Article originally appeared on HOJ.net
At 7:09AM on March 18, 2020, a 5.7 magnitude earthquake came roaring through the Salt Lake Valley. The Richter scales hadn’t seen a quake that big since 1992. The valley turned into a tidal wave and homes and businesses shook from their foundations all the way up to their roofs.
One particular business in the earthquake’s path was Thatcher Group, one of the largest manufacturers of chemicals and mineral acids used in medical disinfectants, Clorox products, and pharmaceuticals to name just a few. Millions of pounds of these materials are processed through their Salt Lake facilities every year.
With barrels full of corrosive liquids sitting 25 feet high up on racking, Senior Process Engineer, Tim Lawton, wondered if he was going to enter a HAZMAT war zone at work that day. To his astonishment, their facilities hardly saw a scratch. The only thing that fell from any of the racking in their warehouse was an empty 55-gallon drum. He knew at that moment something had to be said about the structural durability of their pallet racking.
“Obviously one or two drums coming down is one thing, but if there was a whole Jenga collapse it would be a nightmare.” – Tim Lawton, Senior Process Engineer at Thatcher
“There were three guys on the floor when the earthquake hit. During the shake, all the power went out, leaving the entire facility pitch black. After everything settled down we walked around with flashlights in our hands. Absolutely nothing stood out to me that was different or broken.” – Mason Carroll, Warehouse Manager at Thatcher
Rewind to four years ago when Thatcher approached Hoj Innovations in hopes to better utilize their space and to make it safer. “If you would’ve seen the racking that was in here before, all of our inventory would be all over the floor if we didn’t make the necessary upgrades,” exclaimed Lawton. It was a much needed facelift to an already tired-looking racking solution.
HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT SEISMIC REQUIREMENTS? PLEASE CONTACT US. WE HAVE INDUSTRY EXPERTS THAT CAN GET YOU EXACTLY WHAT YOU NEED TO HELP MINIMIZE THE EFFECTS OF AN EARTHQUAKE ON YOUR BUSINESS.
Working closely with Hoj’s design and engineering team, narrower and much taller pallet racking was suggested. Not only would it allow them to store inventory in a tighter space, but also store heavier items on top shelves while staying well within safety guidelines, even in an earthquake. The only way this was going to be achieved was to install TubeRack.
TubeRack is a patented racking solution from Nucor Warehouse Systems Industries that has proven to withstand harsh warehousing conditions. From forklifts ramming into their footings and earthquakes shaking their frames, the bones typically remain strong. Why? TubeRack is well known for its stronger, safer, and smarter solution to warehouse racking. With its dual-moment frame, it allows flexibility to all areas. It has the ability to flex front-to-back and side-to-side. With every component bolted together, it won’t shake as much as typical welded racking solutions would during an earthquake. Having everything bolted together allows for smoother movement, keeping inventory safe. Though this solution could be more expensive than others, the thicker steel is known to withstand almost anything in its path.
“When we got the new plans from Hoj, there were some questions about how much it was going to cost. But we knew we would be well prepared to weather a potential storm. After what happened on March 18th, all of us felt reassured we made the right decision.” – Mason Carroll, Warehouse Manager at Thatcher
“Working with Hoj Innovations and their entire team made our decision-making very smooth. We had eyes on everything from concept and design to final installation. We knew what we were getting and what to expect every step of the way. We couldn’t be happier with the results.” – Tim Lawton, Senior Process Engineer at Thatcher
Though many businesses try to tackle pallet racking on their own, they can easily get into trouble down the road if they are not careful. If you’re searching for racking solutions, make sure you’re well aware of the different racking types and seismic measurements. If you don’t know where to start, we can help. For Thatcher, a more expensive solution saved them millions of dollars in potentially lost inventory. Doing it right the first time can make a big difference when a catastrophe strikes.