Since we saw the only ‘perfected bottle cage’ manufacturer close its doors in early 2008, there has been a shortage of storage racking among the industry for empty and full polycarbonate and PET five-gallon bottles.
The options that were available to the distributor and bottler were to import from steel fabricators in Europe or have the cage made from scratch here in the UK, which has proved costly.
We noticed the rack shortage and began purchasing old and destroyed racks for the purpose of refurbishment, to fill the void and offer the market a more cost-effective alternative to new.
We stripped the old plastic bar protectors that had become brittle and broken, and pressure-washed the bare rack before rubbing down with a wire wool to clear rust and ingrained dirt that had collected over the years. Once cleaned, the rack was treated with a blue powder spray and left to dry.
Once dry, the rack was treated with new, white PET protector strips, presenting an almost new rack ready to sell. Many of our distributor’s customers are large and often request the service of a rack/s to be left on site allowing the large, regular drop of bottles to be loaded and unloaded with speed, ease and safety. Refurbished racks are perfect for this solution.
We have more than 300 racks in stock, together with spare bags of PET plastic protector strips for customers wanting to refurbish their old stock themselves. These strips are easy to apply and will transform the rack almost instantly.
We have also since been working with a steel fabricator in China to develop a new rack that will be lighter and smaller than those already seen in the market, while still holding the required amount of bottles (32). We had our first arrival in October and should take it to market soon.
We continue to stock over 1,000 cases of the office bottle storage racks that come in a four-tier rack, and are easily assembled with simple wing nut attachments, allowing bottles to be safely stored away when either empty or full.
We also keep plenty of stock of the bottle handles that are regularly overlooked as being a vital part of the carrying process regardless of the moulded handle of ?the bottle.
Chris Penn is MD of 4 Aces, a water cooler packaging company that services bottlers and distributors across the UK.
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