Overhead cranes come in very handy in a lot of warehouses—so long as you have the room.

Frequently seen in the shipping/receiving areas of most warehouses to help move goods along, as well as areas where heavier goods tend to be stored or relocated to most often (including the stuff that is too big for forklifts), crane rails can be a big help in even the most cramped of quarters.

Of course, before you install any of these, you need to make sure you have room for them first. Installing a crane rack will require some fairly specific space planning and reorganization to make sure your warehouse has the room and the free space to safely use a crane without damaging anything or rendering it unusable. If you’re thinking a crane rail might make your warehouse more productive and easier to navigate, here’s a few things to keep in mind when you need to clear space for it:

 

How far will it travel?

The first question is exactly how long your crane is going to be. Are you keeping it just at the shipping/receiving area or will it travel all the way back to the pallet racks across the warehouse? Is it going to focus on a specific area such as incoming products, larger items like lumber and piping, or outgoing pallets? Will it need access to an area already blocked off by wire shelving or anything already installed? Plan your crane’s route first before you get too much farther into the designing process to save yourself a lot of trouble later.

 

Where will the support beams go?

A big part of space planning for crane rails is knowing where the pillars and beams are going. Most rails have concrete or steel beams that need to be firmly secured into the ground, and while it sounds like a pain you may be able to use this to your advantage. These beams can become an easy way to provide physical traffic barriers for foot traffic and forklift drivers, and you can even use the beams to help delineate new installations like gravity flow conveyors or anything else that can span the length of the floor.

 

What kind of safety implements will you need?

Safety is tantamount to any warehouse operation no matter what kind of products you carry, and this goes double when crane rails enter the picture. After the path of the crane and all needed rails and beams have been plotted, this is a good time to try and figure out the safest routes for your workers. Leave room for industrial guard rails along the path of the crane to stop people from walking under it while it’s in motion, and make sure you have ways of implementing traffic stops to create ‘intersections’ in areas where traffic is unavoidable but the crane is going to be passing through anyway.

 

What weight requirements did the manufacturer provide?

Finally, all crane rails are going to have their own safety restrictions for weight, length, and the like. Make sure these requirements are followed both during installation and during all usage afterwards. Train your staff on what they’re allowed to keep on the crane (and how much of it) to ensure no further damage or confusion about what can be kept where.

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