Why do inspections on your storax mobile racking ?

NEWS & MEDIA | 01 December 2011

Why do inspections on your storax mobile racking ?

Getting a proper inspection done costs money. Then, when you get the report, you kind of know that there will be repairs to be done that will suck the life out of your maintenance budget. So why bother?
Mechanical trip bar damaged
This trip bar has been hit and needs urgent attention

Storax mobile racking is designed to last under reasonable conditions. The first system installed in South Africa was still going strong more than 20 years after it was installed. There are systems in Europe that have been operating well for over 30 years.

But these systems have been looked after. Time has been made to service and maintain them even when the cold store is busy. The floors are kept clean, the pallets are properly stacked and the forklift drivers do not drive into the bases.

I sometimes make the comparison between mobiles and cars. Most car owners take their cars to a garage for services. It is understood that if the oil isn’t changed sometimes the engine will eventually seize. Mobiles are different only in the fact that the garage has to come to them for obvious reasons. But servicing is essential.

If regular maintenance is not done, the system eventually stops working, or works badly. This frustrates the operators who then find ways of getting to product by overriding or dismantling the safety features, by jamming contactors or by doing a whole host of other undesirable things. These innovations then degrade the system further and the vicious cycle continues.

Storax panel has been vandalised
This Storax panel has been vandalised.
It needs urgent attention

Eventually, when a repair quote is received from Barpro, the cost is high. This encourages the local maintenance team to attempt the repairs themselves. With respect, most of these repairs only make the situation worse as all the implications are not fully understood.

Don’t get me wrong, we don’t mind operators doing their own repairs. So long as they have been properly trained. In fact, we have developed training courses for onsite maintenance staff, but very few companies ask for presentations. We have also developed training courses for operators which we give to staff when a system is commissioned. But operators come and go and often we come across situations where operators do not know how the mobiles are supposed to work. Indeed an untrained operator is especially prone to taking shortcuts and overriding the safety features.

To encourage preventative maintenance and in response to customer requests we have now appointed a field service technician who will be based in Gauteng. His training will start next week. Barpro have been phoning clients to suggest inspections as experience suggests that on-site maintenance needs to be checked by a Barpro trained technician on at least an annual basis. Otherwise, the pressures of business lead to the repairs either not being done or not being done correctly.

Regular inspections on the mobile racking mean lower long term maintenance costs and a far longer economic life for the system itself. If this is not a sufficient reason to do maintenance inspections, then Health and Safety considerations should be, as damage to bases and racking constitutes a threat to the safety of employees.

If you want to find out quickly if your Storax mobiles are being properly looked after, ask the following questions.

1.Do I know where the Storax handbook is kept?
2. Have the current operators attended a Barpro training course?
3. Is the preventative maintenance schedule in the handbook being followed?

If the answer to any of the above is no, then you can be pretty sure that your system needs attention.

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