Rack Codes & StandardsRack Design & Installation

American Welding Society Standards: Why They’re Critical To Rack Safety

Whether an industrial steel storage rack is comprised of structural or roll-formed steel components, the welds created in their fabrication are critical to the system’s safe and reliable performance. That’s because a variety of conditions could increase the risk of a weld failing when the rack is abused or loaded at its rated capacity, possibly leading to a collapse. These include:

  • Welding performed by an unqualified individual
  • Welding that occurs in a facility without proper ambient temperature control
  • A weld arc that doesn’t generate the necessary amount of heat to fuse the base metal and the welding material
  • A weld that becomes contaminated during the process, or created on base metal whose surface was not properly cleaned prior to welding

How does a rack owner, therefore, know that the welds within the structure have been completed properly and contribute to the overall safety of the system? After all, even a visual inspection may not reveal a problematic weld joint.

That’s why the American Welding Society (AWS) has created numerous standards, codes and guidelines for both welders and welds created to fuse a broad array of materials—including structural. The organization also issues certifications for both individual welders and for the general manufacturing processes and procedures employed by a company to create different types of weld joints. All reputable rack manufacturers—including members of RMI—will adhere to these standards; buyers of new installations of storage rack can request copies of such certifications from the system’s manufacturer.

Those seeking to purchase used rack, however, may or may not be able to determine who the original manufacturer was of the structure. Without knowing the source of the original racking, it is likewise not possible to verify that the welding was performed by qualified, certified individuals adhering to AWS’ manufacturing standards.

Thinking of field welding a damaged rack structure? Read RMI’s blog, “Field Welding Versus Bolt Repair For Damaged Pallet Rack,” first.