A Guide to Pallet Rack Frame Capacity

Pallet Rack Frame

Whether you are using new or used pallet racking, understanding the pallet rack frame capacity is essential to the safety and productivity of your warehouse. Overloading or miscalculating the pallet rack frame capacity can compromise the entire structure putting the system at risk of collapse. To learn more about pallet rack frame capacity and how you can ensure the safety of your employees, here is a helpful guide.

What is the Pallet Rack Frame Capacity?

There are two important measurements to take into consideration when constructing and loading your pallet racking system: the beam capacity and the frame capacity.

The beam capacity simply refers to the total weight a beam level can hold and varies according to the length, height, steel gauge, as well as other factors. But once installed the beam capacity does not change.

The frame capacity, also known as the vertical beam spacing, however, refers to the total load capacity for each length of unsupported upright frame column which changes according to the distance between the beam levels and can be adjusted depending on the racking system used.

How to Calculate Pallet Rack Frame Capacity

Accurately calculating the frame capacity ensures the integrity of the overall structure. However, when you calculate the pallet frame capacity, there are several factors that you need to take into consideration.

The Load

The total frame capacity required depends on the size and weight of the pallets to be loaded. You need to add the weight of the pallet to the weight of the contents and also consider the height and depth of the pallets to make sure that the beam levels are loaded uniformly.

The Number of Beam Levels

The pallet frame capacity decreases as the height between each beam level increases, as the beam levels add support to the structure. The pallet frame capacity can be increased by increasing the number of beam levels per bay.

Calculating Total Frame Capacity

The find the total frame capacity you need to find the estimated maximum beam level load, as per the beam level rating, and multiply that by the number of beam levels per bay. This will give you the final capacity per vertical beam spacing.

For example, if the total height of your frame is 16-feet, and there are 4 beam levels each with a rated capacity of 4,000-lbs, then you will need a total frame capacity of 16,000-lbs. Then, estimate what your largest vertical spacing will be and distribute the remaining beam levels at equal distances.

Manufacturer’s supply beam level and frame capacity ratings at varying vertical spacing measurements.

Upright Frame Safety Issues

There are other factors and industry standards that should be considered alongside the pallet frame capacity to ensure that your pallet racking system is structurally sound.

Height-to-Depth Ratio

The height-to-depth ratio impacts the stability of the pallet racks in the event of collisions, natural disasters or another impact. It is recommended that the height of the pallet racks be no more than 6 times the depth. If a pallet rack exceeds this ratio, it can be attached to another row with a row spacer for added support.


OSHA recommends that pallet racking systems be bolted to the floor with the use of floor anchors to provide additional stability.


Forklift collisions are a frequent occurrence and can damage the structure of your pallet racking system. Protect the upright columns with guardrails to absorb the shock of the collision and prevent dented the steel.

Forklift Collisions

Final Thoughts

The pallet frame capacity is an important measurement that can help you more effectivity and safely store inventory in your new or used pallet racking system. To learn more about pallet frame capacity or to find out which pallet racking system best suits the needs of your warehouse, contact Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc on (800)-589-7225 for a consultation.