If you have metal pallet racks that are exposed to the elements, sooner or later, they may begin to rust. Rust occurs whenever a metal such as steel becomes wet and starts to oxidize, quickly jeopardizing the integrity of the product. This can be disastrous with pallet racks since they often hold many heavy objects. If they are weakened with rust, the entire mass could come crashing down.
Fundamentally, the best way to deal with rust on your pallet racks is not to let it form at all. However, there are also options if rust has begun to develop. Let’s start with prevention.
How To Stop Your Pallet Racks from Rusting
There are a couple of approaches that can be used. One of the more common solutions is to use a coating, usually either paint or rubber, which covers the steel and prevents it from coming into contact with moisture.
This can work for a time, but the problem is that paint and rubber are both highly vulnerable to damage. If the paint flakes off, or the rubber is broken, the structure can begin to rot from within. The paint or rubber might even prevent you from seeing the rust!
The better option is to use either galvanized steel or stainless steel. Both of these use additives (zinc and chrome, respectively) that inhibit rust. All steel will eventually begin to corrode, but these will slow it down substantially.
Removing Rust from Existing Pallet Racks
A rack that has begun to rust will always be somewhat compromised. That said, if you catch the rust early enough, there are a couple of options that can halt the damage and leave the rack working correctly.
1. Acid. A sufficiently strong acid, such as hydrochloric acid, can eat through rust while leaving the underlying steel alone. Use caution when working with strong acids! Once the rust is gone, a new coating should be applied to the affected area to prevent it from returning.
2. Water jetting. The other common method for removing rust from steel is through the use of high-pressure water jets, usually with an abrasive added such as sand or diamond dust. It is vital to get every particle of rust. Then, as above, re-coat as a preventative measure.
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