custom vs modular platform

How to Make the Best Choice Between a Custom or Modular Platform

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?

Follow these 4 steps to make the best choice between a custom or modular platform for your facility.Click To Tweet

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?

Custom Platforms

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.

Pros:

  • Custom designed solution
  • Fits around your equipment and utilities
  • Custom placement of stairs
  • Heavier duty construction
  • Extra options to fit your needs

Cons:

  • Can be more expensive than modular option
  • Can take more time to design and manufacture

Modular Platforms

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.

Pros:

  • Convenient — can often purchase sections online
  • Often faster as no modeling needs to happen
  • Can be cheaper depending on number of sections you purchase

Cons:

  • 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.

FeaturesCustom PlatformModular Platform
Platform DimensionsCustomizable to your exact needsLimited to size of sections available
BudgetOften higherOften lower
Speed of ManufacturingSlower as requires design before manufacturingCan be faster if modular sections are in stock
Move EquipmentRarely requires equipment to be movedCan require equipment to be moved based on availability of modular sections
Floor Slab CapacityRequires it to be testedLeaves the choice up to you
Professional InstallationYes – included in the priceYes – usually extra
Safety FeaturesIncluded in the priceUpgrades often required
Sanitary DesignYesUpgrade 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.

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