What’s new in the world of van racking systems? John Challen investigates…
When searching for storage solutions for vans, most operators would agree that the ideal scenario would be quality as well as quantity.
Fortunately, nowadays there are enough products on the market that many can offer both.
One supplier that would certainly agree is van racking systems supplier Sortimo. It has recently introduced WorkMo, which – it claims – is “much more than a means of transport”. WorkMo (taken from ‘Work Mobility’) is a multifunctional system that enables operators to use it as workshop equipment, a transport system or a mobile workshop and work bench. Such flexibility can be vital to many fleets – dependent on operation – so Sortimo believes the new line will have big appeal.
“So you start your day in your workshop by choosing which modules will be needed for your jobs, and just roll them out to your vehicle,” explains the company. Sounds straightforward enough, and, for added peace of mind, Sortimo says that the modules are secured with the company’s tried and tested ProSafe System.
The WorkMo system aims to help save set-up time on a job – the thinking being that you will always have the right piece of equipment to hand when you need it. In addition, WorkMo can be expanded into a work bench, saving the issue of having to carry an extra unit, or figuring out where you can position it.
A new name to the market – in the UK at least – is Plastipol-Scheu, which now has a collaboration with TruckEast. The former has been on the German market for more than 40 years and claims to be the first company providing racking systems in Germany.
The latter – known by most as a retailer for Scania trucks – was keen to look at different avenues to build the business, and make best use of workshop space and hours. A chance meeting at the IAA show in Hanover in 2014 between Graham Broughton, regional general manager at TruckEast, and Plastipol-Scheu sowed the seed of the joint venture, and by the CV Show in 2015, the duo had a stand – and customers.
“Plastipol-Scheu prides itself on being durable, which is a trait that we think is vital for racking systems,” says Broughton. “We had the busiest year as a company last year. We’ve only done a handful of installations, but we are able to work with all sorts of customers and can turn ideas into CAD drawings.”
Broughton believes that, in carving a niche for itself in the big and hugely competitive van racking market, Plastipol-Scheu offers something a little different. “Big players in the market are into volume, and it can take weeks to get prices out of them sometimes,” he reasons. “This situation can be difficult for smaller customers, so that is where we will be concentrating our efforts.
“The quality of the product is fantastic, but it’s not the lightest on the market,” he admits, explaining that the primary metal used in the Plastipol-Scheu products is steel. “I understand why the market is predominantly made up of lightweight products, but depending on the application, if you strip weight out, you can also take out the durability. We are able to put more aluminium in our products to make them lighter, but durability and build quality are as, if not more, important to us.”
Broughton’s comments are echoed by Stefan Ruch, from Plastipol-Scheu, who also believes the UK offers a lot of opportunity for its products, especially those that value quality. “We use German steels, and this is the level of quality that our customers have come to expect,” he explains. “We have a lot of customers who work in construction, or in heavy-duty industries on the streets, so for them, it is vital that they have very durable products that are built to last.”
The mainstay of the product range is Profi-Line, which is constructed within a frame, allowing shelving units, cabinets, drawers and cases to be housed within the frame. Within the Profi-Line portfolio there are five heights, two depths and six widths available, effectively meaning the system can be completely bespoke, allowing individual, optimised workspaces.