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Vaico's new seismic storage rack system is set to shake up warehousing

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Rangiora-based Vaico​ is the latest Canterbury firm to come up with new seismic technology.

Co-director Ashton How and his brothers set up the business 10 years ago dealing in above-ceiling installations.

After the earthquakes they turned their full focus to seismic bracing of storage racks holding pallets of goods.

Ashton How, of Rangiora-based Vaico, which makes bracing systems for racking systems in warehouses.

Safety in distribution warehouses and supermarkets become a major issue in 2011 when Canterbury experienced 14,000 earthquakes, approximately.

Like many of the best inventions, the solutions appeared self evident in hindsight - a bar that falls down when shaking starts to prevent pallets moving.

When shaking starts, the Vaico seismic restraint bar falls down to stop pallets in the rack from moving.

"We had many rejected prototypes but we got there in the end. The big thing was to make a device that didn't interfere with normal work and the ability to access goods."

The patented restraint device can be retrofitted on any existing facility without changing the racking configuration.

How said insurers were keen on the restraining systems which could potentially save money as well as improving safety for warehouse workers and forklift drivers - a typical pellet could weigh between 800 kilograms and 1 tonne.

A pellet could contain hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of liquor.

And the safety issue was more imperative in the case of storing pharmaceuticals and other chemicals, How said.

Challenges along the way included finding the right type of steel, which Vaico gets tested by a Christchurch engineer.

"We could licence the manufacturing out but we have to be able to guarantee the quality of the steel and that becomes difficult when you involve third parties.

"We use New Zealand manufactured steel which probably costs almost twice as much as steel imported from China.

"But when we looked at some from China the strengths were laughable and you wonder why they would even make it."

The company, which employs 30 people, has geared up to cater for the lift in business by commissioning a second factory at Rangiora, and setting up an office in Auckland.

Vaico has a distribution and installation agreement with a company called Dexion which has examples of the racking system on its web site.

The company also has a partnership with US market leader International Seismic Application Technologies.

"They are very interested in it and we'll use that relationship to take it to the North American market," How said.

| Source: PeopleRead  ||  September 4,  2017   |||