’s up to 4,000 less harmful as a greenhouse gas than other traditional refrigerants like R404. Although refrigerant leaks should be avoided and repaired quickly if they happen, if one does occur, a leak of CO2 is less harmful than of refrigerants.

Because many refrigerants are harmful to the environment and dangerous, many governments are moving to phase them out over time. However, CO2 isn’t on the list of refrigerants to be phased out. This means that if you’re building a new industrial refrigeration system, you’re not at risk of having to replace it should government regulations change.

CO2 Is Safer Than Many Other Refrigerants

Most materials and chemicals used in refrigeration can be dangerous, and CO2 is no different. However, CO2 is a lot safer than many other refrigerants.

Although a high concentration of CO2 can cause breathing problems simply because of lack of oxygen, unlike many other refrigerants, CO2 is actually non-toxic. Again, while leaks of CO2 should be repaired quickly, in an open air environment, danger is lower than for toxic refrigerants.

Going further, CO2 is also non-flammable and non-explosive, making it very safe in industrial settings, especially if there’s a risk that it could come into contact with flames. While R404 is only flammable under certain conditions, it’s obviously safer to work with something that isn’t flammable under any conditions, and that’s CO2.

CO2 Can Be More Cost Effective As A Refrigerant

A CO2 based refrigeration system can also be a lot less expensive than a traditional system. Although some components to a CO2 refrigeration system can be more expensive, the overall system is less expensive and less expensive to run.

First, it can be noted that CO2 is effectively a waste product of a lot of industrial processes. This means it’s abundant and more importantly inexpensive. This keeps annual costs down. Adding to this, CO2 doesn’t corrode most materials, which can help keep other maintenance costs down.

In relation to installation, CO2 is much more dense than other refrigerants, which allows it to operate effectively with smaller pipe sizes and smaller compressors. This saves on not only material and equipment, but also the footprint of where to house the equipment; warehouse space is expensive, after all. So although certain aspects of CO2 refrigeration equipment can be higher, the savings generally outweigh the extras.

Find Out If CO2 Refrigeration Is Right For Your Business

Although we believe CO2 based refrigeration is great for most modern industrial refrigeration applications, we also don’t believe in a one size fits all approach. Every project needs to consider the size, the overall budget, site specifications, and other constraints. CO2 based refrigeration does have its drawbacks. For example, since it operates at higher pressures, it can be more prone to leakage. There are a number of technical aspects to how CO2 behaves in refrigeration situations that may make it unsuitable for certain applications.

Feel free to get in touch to discuss your needs. We’d be happy to provide advice.

How Mezzanine Levels Are Supported

When you’re talking about warehouse storage, sometimes you need to take advantage of the vertical space and install a mezzanine storage level. A mezzanine is simply another level built above the warehouse floor. It can be used for storage, to house an office, to reclaim the space underneath it, and much more. When used properly, mezzanines can add a lot to a warehouse.

A big benefit of a mezzanine level in a warehouse is that they’re supported independently of the building that they sit in. This means that modifications don’t need to be made to the structure of the warehouse that they’re in. Because of this, they’re easy to erect and also easy to dismantle when it’s time to leave a warehouse and do a make good.

All that being said, there are different ways to support a mezzanine depending on what it’s being used for and what you’re trying to accomplish with it. Let’s explore how a mezzanine is typically supported in a warehouse situation. We’re always happy to provide advice for the right kind of mezzanine for a business, but having an idea of what’s possible may give you some ideas.

Mezzanines Supported Sigma Section

Sigma section is steel material that is strong but modular. Because of this, mezzanine levels that are supported by sigma section allow for long spans but are also relatively fast to construct because of the modular nature of the building material.

Although it is modular in nature, modifications can still be done to mezzanines built of sigma sections, however, the modifications can be limited. All in all, sigma section mezzanines are a good balance between large span mezzanines that are cost effective and easy to install with some limitations.

Since the sigma section mezzanines allow for large spans, they provide a lot of space underneath the mezzanine themselves. This can be a good way to reclaim main warehouse floor space for plant equipment, picking and packing, or any other activity, thereby increasing the overall floorspace of the warehouse itself.

Mezzanines Supported By Structural Steel

A mezzanine supported by structural steel affords similar advantages to sigma supported mezzanines, with the added advantage of being completely customisable. Since the design and construction of a structural steel supported mezzanine levels is not modular though, the steel supports need to be custom fabricated for the project.

Although the custom fabrication of the structural steel elements of the mezzanine can happen off-site, it means that the overall time it takes to build a structural steel supported mezzanine is generally longer than for a sigma section supported mezzanine. However, once the structural steel is manufactured, the actual onsite installation of the mezzanine takes a similar amount of time.

Structural steel supported mezzanines are great for areas where complete customisation is needed. This may because unusual or very large span lengths are needed or if they need to built as a strange shape to fit in with the rest of warehouse.

Mezzanines Supported By Pallet Racking

Pallet racking can also be used to support a mezzanine level, allowing for shelving, general storage, or even more pallet racking above the mezzanine floor. With a pallet racking supported mezzanine, the main advantage is that the space above pallet racking is reclaimed for other warehouse related activities; warehouses typically have very high ceilings and the vertical space in them can often go unused.

However, since there’s pallet racking below the mezzanine floor, pallet racking supported mezzanines aren’t afforded a large empty space underneath like with other mezzanine floors. While this may not be a problem for some warehouse situations, others need the empty space.

Mezzanines With More Than One Support Type

Mezzanines don’t need to be supported by one thing and one thing only.

A mezzanine can be designed to have different supports, whether that’s all three of the above or a combination of two of them. This suits situations where the mezzanine may be spanning different sections of a warehouse with different uses. In this way, the mezzanine may have a section with pallet racking underneath it and then a large empty section underneath for other storage.

Mezzanines with a variety of different supports are often more bespoke projects, but because of this are completely built for purpose and can add a lot of benefit to a business.

Talk To Us About The Right Mezzanine For Your Business

Choosing the right mezzanine for your warehouse space can be difficult. We can advise on the right mezzanine for your space whether you have already decided on a specific part of your warehouse or if you just know you need more floor space but you don’t know where.

There are quite a few options when it comes to mezzanine storage, where to put them, and how to install them. And we’re here to help with that.