Mezzanines are raised, often un-walled platforms that are used in a diversity of settings; they can be used to store unused materials, provide working space for equipment and seat people in auditoriums, among many other uses. Industrial mezzanines, however, are used only for purposes related to industrial operations. Manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and service companies all make use of mezzanines.
Because of the great variety of applications in which mezzanines are used, mezzanine construction companies offer mezzanine systems in a variety of configurations. Factories and warehouses, for example, use storage mezzanines and platforms to store anything from surplus products to equipment parts. These mezzanines are often made of steel or other strong metals and can be either free-standing or structural, which means that they can stand independent of support from another structure, or they can be integral parts of the buildings in which they are constructed. Some mezzanine applications call for little more than a small, simple platform where supplies or products can be stored. In these cases some operations may make use of prefabricated mezzanines, which are designed and partially assembled by manufacturers even before they have been ordered by customers. In cases where a mezzanine will serve a more specialized purpose, custom mezzanines can be designed to precise specifications; a customer could request a specific floor perforation size or shape if desired.
Every industrial operation that concerns itself with efficiency must contend with the issue of space management. When a growing business invests in new equipment or increases its supply of products for distribution, space is required to house the equipment and store the products. If the business continues to grow, eventually it will run out of space. A company in this situation is faced with a few choices. Construction of new facilities is a possibility, but the costs of construction materials and labor, building permits, taxes and other expenses associated with new construction can be prohibitive, especially for small businesses. Expansion of existing facilities is expensive for the same reasons, but to a lesser extent. Another option that most business would not like to accept would be the indefinite stagnation of business growth; a distributor that has filled every pallet in its warehouse has no room to grow. Because many companies cannot afford building construction or expansion, and because no company wants to accept stagnation, mezzanine systems are the solutions to which a business can turn to create more storage or work space.
Constructing a mezzanine effectively doubles the capacity of the area in which it is installed (triple-decker and larger models create even more space). Depending on the construction materials and configuration, the extra space can be used for a variety of applications. Structural mezzanines, which are platforms that are suspended by a combination of a building's own load-bearing elements and by some columns and supports, can be used to provide work surfaces for machinery and for the storage of heavy materials. Structural mezzanines are usually built into a building at the time of its construction; their uses are usually predetermined, and their design reflects their intended application. Freestanding mezzanines, many of which are prefabricated, usually perform less demanding tasks like the temporary storage of lighter-weight materials. Neither structural nor free-standing mezzanines impede the operation of workers or machinery on lower levels. Their supports can be placed in a way that minimizes interference with the movement of personnel and equipment. Some mezzanines are used for very short term storage of products. In these cases, easy, rapid transportation between the mezzanine and other levels as well as easy access to stored materials on the mezzanine level are essential. Mezzanines can be equipped with lift and conveyor systems to make storage and retrieval of materials much less complicated.
In addition to their capacity for storing materials and providing workspace for equipment, mezzanines can be used for several other purposes. Perimeter mezzanines are used in factories, warehouses and in other large buildings for observation of floor operations and for easy transportation from one end of a busy or full building to another. They can even be used to accommodate visitors or guests during tours. Mezzanines can also provide a surface or ceiling for offices. A small, ground-floor office, for example, could be built beneath a mezzanine; the mezzanine floor can simultaneously provide the office ceiling and a platform for storage. An office could also be built above a mezzanine platform, allowing the space below to be used for storage or for other uses. Regardless of their use or configuration, all mezzanine systems are designed to protect worker safety. Most mezzanine access stairs are treaded and marked with brightly-colored or reflective tape to reduce slipping or stumbling risks, and perimeter railings help prevent falls. Because many mezzanine systems are highly modular, if necessary they can be disassembled, expanded, reduced or relocated. Mezzanines' features of modularity, versatility and their many possible configurations make them an excellent solution to space management problems.
Industrial Mezzanine - Equipment Roundup Manufacturing
Industrial Mezzanine - Vision Towers
Crane Liftable Mezzanine Brow - Abtech, Inc.
Mezzanine System - Equipment Roundup Manufacturing
Crane Liftable Steel Stair Tower - Abtech, Inc.
Mezzanine Construction - Equipment Roundup Manufacturing
If you are looking for means to expand working and storage area without investing heavily in construction, then mezzanines, an elevated structure made from a variety of material, including steel, fiberglass and aluminum, can help you. Mezzanines can give you storage space, office space, and even working space. The only requirement is a high ceiling, which is typically found in industrial facilities.
However, to have a suitable and long-lasting mezzanine, you have to consider a number of factors before making the final decision. In this blog, we are discussing important issues that you need to address for finding a suitable design and manufacturer.
The first step is a thorough evaluation of the requirements and where the mezzanine will be installed. You need to find answers to certain questions, such as whether the mezzanine will be used as storage space, office space, or support for equipment; what is the height of your ceiling; where exactly the unit will be installed; whether there is enough space in your facility; whether you need single story or multiple.
When there is Enough Space
If you have enough area, pre-fabricated mezzanines are the best options, since they are produced in high volumes they are relatively inexpensive. Unlike custom structural mezzanines, modular designs are significantly different; they are available in standard modules, typically 10x10 ft., and based on your needs two or three modules are installed. In modular designs, framing, columns, and a deck surface are all prefabricated, however, electrical conduit, railing, staircase, gates, and kick plates can be selected individually, and a contractor will be responsible for installing them in your facility. However, as they are pre-made, you cannot decide on columns and other important elements that define the performance of a mezzanine.
When there is not Enough Space
If you do not have enough space, then you need to have a custom-made mezzanine, in which the primary steps involve on-site field measurements and drawings. In custom-made mezzanines, you get to decide every element of the mezzanine, from design to columns, to deck and railings, as well as many other factors. That is where it gets harder to decide.
Your first step should be is to determine the slab in the facility, whether it could support a mezzanine or special footings will be needed to supplement the base. If you considering mezzanine for heavy equipment, it is usually recommend having a concrete footing, however, if you will be using the mezzanine for storage and other purposes that would not put heavy loads on the floor, then base plates with added braces will work fine for you.
You also have to decide the material used for making the structure, there is hot rolled steel, cold rolled steel, and stainless steel. Aluminum and fiberglass is also used, however, they are suitable for lighter structures that would not be exposed to heavy loads.
You also have to make sure that structure follows the rules and guidelines. You have to comply with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), International Building Code (IBC), and American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC).
Mezzanines are simple structures in comparison to other industrial equipment and devices. However, making an informed buying decision regarding mezzanines can be as daunting as that of other equipment. There are a number of parameters, characteristics, and loopholes that are inherent to quotes. Here, we are discussing mezzanine economics and performance to help you buy a mezzanine that serves you for years, whether it is storage racks, prefabricated mezzanines, warehouse mezzanines, or modular buildings.
Mezzanine economics, as the name implies, is the cost involved in the design and construction of a mezzanine. The material used for making the platform-a stainless steel structure usually costs more than structural hot rolled steel-typically determines the economics. Different materials that you will come across while buying a mezzanine, have different properties and specific applications. The most common building materials involve structural hot and cold steel; the other options include fiberglass, aluminum and stainless steel. Figure out which material will serve your purpose, as this directly determines your investment.
Now, moving to mezzanine performance. The performance involves the stability and reliability of an elevated structure. There are a number of structural elements that define the performance, and we will discuss them individually.
The basic elements that you need to consider for stability of a mezzanine are base plates. If you are new to mezzanines, you probably do not know that all mezzanines move and are not a rigid structure. However, the movement is only allowed to a certain degree. Typically, two types of movement occur in the elevated structure, lateral and deflection, which is movement of deck when one moves on it. Poorly structured mezzanines with inadequate base plates and offset base plates have considerable movement, therefore, size and orientation of base plates becomes important. The base plates with 12 inches of length and breadth and three fourth inches of width are recommended for standard mezzanines. Anchor bolts are as important as base plates, because they provide adequate seismic connection.
Columns are what that give support to horizontal, twisting, and vertical loads. Therefore, while comparing quotes, you need to know the sizes of columns, since it is common practice to cut price by using undersize columns. Familiarize yourself the sizes of all columns. A recommended standard column is a 5" x 3/16" tube, which, more or less, gives support to varying loads.
Braces and Other Hardware
To add structural strength and reduce the lateral movement, braces are commonly used. Cross and knee braces are usually used in fabricating lighter structure; if the columns are undersized, make sure braces supplement them. It is common among fabricators to cut cost by bolting the structure with low quality nuts and bolts, high grade, such as A325, bolts and nuts are used.
Codes Followed For Building Mezzanines
There are guidelines about how every element of mezzanines, ranging from guardrails to stair sets, should be made, since they can be a great danger to workers. Do some research to see if OSHA guidelines are followed and implemented, because if they are not followed it can lead to hefty fines.
Mezzanines are a great way to maximize working or storage space in industrial settings. Whether you need an extra office, working space, or storage space, different types of mezzanines are available on the market, ranging from steel mezzanines as storage racks, aluminum warehouse mezzanines, as well as fiberglass mezzanines utilized in the food industry.
However, choosing the right one can be hard, since different mezzanines have different properties and are fabricated for specific purpose. Therefore, it is important that a buyer knows the properties and features of mezzanines available on the market.
Structural Hot Rolled Steel Mezzanines
In structural steel mezzanines, the understructure is made from open web bar joists, structural I-beams and columns made from hot rolling, a milling process in which the steel is rolled at a temperature above the re-crystallization temperature of steel. The additional elements like handrails can either be horizontal rails, baluster handrails, or solid panel handrails. Gates can be fabricated with a lift out gate, swing gate, or sliding gates. When it comes to deck a number of options are available, including resin particles board, plywood, B deck, bar grating, plank, steel, and even concrete.
Advantages of structural steel mezzanines:
Cold Rolled Steel Mezzanines
For constructing cold rolled steel mezzanines, sheet metal is cold rolled, which is below the re-crystallization temperature of steel, by break press into a c-channel, instead of an I-beam. Columns used are either tubular or tapered. The hand rail and gates are similar to hot rolled mezzanines. Since they cannot withstand high loads concrete is not used for making decks.
Advantages of cold rolled designs
Stainless Steel Mezzanines
Tubular stainless steel columns and I-beams are used for making the understructure for stainless steel mezzanines. For making decks, a number of materials are used, ranging from bar gratings to stainless diamond plates to planks. The structure does not need finishing products such as paints and primers, since they are highly resistant to corrosive environment.
The understructure of aluminum mezzanines are constructed from extruded aluminum, which is light as well as sturdy. For this purpose, aluminum is specially extruded in the form of I-Beams, C channels and tubular columns. To complement the understructure, the deck is also made from light material like aluminum grating and fiberglass.
Every business faces the problem of storage space and how to use it efficiently. However, when a business grows, sooner or later, lack of space starts to hinder the business operation, with the growth, the need of equipment and storage space also increases. When stuck in such situation, businesses are not left with many choices; either they have to invest in constructing new facilities, which usually are expensive and take time to complete or they need to expand the existing facility, which can also be expensive but to lesser measure. The best way to expand a facility is to add mezzanines, an elevated platform with no walls that can be used for a number of purposes, ranging from storage of unused materials, to working space, to equipment operations. There are a variety of mezzanines that you can choose from, including storage racks, mezzanine floors, prefabricated mezzanines, warehouse mezzanines, and steel mezzanines.
Adding a mezzanine in a facility that has high ceilings, which are typically found in industrial settings, can virtually double the space and can be used for various requirements. When even more space is required, instead of single elevated platform, three tiers or triple deck mezzanines can be installed, giving businesses enough space to carry out their operations unhindered.
Mezzanines can be efficiently added to a warehouse or any building with a high ceiling, in a matter of days, as mezzanines are installed rather than constructed. Based on the need, mezzanines can be installed as a semi-permanent platform, which has its own load bearing piers and do not add tension to the original structure. However, some variations use the original structure load bearing points to give itself support and typically hang from the floor.
Although, semi-permanent mezzanines are mostly used in industrial settings. They are freestanding platforms, which makes them independent structures that can be removed or dismantled easily. Because of this property, they can be relocated and re-sold, if needed.
Mezzanine Construction Material
Non-industrial mezzanines can be made with number of materials, including wood. However, the place of wood plates are taken by composite lumbar, which is extensively used for making mezzanine floors and has been proved to be a light and reliable solution. In industrial settings, mezzanines with wood floors are only used for storage, for other purposes, mezzanines need better structural strength than what is offered by wood.
Industrial mezzanines' load bearing structures are typically made with steel elements and columns, which gives structural strength, and in some cases shelves or racks. However, different materials are used in making the deck, including steel and aluminum plates, fiberglass, and particle boards.
Steel plates are used when the deck has to withstand high loads, however, it is heavy and expensive, and construction costs escalate when using steel plate. When lower loads are exposed to a deck, Aluminum plates are used, instead of steel plates, since aluminum plates are lighter and easy to maintain than steel. When the deck is being used in a corrosive environment, fiberglass is usually used for making mezzanine decks.
The most widely used material for making decks is particle board, which is made from bonding a number of boards together. They are used when the working environment is dry and do not have large point loads.
- additional dead loads besides the structure's weight and decking materials, such as sprinklers, ceilings and electrical and mechanical systems.
- the allowance in the load capacity of the mezzanine in order to account for the weight of the actual mezzanine structure.
- an open grid of metal bars. The grid bars are attached to cross bars that run perpendicular to them or to bent connecting bars which extend between them.
- a storage method in which unitized loads are stocked more than one unit high and/or deep.
- a platform at the end of stair flights. Landings are frequently used on mezzanines.
- the amount a mezzanine will sway due to lateral loads.
- the force that acts horizontally on the mezzanine, causing it to sway. All mezzanine structures are designed to withstand a particular degree of lateral loading.
- any vehicle that is used to lift, stack, rack or move a load(s). Forklift is synonymous with the term lift truck.
- the maximum weight the mezzanine is designed to hold safely. Typical live loads range from 50 to 250 PSF.
- a unit of measurement that signifies the number of pounds of pressure within a one square foot area.
- a structural member attached horizontally to the primary frames of mezzanines. Purlins provide support for the flooring and loads.