Info, Tutorials and How To Guides

SJF's Material Handling Blog

Guide > Fork Lift Platforms

Fork Lift Platforms Guide

Lift PlatformLift platforms are an easy way to reach high places without resorting to a dedicated man lift table or truck.  These platforms simply slide onto a forklift’s forks and one person operates the lift while the other is raised in the platform.  Obviously, this poses some safety issues, however the manufacturer’s of these platforms have factored in several safety features to minimize risk.

SJF carries two main types of lift platform, the standard maintenance platform and a narrow aisle platform (good for smaller spaces).  Both have benefits and drawbacks, but both are guaranteed safe and fully functional.

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Guide > Gravity Conveyor

Gravity Conveyor Information

Used Gravity Roller ConveyorSeveral types of gravity conveyor are available for different applications. Below are some images and information on the different types and uses of gravity conveyor. If you have any questions about the best conveyor solution for your operation, please contact an SJF sales professional at 800-598-5532 or click on the image at left to view our entire used conveyor inventory.

Gravity Conveyors are non-powered, free flowing conveyors used in a push or level application to facilitate product movement. They can also be set up with declining stand heights to allow product to flow from a high to a lower elevation. Gravity conveyors are available in skate wheel or roller configuration. Both types can be used with a variety of powered conveyors to form a complete conveyor system.

The type of load will determine the type of conveyor to use.

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Guide > Self Dumping Hoppers

Self Dumping Hopper Guide

Self Dumping Hopper

Self Dumping Hopper

Self dumping hoppers are welded watertight, versatile and excellent for handling heavy, bulky scrap, in-process materials, castings, wood, metal chips, recyclables and sludge. These hoppers come with everything you need for safe and easy operation.

Extra Heavy Duty Hoppers are made of 7ga steel and have capacities of 4000lbs. To 6000lbs.

Low Profile Hoppers are used where restrictions limit the overall height of the unit. They are made of 7ga steel and have a capacity of 5000lbs.

Heavy Duty Hoppers are made of 10ga steel and have a capacity of 4000lbs.  Heavy Duty Hoppers are also the best seller, hands down.

Medium Duty Hoppers are made of 12ga steel and have a capacity of 2000lbs.

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Guide > Rolling Ladders

How to Choose a Rolling Ladder

Rolling Step LadderThere are four  steps for picking out a rolling step ladder.

Step 1:  Choose the width

The width of a rolling ladder should be as wide as the aisle permits while still leaving enough space for pedestrian traffic to pass around the base of the ladder.

Step 2: Choose the Tread Style

Grip Strut style is for sure footing when liquids are underneath or the area is not clean. The G-Perf is for normal use where liquids are not present. It’s also easier to sit on or kneel on this style step.

Step 3: Choose the height

A convenient work height is generally 5-5½ feet above the top step, or Platform Height (PH). Each step has a 10″ rise.

2-5 step ladders have retracting spring-loaded casters and steel reinforced rubber tipped feet. 6-16 step ladders have positive SAF-T locks with a release that secures the ladder when an individual steps on the first step. The caster carriage retracts allowing metal reinforced rubber-tipped feet to grip the floor, keeping the ladder user safe.

Step 4: Handrail Options

1 step ladders have no handrail
2-4 step ladders can be ordered with or without a handrail
5-16 step ladders are equipped with a handrail for safety

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Guide > Pallet Jacks

Choosing a Pallet Jack

Pallet JacksPallet jacks are truly the unsung workhorses of the warehouse.  These pallet transporters get used and abused on a daily basis, but as a testament of their usefulness, dock workers and warehouse employees return to them over and over again, day in and day out.

Choosing a pallet jack is a relatively straight forwarded process that can be summed up in 3 easy steps.

Step 1: Decide on the Pallet Jack Type

Low profile pallet jacks have the same basic features of the standard pallet jacks but with a lowered fork height of 2” and a raised fork height of 5¼”. Low profile models were designed for use with low clearance or disposable pallets. The capacity of the standard units is an industry standard 5500# while the low profile models can hold up to 4400#.

Pallet Jack Diagram

Pallet Jack Measurements

Step 2: Determine the Width Required

Measure inside to inside of the outer pallet stringers of your pallets. Select the width that gives you at least 1” clearance on either side of the forks.

Step 3: Determine the Fork Length Required

If pallets are all one size select the pallet truck fork length which matches the stringer length. If pallet sizes vary, select the longest fork length to accommodate the longest pallet.

Other special pallet jack types are also available for additional utility and functionality.
(see below)

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Guide > Pallet Rack Basics

Pallet Rack Basics

At its most basic, pallet racking can be priced out in three easy steps.  There are of course, many more steps involved if you want to understand much of the subtler rack types and configurations, but if you’re only configuring a simple pallet rack system, these three step process will get you up and running.  If you’d like to learn more, please read the Advanced Pallet Rack Guide.

Measuring a PalletStep 1: Size the Product

Start by measuring the width, depth and height of your pallets*.  You’ll also want to keep a little room between pallets to give yourself leeway when loading and unloading the rack.  Keep note of this measurement as the rest of the steps will rely on these figures.  Also important is the weight of the heaviest load you will be storing.  Keep in mind, you must also account for the weight of the pallet.

* Typical pallets are 40 ” Wide x 48″ Deep

Step 2: Select Beam and Upright Sizes

Pallets on a ShelfNow you will determine (based on the previous measurements) how wide your shelves need to be.  For example – if you have a typical pallet, you have 80″ of load on your shelf (based on two pallets per shelf) and with 4″ on each side of each pallet, you’ll need at minimum a 96″ beam.  Once you have the width established, you’ll need to select the correct capacity beams for your load. Each shelf level will require two beams.

Choosing the uprights is as simple as figuring out how many shelf levels you want to have and using your pallet height to determine the needed upright height.  Also keep in mind both load and total shelf capacities when choosing the correct upright.  Upright depths will be strictly based on the depth of your pallets.  You must keep the entire pallet load balanced on the front and rear rack beams.

Step 3: Add It Up

Now you can determine the total number of beams and uprights you’ll need for your planned storage system.  Remember, you can use one upright as a connecter for multiple bays of rack.  Two racks in a row can share a center upright as long as total shelf and upright capacities are within range.

Below you can see profile views of three separate pallet rack layout styles.  At left is a single row of free standing pallet rack.  Center is two rows of pallet rack setup back to back and tied together in the center.  At right is a single row of pallet rack placed against a wall and tied to the wall using wall supports.

Pallet Rack Layouts

Sample Pallet Rack Layouts

Features & Benefits of Pallet Racking

  • Standard color is green uprights & orange beams, but other colors are available by special order
  • Beams and uprights are constructed of prime, U.S. made high-strength steel
  • Beam load ratings based on uniformly distributed load per pair of beams.
  • Uprights have 1 ½” wide bottom horizontal brace placed 8” from the floor to help resist impact damage
  • Precision manufacturing procedures ensure uniformity of appearance


Guide > Boltless Shelving

Boltless Shelving Guide

Boltless Storage ShelvingBoltless Shelving is a great product for general purpose storage of all kinds.  This industrial bulk shelving system is more closely related to pallet racking than to traditional steel shelving as it’s fully self-contained; in other words, you don’t need any hardware to assemble it.  Boltless shelving consists of the rails and upright posts and the unique “buttons” on the shelf rails snap directly into the post holes – No nuts & bolts!

This shelving comes in two main flavors – longspan boltless shelving and regular boltless shelving.  Longspan is typically a little more rugged – featuring higher weight capacities and longer span shelves.  The regular boltless shelving has lower capacities and doesn’t have the size advantage that boltless does, although this is still a more convenient and sturdier solution than traditional metal shelving.

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Guide > Steel Shelving

Steel Shelving Guide

Steel ShelvingSteel shelving (also known as clip shelving) is one of the most ubiquitous storage products on the market.  This shelving is a simple yet effective storage solution for light to medium weight loads and can be reconfigured and moved around very easily.  You’ll find this shelving solution in warehouses, offices, garages and backrooms across the entire country – if not the world.

This steel shelving utilizes clips to connect the individual shelves to the uprights.  The clips slip into holes in the uprights to provide support for the shelves.

Unfortunately, because this shelving is such a popular storage solution, there are many different clip styles and clip types that must match to assemble a working shelf unit.  In other words, not all clip shelving is interchangeable.

There are also several add-ons and components available for steel shelving – including shelf dividers, side and rear panels, label holders, etc.  Please call SJF [800-598-5532] for more information or pricing.

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