Rack it and Stack it

Europe shows what it has to offer by way of storage systems, as Chris Mullett reports on the IAA Show from Hannover.

The Europeans seem to have a totally different approach when it comes to loading and unloading vehicles. Whereas Australians tend to rely on a length of old blue and white Telstra rope and a ladder rack, the Europeans happily spend their money on proper storage systems, intent on everything having its rightful and well secured place.

The first storage system we looked at was from Prime Design, a Belgian company based in Tienen near Brussels, and the self-proclaimed roof rack specialists.

In case you are wondering, Belgium has a reputation for two things: the first is for making chocolate, and the second, perhaps rather harshly, is for the bypass that takes you from France to Germany, avoiding Belgium altogether.

Prime Design has two major product lines – the ErgoRack and the AluRack – and yes, they are different from what we see in our market. CARS_Accessories_Prime-Design_2

ErgoRack is a flexible roof rack system for safe and ergonomic transport of ladders and long objects on the roofs of vans and utes. There’s no major lifting involved when stacking or removing items such as a long ladder. The ladder lift brings the ladder – using a handle operated from the ground – up and down from the roof rack system to the side of the vehicle at the correct ergonomic height.

With the patented Auto Clamp, the ladder is fixed for safe transport with one single touch, without any additional straps, and removes about 70 percent of the physical stress associated with loading and unloading heavy ladders.

The patented S-Clamp offers an economical solution for vehicles up to 2.1 m high. The ladder is automatically secured with a manually operated handle. The hook at the front of the rack assists the operator to control lifting up or lowering down the ladder from the roof. With the two hooks in the upright position, the ladder is securely fixed for safe transport. The use of an additional padlock prevents theft.

AluRack is the aerodynamic aluminum roof rack system that fits on most vehicle types, whether vans with short or long wheelbase, standard or high roofs, pickups or utes. Available in different configurations according to the loading challenge, it is generally fastened onto the roof using existing mounting points, which greatly enhances the vehicle’s residual value in case of leasing.

With a maximum weight of 20-30 kg, it is about 30 percent lighter than a similar steel version. The lightweight aluminum, combined with structural stability, even allows vehicles with limited roof capacity to carry more material. The aerodynamic design also reduces fuel consumption and wear, and ensures almost silent travel. The material of AluRack is 100 percent recyclable and easy on the environment. Further info is available from www.primedesigneurope.euCARS_Accessories_ErgoRack_access_roller

Interior racking and shelving is one area that Australian operators have taken a long time to embrace. The European market has a plethora of manufacturers competing to provide tailored solutions to all types of requirements for fitted shelving, storage systems and work benches all designed to fit neatly inside the full range of vans on sale in our market.

One of the major European suppliers in this category is the German company, Bott Group. The good news here is that Bott Group has its own Australian division called Bott Storage Systems. The company’s manufacturing base and installation centre is at Edinburgh Parks in North Adelaide, and its products are manufacturer here in Australia, under licence from Bott Ltd UK.

All sales and engineering activity is managed through the Adelaide office, and the company has a number of authorised partners around Australia that carry out local installation, each able to supply a wide range of options direct to Australian customers.

There are a wide variety of storage solutions on offer with Bott Storage Systems, providing a full range that includes stationary and mobile drawer cabinets, cupboards and a variety of workbench systems to suit all storage and organisational systems. The modular storage equipment also includes Perfo acCARS_Accessories_Fiat_Doblo_ErgoRack_slopecessories, CNC tooling storage and transportation, as well as an extensive range of assembly-line furniture and components.

Craig Beard, managing director of Bott Storage Systems in Adelaide, told Delivery Magazine that, since the company established its Adelaide-based operation, the focus amongst buyers to find a total solution to storage problems had shifted noticeably.

“Our customers want a storage system that makes their service operations simpler and easier. Having the right equipment and accessories easily locatable within a tailored racking system improves the efficiency of the service team,” said Craig.

“Another area we are working in closely is that of creating service bodies. We can create a service body that improves safety in the workplace as well as providing significant gains in efficiency. Many customers have very specific demands, and, as industry becomes more technically diverse, the solutions we provide become even more important.

“Any fleet operator looking for a solution to storage and racking concerns is welcome to contact our team that includes Brian Doddridge, sales representative, or our engineering manager, Steve Leach, for further details, “ said Craig.

CARS_Accessories_Prime-Design_3All systems and component parts can be custom-made to customers’ specifications and requirements, with further details available from www.bott-group.com.au.

Another European supplier of interior racking and shelving is Fami Storage Systems. The company products are distributed throughout Australia, through Dynstro of Queensland. contact
www.dynsto.com for further details.

Other specialists in the provision of racking solutions include Caddy Storage (www.caddystorage.com.au), Cargo Drawers Australia (cargodrawers.com.au) and Rak-A-Van (www.rakavan.com.au).

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