9- You’re gonna need a bigger boat! Zinc top transportation logistics.

9- You’re gonna need a bigger boat! Zinc top transportation logistics.

Domestic manufacturers have not adopted standards on length for zinc bar tops. Reducing the number of seams in tops as resulted in longer and heavier pieces. This translates to more hassle and cost for customers.

Longer products cause problems for manufacturers and for customers like you who need to receive, move, and install them on site.

Any product over 8’ that has a wooden core will contain at least 2 internal plywood seams, because plywood comes in 8’ lengths. Products over 16’ in length will have 6 or more internal seams! These seams create stress inside the metal and can damage the product if not transported completely flat. This can be tricky.

Sometimes, steel strong backs are mounted under the tops. This further increases the weight and makes the task more difficult.

Large Pieces = Problems

As an example, a standard 2’ wide bar section with a 4” edge 16’ long can weigh over 750 pounds. This doesn’t include the weight of the crate.

That means that 4 crew spaced 4’ apart on each side must support almost 100 pounds. They must keep the piece level, prevent sweat from leaving marks, and keep the piece handprint free. They must also ensure that they do not rip the fasteners from the strong backs attached to the bottom of the piece.

These crates can be enormous. I have seen crates five feet tall and some as long as 18’ with widths just wide enough to fit inside a normal container or trailer.

How do you remove these crates to handle on site? Many manufacturers leave that up to you, as shipping is standard curbside only.

I have seen some crazy things, with recommendations that you rent two forklifts to assist with getting crates off trucks. This can add significant and unexpected cost.

Manufacturers sometimes suggest using 20 workers to lift the crate and its contents off the truck. This causes significant problems for shippers, who typically do not permit it. A move like this can also severely disrupt your site.

Disposal of the Crate

What’s worse, what do you do with it once it comes off the truck? Logistics have to be coordinated down to the minute to remove the load and move the tops to the site with adequate manpower. 

What’s left is hours of breaking down this well-built crate. I have been on both ends of this process, and nothing is more tedious than having to throw away a crate that will fill half a 20-yard dumpster.

Trucks often transfer crates from the manufacturer to a distribution center, increasing the chance of damage due to more handling.

Manufacturers make products longer to reduce seams, but this causes issues in other areas. As you engage in the design process, make sure you understand how to bring these products to your site for installation. Once you have the tops, manufacturers won’t be accountable for any mistakes you made in planning ahead.

Crating and transportation of this product is a major issue facing the industry.

Shipping with 3 Spark

At 3 Spark, we have considered these shipping issues for many years. We standardized our product length, which allows us to ship in standard sized crates.

We can deliver to most sites with liftgate service, so you don’t need to rent a forklift or hire additional workers. Two workers can install our products, so moving these 10′ pieces through your site is a cinch.

Contact us at 3 Spark Design today to begin planning your next project!

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