Platforms are an integral part of any food and beverage processing facility — providing access to equipment, safety egresses, employee walkways, and increasing manufacturing space. They are the best way to utilize limited space in a facility while optimizing work and traffic flow.
Chances are you will need some kind of platform in your facility — whether a mezzanine, structural platform, crossover, or catwalk.
When it comes to investing in a platform, there are two main styles to choose from: a custom or modular platform.
Each offers unique benefits and limitations based on your needs and applications, so how do you know which one will work best for you?
[clickToTweet tweet=”Follow these 4 steps to make the best choice between a custom or modular platform for your facility.” quote=”Follow these 4 steps to make the best choice between a custom or modular platform for your facility.” theme=”style6″]
Determine Your Needs
The best place to start in choosing between a custom or modular platform is to write down what you need in a platform. Ask yourself these questions:
- What are the dimensions of the platform you need?
- What is your budget for a platform?
- How quickly do you need a platform?
- Are you able to move existing equipment around to fit a platform?
- Have you determined your floor slab capacity?
- Do you need the platform installed or will you do that yourself?
- What safety features do you want on the platform (toe kicks, anti-slip coating, etc)?
- Does the platform need to comply with sanitary design requirements?
Know the Pros and Cons
Once you’ve determined your needs, the next step is understand the differences between a custom and modular platform.
Each one offers benefits and set backs you need to take into consideration before pulling the trigger on investing a platform. Based on your budget, space, time frame, and capacity requirements, you’ll find either a custom or modular platform will fit your needs the best.
Once the need for a mezzanine is determined, one more question remains: Should I go with a custom designed or a stock modular mezzanine?
A custom designed platform is just that — custom designed to fit your plant, your equipment, and your needs exactly. A custom manufacturer will work with your team to determine your needs, take measurements, and design a solution that fits exactly what you want.
- Custom designed solution
- Fits around your equipment and utilities
- Custom placement of stairs
- Heavier duty construction
- Extra options to fit your needs
- Can be more expensive than modular option
- Can take more time to design and manufacture
The other option is to purchase a modular platform — you purchase sections and interlock them together to get the platform you need. Many modular manufacturers will work with you to pick the sections that will work best for you.
- Convenient — can often purchase sections online
- Often faster as no modeling needs to happen
- Can be cheaper depending on number of sections you purchase
- Only moderately custom — you are stuck working with the section sizes available
- Not as sturdy / heavy duty as a custom solution
- Cannot always get the fit around equipment you want
- Add-ons are often very pricey
Compare the Results
We put together a chart to help you visualize the differences between a custom and modular platform. Compare your answers to the questions above with this chart to determine which style of platform is best for you.
|Features||Custom Platform||Modular Platform|
|Platform Dimensions||Customizable to your exact needs||Limited to size of sections available|
|Budget||Often higher||Often lower|
|Speed of Manufacturing||Slower as requires design before manufacturing||Can be faster if modular sections are in stock|
|Move Equipment||Rarely requires equipment to be moved||Can require equipment to be moved based on availability of modular sections|
|Floor Slab Capacity||Requires it to be tested||Leaves the choice up to you|
|Professional Installation||Yes – included in the price||Yes – usually extra|
|Safety Features||Included in the price||Upgrades often required|
|Sanitary Design||Yes||Upgrade often required|
Research Your Choice
Once you’ve made a decision on which style platform will work best for your application, it’s time to research various manufacturers and options to see what company you want to work with.
There are a few ways to discover platform manufacturers to work with:
- Google Search
- Manufacturer Directories (such as found at MeatingPlace, FPSA, and more)
- Referrals from others in your industry
Or you can start by downloading the Fusion Build catalog to learn about our custom designed and manufactured platforms.