A pallet shelving rack is a metal racking system that uses heavy-duty steel frames and beams to provide secure storage for palletized items. They are an invaluable storage solution for manufacturing and distribution businesses, helping improve efficiency and productivity.
From warehouses and retail outlets to manufacturing plants and agricultural operations, these shelves effectively store a bulk number of items in an organized and efficient manner. By freeing up valuable floor space, they help promote efficiency while minimizing the risk of accidents in the workplace.
But what exactly is a pallet shelving rack, and what makes them so beneficial? Discover the five things you must know about pallet shelving racks to understand how they can help you make the most of your available space.
Types of Pallet Shelving Racks
There are many types of pallet shelving racks on the market today. Each one meets a distinct set of storage requirements. Let’s take a look at a few of the most popular racks.
Selective Pallet Racking
Selective pallet racking systems are the most common type of pallet shelving racks. They feature upright frames, typically made from steel, supporting horizontal beams to store items.
These systems have adjustable shelves and can be configured in various ways, allowing users to maximize storage space and customize their layout. Every pallet bay can be accessed from the aisle without removing other pallets, making them ideal for high-volume, high-turnover operations.
Heavy-Duty Rack System
This type of pallet shelving rack is designed for more demanding industrial applications. Rather than rolled steel used in other pallet racks, they usually feature thicker structural steel frames and pallet rack beams that can withstand higher weight and stress levels.
These shelves can hold more weight per shelf, allowing them to store heavy items easily. Heavy-duty rack systems also typically come with adjustable shelves, providing greater flexibility for customizing the layout.
Mobile Racking Systems
Mobile racking systems are ideal for high-density storage warehouses where space is at a premium. The racking system moves along tracks, so you don’t need to account for aisle space when designing your warehouse layout. Workers can manually or electronically open an access aisle for the forklift to locate the required inventory, then close it again.
Mobile racking systems can also be integrated with your warehouse management system (WMS). This allows users to open and close the racks via computer or tablet and track inventory levels.
Drive-In and Drive-Thru Racking Systems
Drive-in racking systems are designed for last-in, first-out (LIFO) inventory management systems. They are a high-density storage solution with a single access aisle, allowing you to stack pallets several bays high and up to six positions deep. This will enable you to maximize your facility’s vertical space and square footage.
Drive-thru racking operates similarly but has two access aisles allowing for first-in-first-out (FIFO) inventory management. This makes it suitable for warehouses stocking perishable goods like food and pharmaceuticals.
Pros and Cons of Pallet Shelving Racks
Pallet shelving racks are a great way to maximize storage space, improve organization and enhance safety in the workplace. However, it is important to consider the pros and cons of pallet shelving before investing in a system for your facility.
Pros of Pallet Shelving Racks
Pallet shelving racks can offer many advantages to warehouses and storage facilities. They come in a wide range of sizes, types, and materials—allowing users to find a perfect fit for their needs.
Many non-welded models also feature a teardrop beam and rack upright design. Teardrop pallet racks use rivets and inverted-teardrop-shaped holes to secure the rack frame in place, making it easy for warehouse workers to assemble and reconfigure the system without the help of a rack engineer.
Because pallet racking systems offer easier access to materials handling equipment, you can improve loading, picking, and order fulfillment for a more efficient workplace.
Cons of Pallet Shelving Racks
Unfortunately, pallet storage racks also have some drawbacks. Pallet racks are unsuitable for storing small, unpalletized, or non-uniform items. If you stock a wide variety of SKUs, including non-palletized inventory, you may need to supplement your racking system with industrial shelving units equipped with baskets, bins, or dividers.
Pallet racking systems also have a large footprint. Since you can only access pallets using a forklift or pallet jack, you need ample aisle space to safely accommodate the forklift’s turning circle. This can be a challenge for many smaller warehouses, so investing in industrial shelving systems may be more beneficial than a complete pallet racking system.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Pallet Shelving Rack
With these benefits and drawbacks in mind, there are several important factors to consider when choosing warehouse pallet racking systems for your warehouse or storage facility:
Load Capacity Requirements
Depending on the size and weight of the goods you will store, you may need an industrial-strength rack that can handle heavy pallet loads. Opt for a high-strength steel construction with adjustable shelving heights to ensure maximum load capacity.
Galvanized Steel Pallet Racks from Shelving + Rack Systems are an excellent storage solution that can be optimized to easily store heavy-duty items. The beams for these racks are constructed with 14, 15, or 16-gauge steel that can support loads up to 7,000 lbs.
Choose a Design Compatible with Your Products and Space Requirements
Choose a system that fits your existing products and offers ample room to expand warehouse space if needed. Make sure the dimensions of the rack match the size and shape of your pallets or products.
For example, the Series 2000 cantilever racks from Shelving + Rack Systems are an excellent choice for medium to heavy-duty applications that store bulky, long, or irregularly shaped items like pipes, steel rebar, or furniture.
The arm level of each rack can be adjusted in 3” increments from the bottom of the uprights to the top. This allows users to customize their cantilever rack to fit their individual storage needs and requirements perfectly.
Look for Quality Construction Materials and Durability Features
Steel or aluminum are great options because they are strong and won’t warp over time. Always choose structural steel for heavy-duty applications and ensure aluminum racking is galvanized or powder-coated to prevent corrosion.
The Muscle Rack Storage Unit from Shelving + Rack Systems provides optimal beam adjustability with its sturdy 16-gauge all-welded upright frame punched on 3” centers. This ensures stability and strength for all your storage needs.
Each shelf comes equipped with 16-gauge step beams with tie bars to eliminate beam rotation and further secure the shelves during heavy loading.
Evaluate Options for Modular or Customized Solutions
Modular systems can be easily expanded with add-on units as your business grows, whereas custom solutions provide more flexibility and allow for specific design features like color selections, mounting configurations, and material thicknesses.
Safety Precautions for Installing and Using Pallet Shelving Racks
Installing and using pallet shelving racks can be a great way to organize and store items, but taking the proper safety precautions is important. One of the most important steps is to ensure that the shelving units are securely attached or fastened to the warehouse floor or wall.
Anchoring your rack system prevents them from tipping over if too much weight is loaded on one side or due to forklift collisions. All hardware used to attach the shelves should be secured tightly, including wire deckings, lag bolts, heavy-duty anchors, brackets, straps, and other mounting devices.
When loading items onto the shelves, ensure not to exceed the rack’s overall weight limit and the limit per bay. You should have the load weight plaque clearly displayed on the rack system where workers can see it so they know how much weight each pallet position can support.
While handling hazardous materials, avoid contact with any unstable objects, such as loose boxes or containers that may contain hazardous materials like flammable liquids or combustible dust particles. Make sure any products you’re storing are securely closed and kept away from any sources of heat or sparks which could ignite them.
Proper Maintenance for Long-Lasting Pallet Shelving Racks
Proper maintenance of pallet shelving racks is essential to ensure they last as long as possible. Inspect all pallet racking uprights, beams, cross braces, decking, and anchors for signs of damage or corrosion. Also, regularly check all pallet racking accessories like nuts, bolts, and other fasteners to ensure they are secure.
Replace any missing parts with ones suitable for the specific model of pallet shelving rack you have in your warehouse. Remember to follow OSHA standards for warehouse pallet racking and the Rack Manufacturers Institute (RMI) guidelines for racking installation, maintenance, and inspections.
Invest in column protectors, floor-mounted barriers, and end-of-aisle rack guards to prevent damage to your pallet racking system. These areas are most prone to damage from forklift impacts, and the high-visibility yellow helps drivers avoid collisions.
Contact Shelving + Rack Systems for Your Racking Needs
At Shelving + Rack Systems, we understand that every facility has unique storage needs. So, our team is committed to providing a wide variety of rack sizes, designs, and features to meet any storage requirement.