A warehouse needs an organised, labelled, ordered, safe, and well-maintained handling of goods. This ensures effective space, time, and labour management inside the warehouse. In order to establish such level of management, strong, compact, and mobile material handling equipment and storage spaces serves the purpose. A single organization can have numerous numbers of mega warehouses each for a specific operation. For example, e-commerce giant Amazon could have 6-7 warehouses in only one zone to run its business operation from start to finish. These warehouses range from 600,000 to 1 million square feet and employ around 1,000 to 1,500 full-time associates. With the massive scale of such warehouses, it is quite evident that there is a huge requirement for stillages, cages and racks. The cages manufactured should be of high strength and durability, able to store and transport heavy goods. Without proper cages, a warehouse production area would be poorly stocked and lack the products needed to fulfil orders quickly.
Stillages and cages are usually made up of wood, metal, and plastic. A traditional stillage or cage is nothing but a pallet or storage space made up of wood. These days, in most modern warehouses, wooden cages are replaced by metal and plastic ones. Some disadvantages of wooden stillages and cages are:
- Can break easily when subjected to heavy loads
- Can affect productivity
- Not durable for a long time
- Not environment friendly
- Cannot be collapsed for space maximization
- Low stackable characteristics
- Options to customize are minimal
- Requires more time to manufacture
Further discussing the effects of using wood to manufacture the cages, massive deforestation and land exploitation could lead to environmental disasters like soil erosion, drought, global warming and climate change. The metal cages can be customised according to the desired industrial premises and storage spaces. The cages are designed keeping in mind the load consideration it could hold and the safety of the goods stored inside. Normally, high-strength steel is used as a raw material to manufacture metal cages and therefore, serves the purpose of carrying heavy loads.
With regards to the security of goods, metal cages are trustworthy products where any outside interference has no effect on the goods stored inside. The metal cages can be painted with any choice of colour finish. Apart from spray painting the cages, the option to galvanise or powder coat is a good way to increase the longevity of the metal cages. Other ways to finish the cage for longer last is by using red oxide or Zinc based primer coating before spray painting it. The design of metal cages can be done with more flexibility in its customization, giving the added advantage of a faster production process and billing of raw materials. The installation of metal cages is not very difficult and requires less manpower with the choice to install in heavy-duty industrial environments.
The metal cages are usually made up of cold rolled steel sections available in rectangular, square, circular, and elliptical hollow sections. Other steel sections like Parallel Flange Channels (PFC), Universal Beams, Universal Columns, Equal Rolled Steel Angle, Unequal Rolled Steel Angle, etc are also used to construct the cages. The material handlers in warehouses make life easy inside and allow efficient placement and management of the goods. Some material handlers like cranes, automated guided vehicles (AGVs), vertical lift modules (VLMs), Lift trucks, etc, all can be used to handle goods inside a metal cage or the metal cage itself. The stackable nature of metal cages allows the right storage solutions, including vertical storage solutions, to help increase capacity and lower carrying costs.
A metal cage fitted with RFID tags, Bluetooth sensors, etc, helps in tracking the location and condition of the cage inside the warehouse premises. A metal cage can be covered by either metal sheets or metal mesh. With the ability to customise on both sheeted and meshed formats, metal cages are one of the specialist material handling and storage solutions for any industrial warehouse. Industries like retail, textile, military, data warehouses, steel, energy, pharmaceuticals, automobile, marine, etc, benefit immensely from the application of metal cages.