The following are suggested guidelines to follow when storing and handling mechanical tubing.
Galvanized mechanical tubing, unlike pipe, should be stored indoors. Due to the varied applications and end finish (Allied’s galvanized tubing is often painted and/or powder coated), it is important to provide a bright, dry, clean, and rust-free tube.
When galvanized tubing is stored outdoors, there is great potential for moisture to be trapped in the bundles and form nesting lines where the tubes touch. This can cause a future quality problem . This particular phenomenon is further exaggerated with shapes (squares, rectangles and flat-sided ovals).
It is obvious that whatever storage facility is utilized, it should have a water-tight roof. For optimum storage, the ceiling height should be 24 feet.
A general formula used to estimate space requirements is 18 square feet per ton for 20 stock keeping units (sku’s) or less and 20 square feet per ton for more than 20 sku’s. This does not include the loading and unloading area, office space, aisles, and unusual warehouse configurations.
When considering loading, unloading and moving long lengths of tubing the ideal column spacing is at 40 foot intervals.
Steel tubing is heavy; therefore, floors should be 8 inches thick and reinforced with rebar.
For ingress and egress doors should be at least 12 feet wide and 14 feet high. Ideally, doors would be 14 feet in width and 15 feet in height.
The use of proper dunnage material and the correct placement to aid in stacking and retrieval will reduce forklift damage, reduce the potential of warping, and minimize surface irregularities. The recommended choice of materials for dunnage is 4 inch square (an alternate choice is 3 inch square) by 48 inches long kiln dried hardwood.
The dunnage material should be spaced evenly throughout the bundle. The suggested number of pieces used depends on the length of the tubing.
Loading and Unloading
Flatbed trailers are most easily unloaded indoors (you never know what the weather is going to do) without use of a dock. The trailer can then be unloaded from both sides.
Vans or box trailers are easiest to unload when a dock allows the trailers doors to be at ground level.
Depending on the volume of tubular products, another consideration is the availability of a rail siding for boxcar and flatcar unloading. Freight savings can be considerable when using rail vs. common carriers.
Often overlooked is the consideration of material handling equipment. An overhead crane is not necessary. The use of a forklift is the fastest, most economical method.
When choosing a forklift, be sure the minimum loading capacity is 10,000 lbs. Forks must be at least 48 inches long, with a preferred length of 54 inches.
To insure the galvanized tubing arrives in an acceptable condition, it is recommended that nylon tie down straps secure the load (chains should never be used) and clean dry tarps completely surround all tubing.