Buyer’s Guide to Wide Span Racks

Wide Span Loaded Racks

Wide span shelving racks are designed for medium to heavy load items that are hand loaded to and from shelves. This type of racking system is most suitable for holding small quantities of a variety of products in warehouses that utilize person-to-goods manual picking strategies. Wide span racking systems are accessed on foot, at floor level, or via raised walkways that have been installed between storage racks.

It consists of a combination of frames and beams, similar to pallet rack systems. The frame structure is uniquely formed with two upright frames that have bracing and foot plates. These beams act as shelf supports, enabling them to carry heavy items or bulky materials. One of the most useful factors with wide span shelving racks is that you can use different models and gauges of uprights, allowing you to adapt and support a range of product types.

Wide span shelving is extremely popular in warehouses and storage facilities in various industries due to its durability, versatility, and affordability. Wide span racks can be adapted to virtually any situation, from home garages to retail shelving displays.

Wide Span Shelving

There are multiple advantages when it comes to wide span racks. Metal shelves can be fitted into beams for maximum stability, making them suitable as a bulk storage system or to place large, heavy-duty products. They are also available in particleboard. Different styles of wide span beams are used to house the various shelving surfaces.

One of the most useful aspects of a wide span rack system is that it is very easy to assemble. It uses minimal supplies and parts to build. Wide span shelving can be adapted to various designs using a range of accessories and basic components. No matter what industry you’re in, this type of racking is suitable.

Wide span storage racks are a lot more durable than many other high-density shelving types. It can also be designed to go a lot higher than other systems, providing increased shelf depths and verticality. Some storage racks can be made in standard sizes of up to 26 feet, with other options available at various increments. They are also available with end plates that can be attached to standard pallet rack uprights. This makes it the ideal storage solution for hand-loaded goods and palletized items since each pallet can be placed on top of the other.

Advantages of Wide Span Shelving

  • Fast and easy to assemble.
  • Adaptable to a variety of uses and industries.
  • Individual shelving modules can be adjusted to meet any load configuration.
  • Available in 1-piece beam design, giving added strength and safety.
  • Beam heights can be adjusted on 2″ centers.
  • Available in various material types, including standard deck and shelf types, particleboard, galvanized panels, and wire mesh decks.
  • Allows for horizontal access widths of up to 96″.

Wide span shelving racks

Wide Span Shelving vs. Long Span Shelving

Long span shelving is a popular alternative to wide span shelving. Long span shelving covers expansive distances within storage facilities, making it well suited to large warehouses. They are usually made from structural steel, heavy gauge steel, or other durable materials. As long span shelving is quite strong, it can support heavy loads and is a common industrial shelving choice.

Like wide span shelving, long span is quite versatile, so it is used for domestic and commercial applications. It is a popular choice for garage shelving, where single units are large enough to store bulk materials and equipment. Despite its strength and high load capacity, long span shelving is lightweight so that it can be moved easily. It typically has an enamel finish, so it has a minimum chance of chipping, decaying, or rusting. Its modular design makes it the perfect option for retail businesses as it can be quickly reconfigured to accommodate incoming seasonal stock.

Strong long span shelving can hold heavy weights of up to 2,400 lbs. It can be fitted with additional slots or other available accessories, such as wheels, transforming it into a mobile system. These shelves generally don’t use bolts, so they can be customized to the user’s precise needs. Depending on your store’s inventory, the shelves can be made from either particleboard decking, steel, or wire mesh.

One of the main advantages of this type of shelving is that it can be used as a freestanding or standalone shelf with multiple tiers. This helps with order packing, allowing warehouse workers to access goods at shelf level from the unit’s front, back, or sides. Versatility is crucial for warehouses that process a high volume of goods. Packaging materials, shipping supplies, and shipping boxes must be easy to access, particularly when items are hand-loaded. Both wide span and long span shelving facilitate this, enabling businesses to save time and money.

Metal shelving is ideal for retail stores and food manufacturing and storage facilities as it is easy to clean or sanitize. This is particularly useful post-COVID pandemic as businesses are making an effort to be more sanitary. Good maintenance can also extend the lifespan of the shelving.

Heavy Duty Wide Span Racks

Wide span racks are generally heavy duty. Although they’re often used to store smaller goods, they are a popular storage option for those looking to store medium to large-sized items, including tools, machinery, and equipment. They are a mainstay for logistics businesses as they are used to store and manage goods in a warehouse or storage room. Whatever business you’re involved in, there are several benefits to heavy-duty wide span racks.

  • Maximizes storage space: lack of space is a common problem in warehouses. With limited floor space, businesses often have to leave large open areas and wide aisles for staff and forklifts to pass through. Heavy duty racking allows businesses to store heavy pallets and large goods by optimizing the vertical storage space. This maximizes warehouse capacity and opens up other spaces, leading to more efficient premises.
  • Increased efficiency: heavy-duty wide span racks allow easy access to goods, ensuring workers can organize and retrieve them however and whenever they need to. Although many of these racks are used in warehouses that hand load their goods, they are also easily accessible by forklifts. By saving time and storage space, businesses can take advantage of a more efficient warehouse and productive employees.
  • Creates a safer working environment: a byproduct of a more organized and efficient warehouse is that it minimizes potential hazards and unnecessary injuries from happening. Packed warehouses can lead to workplace accidents, trips, and falls or cause workers to drop goods when they’re working. Wide span racks allow for more efficient use of space, opening up walkways and paths for forklifts and making them much safer. These shelving racks can also be bolted down, increasing the stability of the posts and minimizing the risk of collapse.
  • Easy to install: a key advantage of heavy duty wide span racks is that they are very easy to install, move, and uninstall. Installation information is often provided by the manufacturer, meaning you may be able to set up racking without professional assistance. Various accessories, such as frames, guards, and guide rails can be added, ensuring the racks are protected and safe to use for almost any application.

Source Racking from a Reputable Provider

Whether you need racking for a retail store, warehouse, or personal use, wide span racking is an excellent option. It is strong, durable, and versatile, ensuring it can be adapted to your exact needs. Wide span racking is suitable for stocking a host of goods, with steel varieties capable of housing heavy-duty items, like machinery.

Shelving + Rack Systems Inc. is a leading provider of racks and shelving equipment. To see our full product range check out our website today, or give us a call for more information.


Should wide span shelving be bolted to the floor?

According to the Rack Manufacturers Institute (RMI), all pallet racking systems, including aisle, interior, and rear columns, must be secured to the floor with anchors or bolts. All wide span shelving posts should come with RMI-certified base plates and fasteners that have been rigorously tested for safety and efficacy. Anchoring your shelving system not only protects your inventory but also prevents accidental workplace injuries.

What are the components of a wide span shelving system?

A single wide span shelving module consists of four upright posts with footplates, horizontal beams and frame connectors to attach to the posts, tie bars to provide added structural support to the center of the beams and decking, and particleboard, steel, or mesh decks.

How do you estimate the weight capacity of wide span shelving?

The weight capacity of the whole shelving system depends on the beam length and the number of support bars for each section. Most manufacturers provide a capacity chart, giving an estimated load-bearing weight for a standard beam length.