There are four basic types of steel mezzanines used in warehouses, distribution centers and industrial settings.
Those types are:
- Free standing mezzanines
- Building supported mezzanines
- Rack supported mezzanines
- Shelving supported mezzanines
Each type provides usable space without the need of a building addition. Mezzanines can double the existing space used for warehouse or other storage and can also make efficient use of existing space for raised offices or equipment.
Free standing Mezzanines
Free standing mezzanines are widely used for parts and product storage in warehouses and distribution centers. They also are commonly used in the material handling sector to support conveyor systems.
When used to hold equipment, they are often referred to as equipment platforms.
Also known as structural, steel, or wide span mezzanines, this type of mezzanine offers great flexibility in setup and restructuring.
While a free standing mezzanine is not part of the structure of the building, it does require a floor with sufficient integrity to support its weight.
A free standing mezzanine is considered a capitol improvement and, as such, can be depreciated over a shorter period, providing tax advantages for the business.
Building Column-Connected Mezzanines
Building column-connected mezzanines rely on the existing building structure for their support. The building must have been designed to support additional loads.
A blended system can also be developed in which a mezzanine is supported partly by the building structure and partly by columns, as long as the foundation can support the additional load.
Rack-supported platforms create a mezzanine level of usable space between or above existing pallet racks, provided that the rack system can support the additional loads. When installed between racks, these structures can be referred to as catwalk systems. Because the existing rack structure is used to support the mezzanine level, this type of mezzanine can be more economical than a free standing mezzanine.
Shelving Supported Mezzanines
Shelving-supported mezzanines are ideal for order-picking access among existing shelf units, and call be used for storage of smaller items when designed as a deck over multiple shelves. This type of mezzanine is the least flexible for reconfiguration but, like rack-supported systems, can be more economical than free standing mezzanines.
There are several options for decking a steel mezzanine or platform, depending on its use. Those options include bar grating, floor plate (such as diamond plate or checkered plate), wide rib metal, specialty wood panels and composite panels.
Kevin O’Neill is Sales and Marketing Vice President at Steele Solutions, a mezzanine system designer and manufacturer based in metropolitan Milwaukee. More information on mezzanines for warehouses and distribution centers can be found at www.steelesolutions.com.