Rack Codes & StandardsRack Design & Installation

Not All Steel Is Created Equal: Why R-Mark Certification Matters

Steel is steel is steel—right? Wrong. And making that assumption when evaluating potential rack suppliers could lead to a system failure if the manufacturer uses a steel formulation that is not compatible with its production equipment. Reputable industrial steel storage rack manufacturers—such as those that possess RMI’s R-Mark Certification—have specific steel formulations that work in conjunction with their engineered rack designs, whether they produce roll-formed or structural racking.

To ensure that the pallet rack they make will perform as intended, the manufacturers specify the steel’s chemical and physical properties when ordering from their supplier. The steel mill validates the composition with a certified material test report (also sometimes called a mill test report) that states the steel complies with specific standards, such as those set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Upon receipt of the steel, but before using it to create their products, many rack manufacturers conduct their own testing and analysis to verify its content. That guarantees that the supplied steel is of the correct thickness and composition, meaning it will not deform or develop hairline cracks when it passes through the tooling. Such material defects increase the risk of a rack failure should the structure experience a forklift impact.

While many rack manufacturers, R-Mark certified or not, produce racking with certified steel, there are some who do not. To be certain that the materials used to produce your racking—as well as that the structure’s design and engineering—conform to RMI’s ANSI MH16.1-2012: Specification for the Design, Testing and Utilization of Industrial Steel Storage Racks, look for suppliers whose products carry the R-Mark.

To attain an R-Mark license, two independent, USA registered professional engineers—with experience and expertise in the design and application of racking systems—conduct a rigorous analysis of an applicant manufacturer’s design process. This includes verification that the testing, calculations and resulting component (rack frame, beam and decking) capacities shown in a unique design’s load table were performed in a manner consistent with the RMI/ANSI MH16.1-2012 standard. Those capacities are also dependent on the manufacturer using the correct steel formulation in the design.

An R-Mark is an acknowledgement that the rack manufacturer has the engineering skills and the manufacturing ability to produce products that meet the RMI/ANSI MH16.1-2012 standard, and—if the project is completed under engineering supervision and the codes are properly applied—system purchasers will have a high degree of assurance that their final installation will be both code-compliant and safe.

Is your industrial steel storage rack or welded wire rack decking made by an R-Mark Certified manufacturer? Find a complete listing of R-Mark certified companies here.