Hi-Cube Blog

Six must-knows about pallet racks

If you manage a company that needs organized inventory storage space, you may have started shopping Google for a quick, simple pallet racking solution you could install and forget about. But if you live in Vancouver B.C., you’ll quickly realize how complicated this really is. Few pallet rack manufacturers can discuss your actual storage needs and local code requirements with you so that you get the right solution that will last and grow with you as your business grows.

Here at Hi-Cube Storage, our job is making sure our clients get the right storage solution that fits in the budget and complies with local building code requirements. As a distributor of shelving and racking products, we walk our clients through the following 6 steps to make sure they get exactly the solution that’s right for them:


1. Choose a Pallet Racking Distributor, Not a Manufacturer

A pallet racking distributor like Hi-Cube has storage consultants who get you access to a broader range of solutions than one manufacturer can provide. Our storage consultants ask questions so we understand your accessibility requirements, product shelf life, local building and seismic codes and more. And our storage consultants brainstorm together on each client’s storage challenges. The end result is the perfect pallet racking solution for your needs.


2. Installing New Pallet Racking or Adding to Existing Racks?

  • If you are installing new pallet racks, we’ll need to know the dimensions and conditions of the storage space (warehouse) including soil reports and sprinklers system.
  • If you are adding to existing pallet racking, we need to know the type of racking you already have so we can find a matching solution. To identify your current racking, ideally provide a picture of the rack, particularly the space where the upright meets the beam (see picture below):


3. What are You Storing?

It’s essential to know the following to get the right storage:

  • If you pick product by hand, you need shelving. If you use a forklift, you need pallet racking. Learn more about the important differences between pallet racking and shelving in this blog
  • How many pallets or boxes do you need to store? Are the boxes uniformly sized or do they differ?


4. What are the Weights and Sizes of Your Pallets?

Please use the picture below to determine the right measurements.


5. Know Your Building Codes for Pallet Racks in B.C.

Most cities in B.C. require building permits for shelving or pallet racking taller than 8 feet, and every city has fire, seismic and building codes to follow. If your pallet racking is taller, we will provide a system engineered to comply with local seismic/earthquake code requirements:

6. Know the Lingo

If you understand pallet racking terms, you’ll have a faster response when determining the type of pallet racking that’s best for you:

  • Beam—A horizontal structural element that resists bending; know the height and depth if possible.
  • Beam Locking Device or Beam Connector—A pin, bolt or other mechanism that secures the beam to the column.
  • Upright or Frame—This structural assembly carries both vertical and horizontal loads to the floor. It usually consists of two columns and bracing members between the columns. The rack beams are attached to the frame columns and carry the loads to the columns; know the height and depth, if possible.

Pallet racks are an investment, so make sure you get the right solution the first time! Contact your Hi-Cube storage consultant to get started. We understand racking and will advise what is necessary to achieve your storage requirements.

Hi-Cube raised $11,000 at the 2017 Golf Tournament

On May 30, 2017, Hi-Cube was the Title Sponsor, for the fourth year in a row, of the Annual CMHDS/Hi-Cube Charity Golf Tournament held to benefit the Canuck Place Children’s Hospice.

The rain didn’t keep CMHDS members and guests away from the golf course, as they played for such a great charity. The event raised $11,000, the most in history, for Canuck Place Children’s Hospice.

This event was a great day for industry competitors to forget about the stress in every day business life and coming together to raise money for such a worthy cause. The day was also a celebration of the 75th anniversary of the CMHDS..

Hi-Cube understands the importance of investing in your community, and sponsoring this tournament is one way to give back each year. The $11,000 raised has been handed out to the Canuck Place Children’s Hospice.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to such a great cause.!

Benefits of retrofitting your current Pallet Racking System

As anyone who runs a business in Vancouver knows, space is always a concern—particularly businesses that move many pallets worth of product in and out of their warehouses on a regular basis. Storage space is always tight. Most warehouses in B.C. have a Drive-In pallet rack system, so by retrofitting this type of racking you will generate more storage within the same square footage.

Flow-Rail Pallet Racks Maximize the Space You Already Have

If your business is growing, but your warehouse space can’t, retrofitting your current pallet racks to flow-rail helps you get more pallets in and out of the space you already have—vertically and horizontally. Our flow-rail pallet racking system can be stacked 10 pallets deep, whereas other systems typically only stack 6 at a time in same space. Fortunately, the installation process to retrofit your current pallet racking system to flow-rail is relatively simple; flow-rail can be installed on your existing racking!. Once it’s installed, it’s rust and maintenance free. Also, there is no need to add height to make the Hi-Cube flow rails work; they don’t use gravity as most other systems do.

This is how flow rail works:

When pallets are placed onto the tracks with your forklift, the loaded pallet pushes against the one on the front making the chain turn. (LIFO System, last in, first out).
When a pallet is unloaded, chains slide in the opposite direction. As front pallet exits the system, pallets in back automatically come forward.

A Last-In, First Out System with different SKUs

Almost every business needs an efficient way to enable rotation on a “last-in, first-out” basis to reduce waste (particularly businesses dealing with expiration-dated product). Hi-Cube’s flow rail pallet racks make the product rotation process a breeze with their rust-free, durable design that easily withstands refrigeration and our damp Vancouver B.C. climate. Also flow rail allows the storage of different size of pallets taking advantage of every inch of your racking.

Flow-Rail Makes Life Easier and Safer for Forklift Drivers and Everyone Else 

Pallets can be loaded and unloaded in approx. 75 percent less time on flow rail than on a traditional drive-in racking system. Lift-trucks no longer enter inside the bay therefore wear and tear of lift trucks and uprights are significantly reduced.

Hi-Cube has done more than 6,000 installations of pallet racking in B.C., so we understand the local building codes, seismic requirements for B.C. pallet racks, occupational health and safety regulations, climate and space concerns of any warehouse.

Enjoy the benefits of flow rail pallet racking in your warehouse—it’s an investment that saves you time, money and hassle for years to come!

See our recent project utilizing flow-rail storage system here.

New Regulations from WorkSafeBC about your storage racks

Businesses all over B.C. have trusted and relied upon Hi-Cube’s efficient warehouse and racking solutions,
which is why we wanted to be the first to tell you about the new regulations from WorkSafeBC about storage racks.


Early in 20018, new and revised sections will appear in the “Occupational Health and Safety Regulations” regarding storage racks It is critical that you understand what is needed in order to comply with the new regulations.

While the entire regulations changes can be viewed online, here are two things you need to know that will impact your business:

  • Employers must maintain regular inspections by qualified storage experts while also identifying and providing maintenance to identify wear, corrosion, damage, missing or incompatible parts, or signs of fatigue; all things that prevent unsafe working conditions.
  • Employers must ensure labels and instructions for loading, rated capacity, unloading, inspecting and more are easily visible.

Be informed, be prepared, be safe, we can help!

More about new regulations

Everything You Need to Know About Selective Pallet Racking

In the following document, I put together basic information with everything you need to know about planning and executing a basic selective rack pallet racking storage system. In addition, I included some local specific information about installing pallet racking in British Columbia.

Racking is a relatively common storage product, typically utilized to increase cubic capacity in a warehouse. We are going to explore some of the basic terminology associated with pallet racking, and some critical information required to install racking safely and in compliance with local bylaws.

Let’s assume we are storing pallets measuring 40” w x 48” d x 50”h. Our goal is to store as many of these pallets in a given area as possible. This example is going to assume our inventory is quite varied, so we have many pallets holding different products.This results in a basic selective rack layoutwhich give us as many varied pick locations as possible. If we had many pallets holding the same product,we might design a higher density, lower selectivity system through the use of mobile, pushback, or drive-in racking technology.Today, we are just going to deal with basic, selective racking.

A bay of selective, single deep pallet racking has vertical frames (two) and horizontal beams. The number of beams will be determined by how many levels you are planning to incorporate into your bay of racking. If, for example, you had a 16’ frame, and you wanted to utilize as much of the frame as possible with the pallet size previously mentioned, you would end up with three beam levels (each beam level includes two beams, one front and one back), for a total of four storage levels when you include the floor. Typically, a beam size for this application would measure 96” in length, to allow for two pallets per level. The height of the beam is determined by weight capacity required. Therefore, the more weight you are storing, the larger your beam will become.

This bay of selective racking is going to give us a total storage capacity of eight pallets (two pallets on floor, and three beam levels with two pallets/beam level for a total of eight pallets). Should you require storage for more than eight pallets, you would use add-on bays to expand your capacity. Each add-on bay would include one frame, along with six beams.

Code Compliancy/Seismic Considerations in British Columbia

After addressing the issue of what kind and how much pallet racking is required to satisfy your storage capacity requirements, attention must be paid to the building code and seismic requirements involved in installing your pallet racking.

As a rule, any racking that stands over 96” in height must be engineered and certified for seismic suitability. In addition, attention must be paid to the fire suppression requirements for your specific commodity, or goods stored.

If you have any questions regarding Selective Rack or any other type of pallet rack, please email me at wsnyder@hicube.com, I will be happy to assis you.

Pallet Rack and Shelving are different Storage Solutions

The need for racking and shelving in Vancouver varies by organization. Understanding the differences between pallet rack and shelving makes it easier to plan efficient storage.

Sometimes people who work in warehouses or other storage facilities use the terms synonymously, but pallet rack and shelves are quite different.

Difference in Purpose & Appearance

Pallet Rack: If you need to use a forklift or other mechanical equipment to raise or lower pallets carrying heavy loads, then pallet rack is required.

There are three main parts to pallet rack that you need to understand:

1) Beams: They are the horizontal supports between the two vertical columns. Most common size is 96” The height of the beam is determined by weight capacity required; the more weight you are storing, the larger your beam will become.

2) Uprights: Vertical columns holding the beams. Most common size is 96”. Anything over 96″ in height must be engineered and certified for seismic suitability.

3) Add-ons: It connects to the Starter upright. It contains one upright and usually the same amount of beams.

Note: Considering that B.C. is a high potential city for seismic activity, all storage racks systems over 8 feet require permits from the building department.

Industrial shelving, it’s the right choice if the goods and materials to be stored must be easily accessible by hand. The shelving storage may be stationary or mechanized for movement.

Bins, dividers, crates, containers and many more different storage components are use with industrial shelving for organizing parts. Shelves provide solid surfaces that are easy accessible from both sides ideal for double-entry aisles. It is a great solution for storing materials such as auto accessories, books, medical supplies, small electronics and storage cartons.

A museum, university library or law enforcement evidence locker would mostly use shelf storage. In contrast, a distributor’s warehouse would primarily require pallet racks to stock a large inventory of multi-pack merchandise.

Maximum Storage Space

One way that warehouses maximize space is by stacking pallet racks from floor to ceiling. Hydraulic equipment for lifting and lowering heavy weights make this vertical strategy possible.

For shelving, mechanization is used in a different way to save space. Mechanizing banks of shelves to move together or apart minimizes the amount of square footage needed for aisles.

Effective Decision Making

A business or organization may need both shelving and pallet racks to meet all its storage needs. Creating an effective, customized solution involves understanding the needs of a specific business. Contact Hi-Cube if you require a reliable and cost efficient solution that will meet all of your storage requirements.

Hi-Cube & CHMDS present $9000 to Canuck Place Children’s Hospice

On Tuesday May 31st, 2016 over 100 CMHDS members and guests descended on the Guildford Golf & Country Club in Surrey, B.C.  for the Annual “CMHDS / Hi-Cube Storage Charity Classic Golf Tournament & Dinner.”

With a very positive weather that morning of Tuesday 31st May 2016, all industry acquaintances gathered to enjoy a day of golf and laughter. Industry competitors, clients and guests enjoyed and contributed to raise $9,000 for the Canuck Place Children Hospice.

On Thursday June 23rd, on hand for the $9000 check presentation was Larry Robertson, President of Hi-Cube, Pat O’Connor, Vice-President of CMHDS and Drew Church, President of CMHDS.

It is the third year for Hi-Cube as the title sponsor of the CMHDS Golf Tournament and we will continue our support for the children in the upcoming Golf tournaments.

Thank you for the support to the 2015 Hi-Cube and CMHDS Golf Tournament

Once again, Hi-Cube Storage Products is proud of our role as Title Sponsor of the 33rd annual CMHDS Golf Tournament held at the Coyote Creek Golf Course on May 26, 2015. With the support of our suppliers and our ‘hole’ sponsors, we came through with flying colors, raising $8,000 and breaking last year’s record of $5,000.

This year’s event included a bittersweet tribute to Brian Devereaux, our friend and colleague. The entire amount raised will go to Canuck Place Children’s Hospice in his memory. I know that Brian would be pleased to know that he was honored in this way. The Canuck Place provides respite, and support for families who are living with progressive life-threatening conditions. It is a place of comfort and compassion, where children can experience the simple joy of being a child.

Without a doubt, May is always a beautiful month for a golf event, and this year, over 110 CMHDS members and guests gathered for a fun-filled day of golf, friendship, food and entertainment. The players were fortified with free snacks and beverages and were given pre-filled goodie bags, and mugs in appreciation for participating in this annual challenge.

In Brian’s memory golf balls were sold with his name on them with the proceeds going towards the grand total.

Taking a break from work is always a treat, especially when it happens on a spring day, and there is a chance to mingle with industry colleagues on an informal basis while also raising money for a good cause. The tournament went off without a hitch and ended with a great dinner and a 50/50 raffle to augment the event’s fundraising success.

Hi-Cube looks forward to continuing our role as Title Sponsor and Event Coordinator. We believe that supporting our community in this way is a reflection of our company values and are grateful for the opportunity to join the volunteers and sponsors that made this year’s event such a great success!

8 questions for your Auto Part Department to see if it is profitable

Let us say this Transformer stops in your dealership for some parts. Hopefully, he will transform into a human before he inadvertently creates an exponentially larger doorway. Well, if you don’t have his giant-sized nuts, or bolts in stock, you will convert this transformer customer into a loss instead of a profit.

The parts department determines whether the overall auto dealership revenue and profit will be worthy. Therefore, you must always make sure that you focus on profitability. In order to have a profitable business, you have to make sure that everything is organized, customer service satisfaction is necessary, and retention is as high in quality as possible. These things affect the long-term profitability of the business.

Ask yourself the following questions to determine if your auto parts department is profitable:

1.    Does your staff spend more time searching for parts or providing customer service to customers?
2.    Do you turn away customers because a product is out of stock?
3.    Is your inventory turnover level 12 months or longer?
4.    Is the auto parts department producing a ROI that is not desired?
5.    Is there excessive capital in obsolete or slow moving inventory?
6.    Where is your customer service index in industry standards? Is it below industry standards?
7.    Do you have inventory in areas that are not dedicated to storage?
8.    Can you improve your inventory organization and movement?

If any of your answers were yes, it is time for you to come up with a different storage system.

You could compact your existing shelving/racking utilizing a movable storage which would allow you to 1) free up space and 2) increase your storage capacity, to serve all type of customers, yes! even transformers.

The ActivRAC is one of the Spacesaver storage systems that come highly recommended. This is because it features built in mobilized carriages, which move side to side on a rail system. The industrial grade carriages can be configured with your existing or new shelving/racking. The system allows users to decide how many carriages they want to move simultaneously, which means that you are able to have doubled the amount of space in the same space you normally used for storage.

Regardless of the size of the auto parts, from the small spare part to the big bulky tires for transformers, ActivRAC is able to help.  It is able to hold up to 30,000 pounds in each carriage and up to 60,000 pounds in the back-to-back section.

Lern more about ActivRac here and gain all sort of customers, including Optimus Prime and my kids favourite Bumbleblee.

Maintenance and safety for roll up doors

Roll up doors maintenance has long been a contention all around the world between companies and door manufacturers. Companies want a sufficient system for warehouse and factory operations for employees and vehicle traffic. Yet this system comes at a cost if maintenance issues are not addressed. Door manufacturers are using the latest technologies to build better roll up door systems. However, they have not entirely focused their efforts in offering programs designed to keep these doors running efficiently on a long-term basis while addressing health and safety in the workplace.

Addressing safety and maintenance

Companies and manufacturers are realizing the costly consequences when doors break down. As a demand for service support rises, roll up door manufacturers are recognizing three main reasons for this trend:

  • complexity of newer equipment
  • changes to legislation
  • the sector’s commitment to improving operational safety

Health and safety are now being taken very seriously. With workplace accidents on the rise caused by roll up doors, companies are seeking comprehensive training for their staff to reduce liabilities. This focus on roll up door safety comes at a time when manufacturer-backed preventative maintenance programmes for forklifts have become standard practice. So it comes as no surprise that the same model is now being applied to roll up doors — particularly on the loading bay where they are often integrated with truck safety systems both within the loading bay and for delivery trucks backed up to the docks.

Addressing door malfunctions

There are a host of reasons why doors will malfunction or be damaged. Malfunctioning sensors, disconnected or broken control cables, failed auto reverse functions, and impact from delivery trucks and forklifts are only a few issues affecting the function of industrial doors.

Companies should adopt a two-pronged approach in addressing these issues that lead to significant costs in terms of disruption to production processes and/or delays to shipments. 1) Preventative maintenance that will minimize the likelihood of door failure, and 2) Improved safety culture focused on successfully training workers to prevent truck/door collisions rather than dealing with accidents after the event, even if the doors are the knock-out types.

Product innovation and safety training is paramount

The loading bay sector has rigorously sought new product innovations to reduce door damage and employee injuries. Product additions include photo electric cells on doors to prevent collisions with employees along with forklift-fitted sensors and alarms so trucks do not go through the wrong-sized doors.

Although these safety features are a welcome sight to have, they can only go so far. Therefore, a robust safety/training regime must be in place, especially during the seasonal rush of the holidays. Temporary staff who are only taken on to handle the holiday customer supply and demand do not have the awareness of safety protocols, resulting in more serious warehouse accidents involving industrial doors. Therefore, it is paramount for even temporary staff to become adequately trained.

Over the years, various kinds of doors have been developed to cut operational costs for several industries, including the food and pharmaceutical premises.

DYNACO, a very popular choice for roll up doors in warehouses, differentiate themselves by offering roll up doors with reinforced PVC vinyl curtain and no rigid components making it safe for workers and products. Their technology also possesses superior crash forgiveness. If, on impact, the door is dislodged from its side guides, the door automatically re-inserts itself with the push of a button. No costly downtime, no service call needed. A great combination of safety and low maintenance cost!

See how Dynaco doors work: