Storage Platform with Shelves and Security Cage

irregular shaped storage platform with internal stair

Storage platforms are a great way to add extra storage space to your facility by enabling you to take advantage of the unused space above to maximize your available space without needing to expand your facility.  The mezzanine probably itself isn’t the only thing you’ll need to think about when putting in a storage platform – you might want to put in some additional shelving or maybe some security cages while you’re at it.  We recently received some photos back from a project where we were able to assist the customer with all of this.

The Storage Platform

custom bi-parting slide gate

The custom bi-parting slide gate allowed us to center the gate for forklift access.

The storage platform itself was an irregular shaped 30’x31’6″ overall, including a 19’x11′ bump in to allow for easy access of the fork trucks at the bottom of the platform.  The customer requested an 11’5″ top of deck, which left us with 9’10” clearance height beneath our beam and c-section framing. They were planning on using the platform for mixed storage, with mostly light storage on shelves, but also the occasional pallet.  We designed the platform to accommodate a 125 psf live load and used a durable and cost effective B-deck skinned with Resindek LD deck surface. This gave them a smooth solid surface to roll their pallets across that could easily handle the point loads of their shelves.  We also included a custom bi-parting slide gate so we could position just where the customer wanted.

Shelves

shelving on storage platform

We added multiple bays of shelving above and below the platform to increase the customer’s available storage space.

While planning out their storage area, the customer determined that they were going to need some new shelves to go above and below the platform and provided us with a layout of what they were hoping to do.  We were able to provide them with 36 bays of various sizes of selves. We stuck with individual shelving units to afford them the flexibility to rearrange their layout if their needs change in the future. The clip style shelves helped minimize installation time, and the open shelves (lacking side and back walls) we provided helped keep the cost down while allowing them to place some larger items between two adjacent bays.

Security Cages

security cage below stair case

The welded wire panels were easily cut in the field to allow the staircase to pass through.

There were some materials the customer was going to store that needed to be secured.  They wanted to create two secure zones: one 6’x15′ two wall cage on top of the storage platform , and a 11’x11′ three wall cage the ground level beneath the stairs. The Quick Fence welded wire mesh partition we provided worked great because it went together quickly and was easy for the installers to cut in the field to fit around the staircase.

security cage on top of storage platform

We caged off a section on top of the deck as well for additional secure storage space.

The customer was really happy with the quality of the storage platform, and with the ease in which it all went together.  The next time you’re thinking of putting in a storage platform in your facility, let us provide you with an option to provide the shelves and cages as well.

Pedestrian Traffic Control Signs Mounted on Gates

While our Mezzanine Stair and Ladder Gates (MLG safety gates) are designed to meet OSHA fall protection requirements, they also work great as pedestrian traffic control gates. Below you can see that the design lends itself very easily to control pedestrian traffic flow to restricted locations. They are also a great way to get your message out. 

304 stainless steel MLG gate used for pedestrian traffic control with mounted signage

304 stainless steel MLG gate used for pedestrian traffic control with mounted signage

Your Message… Right Where You Need It

Our customer above had custom signs printed up that they riveted onto our stainless steel gate. After mounting the sign to our MLG gate, their message is front and center – right where they need it. Do you have cost concerns about using these at your location? It is easy to incorporate an advertisement for a local business with its logo/slogan to offset the cost of the gate and sign printing. While A-Mezz does not offer graphic printing, we have heard from customers that they have had it done for $30-100 per sign – depending on what material and options they choose, such as di-cutting they had selected from their printer. 

Rear view of MLG 304 stainless steel safety gate mounted to stairs with pedestrian traffic control sign.

Rear view of MLG 304 stainless steel safety gate mounted to stairs with pedestrian traffic control sign.

MLG gates are also a great place to have important safety information such as at the top of a ladder that accesses a confined space.

Stairwell Interruption Gate

Our MLG gates are also often used to comply with NFPA 101 – Life Safety Code as a stairwell interruption gate. The 2018 edition of NFPA 101 stipulates 7.7.3.2: “Stairs and ramps that continue more than one-half story below the level of discharge shall be provided with an approved means to prevent or dissuade occupants from traveling past the level of discharge during emergency building evacuation”

When descending a stairway, A-Mezz MLG gates are used where the stairs continue past the emergency exit. The gates stop panicked occupants from continuing down the stairs, past the exit point.  When ascending the stairs from below, anyone can simply walk through the gate to safety. Many customers have aluminum signs printed stating there is no exit past the gate and an arrow pointing to the exit location. 

While they were designed for fall protection applications, our MLG gates are much more versatile. Featuring quick shipping times, in-stock status, and low cost, MLG gates are ideal for many uses. Contact A-Mezz today for more details and a quote.

Better Options For Lift Out Gates

An old lift out gate in the wild.

I have a confession to make.  I really don’t like lift out gates.  Every time a customer asks me to put in a lift out gate on their platform, I get a sour taste in my mouth.  Today I want to talk a little about why I dislike them so much, and what other options exist.

Why I Dislike Lift Out Gates

My beef with lift out gates largely boils down to one thing:  safety. Lift out gate are surprisingly heavy. A 6′ wide lift out weldment weighs approximately 180 lbs.  They are large weldments and can be removed with a forklift. Asking your employees to remove one by hand is asking them to stand over the edge of the abyss and lift up an anchor.  It’s just not a safe option.  

If you are not removing them by forklift, there are a few things you can do to minimize the risk.  Your workers should tie off anytime they are manually removing or replacing the gate. They should grab a partner and lift the gate out in pairs.  If at all possible, I’d also recommend keeping the individual gates under 4′ wide each. The best thing we can do though, is recommend a different gate solution.

What Might Work Better

There are typically two main reasons why customers ask for a lift out gate: price and access.  Let’s look at these reasons and see if there’s something better we can recommend.

3-rail style bi-parting swing gate

A bi-parting swing gate like this would be safer and more cost effective then two small lift out sections of railing.

Probably the most common reason customers ask for a lift out gate is price.  They are hoping to save a buck and go with the least expensive option. A single lift out gate is the least expensive gate we can offer, but not by much.  A 6′ bi-parting swing gate is only a couple hundred dollars more than a single 6′ lift out gate, and is actually less expensive than a pair of 3′ wide lift out gates.  When looking at the overall cost of the platform, this is an extremely minor difference. If you have the space available, our standard pivoting mezzanine safety gate is only a couple hundred dollars more than the bi-parting swing gate and will always keep a line of safety railing between your workers and the edge.  If you’re trying to keep costs down as much as possible, these are the two gates I’d be looking at.

Vertical mezzanine gate in raised position

A vertical lifting mezzanine gate like this can have up to a 16′ clear opening, and we can set them up to share columns if you were hoping to have access across multiple adjacent bays.

Most of the other times a customer is requesting lift out gates, it has something to do with the flexibility of the access.  Perhaps they have something fairly large that they will need to put up on the deck. We can do a vertical lifting mezzanine gate that has a clear opening up to 16′ wide.  Perhaps the customer wanted to be able to access all across the front of the platform as opposed to funneling everything through one or two gate openings.  There is nothing stopping us from adding more gates all along the front.

Removable Railings

removable railing weldments

Sure we could do a removable rail using lift out gates, but these weldments are heavy and the price adds up quickly.

The only time we couldn’t solve the access issue with more gates or longer gates is if the object the customer is sending through the gate is longer than 16′.   If this is a frequent occurrence and you’re not able to crane the material onto the deck, then a line of lift out gates would be the best solution we currently have to offer.  

But what if this is one of those “blue moon” occurrences?  In this case, I would recommend you forgo the lift out gates and save yourself a significant amount of money.  Our typical 2-rail handrail is composed of hoops that are screwed into clips on uprights roughly every 8′. You can unscrew the hoops from the saddle clips. You can unbolt the uprights from the face of the mezzanine. We can design the railing to utilize smaller hoops so it’s easier to lift out individual sections. We can change our kick plate so it connects the uprights as opposed to the framing below the decking.  This way it’s not too difficult to remove and reattach the railing should you need to without the added expense of all the weldment sections.

So next time you’re thinking of putting in a lift out gate, let’s discuss it and see if we might be able to come up with a better solution.

Roof Stack Access with A-Mezz Catwalks and Ladders

A company contacted us because they needed safe roof stack access. The EPA required them  to do regular tests on their stacks to comply with the Clean Air Act, but they had no permanent, safe means of access.

 

When we went out to the site for a preliminary review, accessing their stack was no easy feat. We needed to use a lower extension ladder to reach the lowest roof and bring up another extension ladder to use on the lower roof to access the middle roof.

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To make matters worse, once we were on the middle roof, it wasn’t made with regular foot traffic in mind. We had to constantly be mindful of our step. Each metal roof panel groaned and flexed with each precarious step we took. Our goal was to keep the solution simple. It gets really easy to over-engineer a solution, but all that does is increase costs while not always providing a better product for the conditions.

What Were Our Options?

Our first thought was to have a fixed ladder extend from the lower roof to the middle roof, similar to their existing lower to upper caged ladder. We decided against that for a couple of reasons.  The first was that there was no back wall to mount a walk-thru ladder. This would make us need to increase materials and engineering time, creating a custom solution which would just add costs to the project. Another option was for mounting a ladder on the same wall as their existing ladder and having it exit onto the side. We chose against this because the exit location was far from the stack needing access and that would have greatly increased the size of the catwalk needed, thus increasing costs.

Fixed ladder from upper roof to middle roof for roof stack access

Fixed ladder from upper roof to middle roof for roof stack access

An Economical Solution

We decided that the best solution was to utilize their existing ladder from the lower to upper roof. We then would fabricate a ladder to access the mid roof from the upper roof, as they would already have a need to be on the upper roof to inspect stacks there. The upper roof had a low parapet that the client didn’t want people stepping on. Our fixed ladder had a step-across platform incorporated into it so their workers could step onto that instead of the parapet, allowing for safer access to the ladder while protecting the parapet flashing.

Our installed roof stack ladder and catwalk provides safe access under customer's budget

Our installed roof stack ladder and catwalk provides safe access under customer’s budget

We also fabricated a short catwalk and platform surrounding their stack. We designed the framing for the platform to mount onto their existing purlins with elongated supports as the platform extended to compensate for the roof slope. This allowed for a level, safe platform for their testing team to work from, eliminating the fear of slips in inclimate weather that can come from an iced up, sloped catwalk system. 

A Quick, Permanent Roof Stack Access Solution – Under Budget

Ultimately, we relocated the access ladder from original plans which allowed us to utilize our mostly standard ladder design. The location change also allowed for a smaller platform which allowed us to complete the project under the customer’s budget. This project took 9 weeks from the date we got approval drawings in the customer’s hands to the completion of installation.

Using the Roof of a Modular Office for Storage

office with storage above

The main purpose of the roof deck in a modular building is to form a membrane that holds the whole system together. Due to cost considerations, we typically design them with enough load capacity to support the lights and acoustical ceiling.  That doesn’t always have to be the case though. We can also design it so that the roof of your building can be used for light storage. I recently got some photos back on a project where the customer wanted to do just that.

top view

It was a pretty cluttered area, so hopefully the load bearing roof will give them some breathing room.

The customer wanted to put in an office for the maintenance manager and his team in order to cut down on the noise.  The corner of the facility where they were situated was already pretty cluttered and they didn’t want to lose any more space back there, so they came to us in hopes of putting in a modular office with enough load capacity on the roof to use it for long-term light storage.

interior wall with reception window

The sliding reception window allows the employees to easily communicate between offices.

The office was 20′ wide by 12′ deep.  They wanted to break it into two separate 10’x12′ offices, but they wanted to make it easy to communicate between offices, so we put in an internal partition wall with a sliding reception window.  

recessed beam hangers

Modular wall panels with structural connectors and hangers to support the recessed beams.

There were a few things we needed to do in order to support a 100 PSF live load on the deck. We needed to put 10″ c-sections spanning from the front to the back of the building attached to hangers in the ceiling plenum.  To support these c-sections, we used structural panel connectors between our wall panels as opposed to our typical tongue and groove or I-spline connections. While we could have gone with a 2-wall system due to the modular office’s location in the corner, we put a third wall along the back to support the c-sections instead of dropping columns to save the customer a little money as well.  Due to the size of the recessed c-sections we went with 9′ tall panels so the customer could maintain a 8′ clearance height in the room.

beam in the ceiling

A structural c-section was recessed into the ceiling plenum at every panel connection.

There were a few things we needed to do on top of the deck as well to finish it off.  We covered the corrugated roof deck with OSB so that the customer would have a smooth walking surface above.  We also fabricated and installed some surface mounted handrail and kick plate, as well as a spring loaded access gate to keep their workers from falling off the edge when moving around on the roof.  You would also need to put in a staircase to access the system, but the customer told us they were going to take care of their own egress.

looking onto the load bearing roof

The surface mounted handrail will help keep workers safe when moving around on top of the office

The system went together nice and quick.  Mechanical and electrical installation took a little less than a week, and the customer was really pleased with his new office. Now they just need to start moving things to the roof.

New Product: The Dock Defender Gate

Single rail defender dock gate - closed position

Spring is on its way.  Sunshine. Warmer weather. A gentle breeze carrying the scent of blossoms.  And along with it, a tendency to leave the loading dock doors open. But along with that fresh air also comes the risk of injury for your employees.  It’s a good idea to start thinking about how we can keep our employees from falling through those open dock doors.

A couple years back we introduced our current version of the loading dock gate.  Its compact, easy to use design protects your employees with a line of 2-rail handrail per OSHA.  But what about areas that have heavy fork truck traffic? OSHA handrail is designed to hold back a person leaning on it, but it’s not going to offer much resistance to a rolling fork truck.

opening single rail defender dock gate

After releasing the latch, the dock defender gate folds in half and swings out of the way.

Allow me to introduce the newest gate in our product line: the dock defender gate.  This heavy-duty gate system has been tested to stop a 13,500 lb fork truck moving at 6.5 mph.  Plus, when you need access, it folds in half and swings out of the way. It has either a single 42″ high beam or a double beam set up for additional security.  Standard opening widths are available in 6′, 8′, 9′, 10′, and 12′, but custom opening widths are available up to 16′. The dock defender gate ships out quickly in three pieces with all required hardware (including wedge anchors), making for a quick and easy installation.

2-rail defender dock gate

The Dock Defender gate si also available in a two rail configuration.

So go ahead.  Leave the doors open and enjoy the fresh air.  Let’s just do it in a safe manner.

Tool Cribs Cut Down Lost Time and Tools – A-Mezz

Do you want your workers to act and feel like professionals, or DIYers? Cut down lost time and tools with A-Mezz tool cribs.

A-Mezz can help you increase productivity and decrease waste with our lockable wire parts lockers and tool cribs. Made of high strength welded wire, our secure storage options will save you time and money and make your shop look more professional and clean.Photo of a missing part from a job

Why are lockable tool cribs important?

There is nothing worse than being in the middle of a project and realizing someone walked off with the tool or parts you need. While your productivity was at its peak, you had to stop what you were doing and locate the missing items. Lost items that aren’t quickly found need to get replaced, causing you to waste even more time – and money – going to the store or searching the web to source the replacements. If the replacement tools or parts are not readily available you then have to table the in-process project until the replacements come in, greatly increasing the chance for additional components to get misplaced.  

A lockable tool crib is a must to ensure your workers have what they need, when they need it. Expensive tools will stop going missing – either through misplacement or employee theft. You will spend less money replacing items, spend less time looking for items that “walk away”, and spend more time making money.

What options are available?

A-Mezz can help you configure a layout that works for you and your site. We can supply small multi-tiered lockers for parts and tools all the way up to large tool cribs. Pretty much anything is possible. There are available sliding doors, hinged doors, service windows, electronic keypad entry systems, keycard locking systems, padlock hasps and cylinder locks. If you have a special lock you prefer, such as one tied to a facial recognition system, we can supply an electric strike on the door to tie into your system.

Lockable tool crib located under elevated platform with sliding door access

Lockable tool crib located under elevated platform with sliding door access

My install location isn’t standard shaped/sized – can I still use a tool crib?

The great thing about tool cribs is that there are no rules. Size is whatever you need and they can go literally anywhere. We have installed lockable parts storage for maintenance and tool cribs above mezzanines, below mezzanines and out in the middle of shop floors.

Contact A-Mezz and let us help you increase productivity and increase your margins by decreasing waste and project hours.

Using modular building panels to create a CMM enclosure

Finished CMM enclosure

Modular building panels can be used to provide a cleaner environment for your shop equipment.

CMM, or coordinate measuring machines, are a piece of equipment that uses a physical or laser probe to map out the geography of an object.  They are very precise machines and need to be kept in a clean and often temperature controlled environment. I recently had a customer who found this out the hard way when the dust in the air due to production was messing with his machine, so he contacted us looking for an equipment enclosure.

Using modular building panels, we designed a 16′ deep by 20′ wide four wall enclosure.  Due to the maximum height of the mast on the CMM, the customer needed a lot of available head room in the area, so we stacked panels up to 13′ using the A-wall 300 system, leaving us 12’6″ of available head room under the drop ceiling and recessed lights. The customer wanted a way to easily remove the CMM if he needed to in the future, but didn’t want to put in a large door. In order to facilitate this, we put in a 8′ wide by 9′ high removable panel assembly using a tubular steel “goal post” and some additional trim pieces, so if he did need to move the equipment he would just need to remove the extra trim pieces on the outside and pop put the panels. The customer wanted a lot of windows in the enclosure, and since the A-Wall modular building system’s windows are factory installed right into the panel as a single piece, we were able to put one in every 4′ panel (aside from the one with the HVAC system) that wasn’t facing their wall, including the two removable panels. We also outfitted the room with Flex-4 modular wiring inside the wall panels in order to save the customer money on the electrical installation.

CMM enclosure removable panel opening

The removable panels provide the customer with easy access to the equipment should they need it.

Upon contacting us, the customer was looking for a quick solution.  After receiving the order we were able to send him approval drawings the next day.   He was able to quickly turn around the approved drawings so we were able to ship it out to him in two weeks.  The installation took a two man crew two days to complete. Twenty two days after we received the PO, the customer had this great looking equipment enclosure assisting with the smooth operation of the CMM.

Floormatstore.com Comfort Kitchen Mats

With the holidays just past, many of us have spent what seems like days in our kitchens, preparing cookies, baking pies, stuffing turkeys, and glazing hams. It’s not just the food coma that leaves us kicking our feet up at the end — those hours standing on unforgiving flooring takes its toll on our joints, and they don’t magically recover the next day. I remember my grandmother laying down carpet runners in her kitchen to cover every corner she would be standing on. They certainly were not comfortable, but I suppose they were a step above standing on tile all day. In the end, they always seemed to become grease magnets and would be pushed around, layered together, tossed aside and replaced time and time again. Because of this, no one was allowed in that kitchen except her!

There is not much of a choice on that any longer, though. This is the age of open concept kitchens – and for good reason! They allow a free sight line for the grandparent to check in on the grandkids while keeping the soup from foaming. They let the chef still be a part of the party, mingling with guests while staying close to the oven timer. But with these open concept kitchens, we have to take a long look at what exactly our kitchens say about us. I knew even as a kid that my grandmother did not want people to see those old mats, and why should she?

floormatstore.com Comfort Kitchen mats

We like clean lines, open air, and sunlight. More importantly, I want to relax after a holiday because I want to, not because I feel exhausted from standing on uncomfortable floors during the preparations. Our Comfort Kitchen mats bring you the clean line look and feel of polyurethane with an adaptive design. They are full ¾” thick with nearly 30 designer surface options. They have been specially designed to stimulate circulation in feet, legs, and lower backs while being built to last in commercial situations. Why continue to feel that exhaustion at the end of the day from cooking when you can so easily fix the situation and continue on with the party?

~ Reese
www.floormatstore.com

Using Welded Wire Partition Panels Around Site Obstructions

We were called out to a site that needed a lockable wire partition in their facility. The wire partition needed to split a long, below grade area into two secure and separate partitions. Access to a common entry door and light switch needed to be maintained. The location also had low, uneven ceiling dimensions due to obstructing support beams, conduit, gas lines, etc..

common entrance and light switch with proposed entry way marked out on ground

Common entrance and light switch with proposed entry way marked out on ground

Our welded wire partition system was perfect for this project. Other framed woven and welded systems need to have a custom, factory made panel with exact, framed cutouts. Those require additional engineering costs and manufacturing costs – due to custom setups. They also often have higher material costs as the panels need to have a post at each side of the obstruction to support the custom panels.

A-Mezz welded wire partition allows for cut-outs where necessary to work tight around existing obstructions.

A-Mezz welded wire partition allows for cut-outs where necessary to work tight around existing obstructions.

A-Mezz’s welded wire partition systems feature an unframed, 8 gauge galvanized welded wire panel. The panels are able to be trimmed to length, eliminating the need for custom sizes. This saves on the additional costs associated with doing a one-off on the manufacturing line. The panels can also be notched out around obstructions. This allows a tight, clean look while also providing flexibility in the field to deal with known (and unknown) obstructions.

Cutting a woven wire panel will leave a jagged, unraveling edge. Not only is it not a clean look, but it is an easy way to have a workplace injury if clothing snags on the unraveling wire or an employee is cut by it.   

Cutting a woven wire partition panel produces sharp edges

Cutting a woven wire partition panel produces sharp edges

When we arrived with material for the install, the first thing we did was lay it all out and double check our interferences. The critical locations were all marked – clearing the light switch and ensuring doors are installed where the floor was flat enough to swing freely. With the hump in the floor ensured that we had enough sweep (clearance under the door) to clear the hump, as well as enough overhead clearance to miss any of the low overhead obstructions.

A-Mezz Installed welded wire partition including custom cut-outs to remain tight around site obstructions

A-Mezz Installed welded wire partition including custom cut-outs to remain tight around site obstructions

With our layout all marked we worked from the critical locations out to ensure there would be no issues. A crew of two was able to complete the install in less than a day. This included all of the cut-outs required for a tight fit. The end result was a clean, secure wire partition that allowed the customer flexibility with their open space. Whether used for a tool crib, tennant storage, or machine guarding, A-Mezz can supply you with our welded wire partition, giving you the flexibility of a totally customized system at a much lower price.