February 6

Making The Best High Density Mobile System

Categories: Storage, Tips,

You are in the market for a more efficient way to store you 'stuff'.  You have a lot of it, and you don't have the space to continue to store it the way you have been.  You have seen or heard about high density mobile storage systems, but you are wondering what to look for when shopping this kind of equipment.  You've come to the right place.  Here we will give you an overview of mobile system components, what makes one system better than another, and how to make a good choice when it comes to your purchase.

First, let's look at the three basic assemblies that make up a mobile system.  The track/decking assembly is the base on which everything else rides, much like a railroad track system.  Continuing the railroad analogy, carriages are the equivalent of flat cars and the shelving/racking is designed to accommodate the storage of your 'stuff' (whatever that might be).  Now, let's look a little closer.

Since the track system carries all the weight, it is critical that it be installed perfectly level and that it be continuously supported.  Most mobile systems are installed atop concrete floors (a typical wooden floor structure may not carry the load).  Most concrete floors are neither level, or uniform, over the length that a mobile system might take, say 40 feet.  We have seen poured concrete floors out of level by as much as 3" over that span.  

To insure that the track is installed at level, insist that a laser level be used by the installer.  It is the most accurate way to level anything.  Notice in the detail drawing of the track the 'leveling screws'.  These are what the installer uses to adjust the track housing to perfect level. 

Once leveled, high strength non-shrink grout is packed into the void between the track housing and the existing floor, the entire length of the track.  This creates the strongest possible base for the system.  Be aware that some manufacturers use this type of grouting, rather they will want to use metal or wood shims, or in some cases simply adjustment screws. You want the best possible foundation for your system, be sure you get a grouted track.

Notice the rail, it rests in the track housing and is made of hardened steel.  The wheels of the carriages run on the rails not on the track housings.  

Unless your system is small, your tracks will have splices.  To insure a smooth transition you want a positive method aligning adjoining tracks.  That is the purpose of the splice alignment pins , they align adjoining track housings.  It is also desired to stagger the splices, from track housing to rail and from track to track.  

In order to create a flush floor around the rails decking is installed between the tracks.  Suitable decking includes 3/4" high density (45 lb.) industrial particle board, 3/4" plywood, or flame retardant materials. Decking should attached on each end on the track housing to insure proper height alignment and thus create a flush fit, leaving no gaps or spaces.  Decking should be supported between the tracks using 2" wide steel channels placed under the decking on approximately 12" on center, the steel channels are supported by high strength non-shrink grout.  There should be a neoprene gasket that fills the void between the rail and the decking.  The flange of the carriage wheel will depress this gasket, while normal foot traffic or hand carts will not.  The ramp should be ADA compliant.  

Moveable carriages are typically either steel or aluminum.  Whichever the material, the carriages should be of a welded construction, designed to support 1000 lbs. per linear carriage foot.  In some cases, a lighter duty carriage may be sufficient for the materials being stored.  Carriages should be painted and finished with a high quality, powder coat paint in textured finish.  Carriages over eight feet in length will have splices which are bolted together and maintain proper alignment.  Carriage cross members should be a C-shape design for extra regidity.  The construction of the carriage top should allow the shelving to be securely anchored.

Wheels should be a minimum of 5" in diameter, precision ground, balanced and constructed from solid steel for a smooth operation.  Guide wheels are machined with flanges on both sides to insure that the carriage 'tracks' true along the rails.  A minimum of four guide wheels should be provided for each moveable carriage.  Each wheel should be fitted with two permanently sealed and shielded bearings housed in a self-aligning flanged pillow block.   

To prevent carriage 'racking' all wheels on the drive side of the carriage should be driven via a continuous length drive shaft.  A mechanical assist carriage will use a drive handle to move, we find that a three spoke design is more convenient for the user than a single spoke handle.  As the handle is turned, carriages move by means of a chain and sprocket reduction drive system.  All chains and sprockets should be concealed for safety.  The gear ratio of the system should be variable, dependent on the length and weight of the materials to be stored atop the carriage.  There should be a conveniently located lock feature that prevents movement of the carriage.

Optional end panels, on the operator end of each row, can be either steel or laminate to compliment your decor.  Steel offers the advantage of easier removal should maintenance be required on the drive assembly of the carriage.

The shelving/racking used on top your carriages will be based on your stuff, take a look here for examples. There is another important consideration when it comes to selecting high density mobile storage equipment, that is experience.  Be sure to check out how long your potential vendor has been in the mobile storage business.  

Now that you know a little more about mobile systems, are you ready to get rolling on your project?  If so, pick up the phone and give us a call.

316 942-4100

If you prefer you can send us a quick email, or give us more details on our via our Request A Consultation form.  



Return to blog