How to Evaluate Used Pallet Rack Deflection for Uprights, Struts, & Beams

Used Pallet Racking System

When selecting used pallet racking systems for your warehouse, it’s important to find a reputable supplier who conducts routine inspections and can provide you with a quality product. Pallet racks are composed of several components — beams, uprights, and struts. To ensure these parts perform at optimum efficiency, periodically evaluate your pallet racks for damage, deflection, and corrosion signs.

Evaluating Your Pallet Racks

As a general rule, you should have trained warehouse personnel inspect your pallet racks for signs of deflection or damage monthly and consider hiring third-party engineers to conduct yearly inspections.

If you notice that an upright is twisted or punctured, it’s necessary to repair or replace this part, regardless of whether the cosmetic damage appears to be severe.

When Should You Address Deflection?

Some manufacturers adhere to a “1-2-3” rule for determining when to take action regarding pallet rack damage — i.e., when there is a measurable deflection of ⅛” 2/8” and ⅜,” depending on the component.

Frontal Upright Damage

Damage to the front faces of the upright columns is the easiest to identify. If you find ⅛” of frontal upright deflection, you need to repair or replace the upright. You should also evaluate the uprights for other signs of damage, including rust. If you find signs of corrosion, this could indicate that the protective finish has become worn.

Lateral Upright Damage

Lateral upright deflection should not exceed 2/8”. During your inspection, check for damage concealed by beam connectors or other accessories.

Both frontal and lateral upright damage can result from forklift truck collisions, which is why it’s advisable to install column guards or protectors. Acting like a shield between the vehicle and the upright, these accessories absorb the impact, preventing damage to the upright frames.

In addition, you should determine whether you need roll formed or structural racking for your warehouse needs. Roll formed racking, while less expensive than structural racking, is also more susceptible to impact damage when used in high-traffic facilities.

Horizontal Bracing

The last part of the “1-2-3” rule affects horizontal or diagonal bracing, which is designed to add structural support to the upright frames. Damage to these braces risks compromising the stability of the system. As a result, it’s critical you evaluate bracing carefully. If you find ⅜” of deflection, you should address this damage immediately.

Beam Deflection

The rack beams comprise the horizontal support structure of the pallet rack. These are the parts that the forklift operator places palletized inventory on. While designed to support significant amounts of weight, you should never exceed the load capacities provided by the rack manufacturer.

It’s normal for a loaded beam to exhibit some degree of deflection; however, the deflection should not exceed the length of the beam, measured in inches, divided by 180.

Beam Connectors

Beam Connectors

The beam connectors allow you to attach the beams to the uprights. In roll formed racking, to prevent the beam connectors from detaching, manufacturers use safety pins. There should be at least one safety pin per beam connector.

In structural racking, the beam connectors are bolted in place. As part of your general evaluation, ensure all safety pins are accounted for, if applicable, and there are no signs of deformation or damage.

Anchors and Base Plates

Anchors are an essential part of pallet racking, mechanically fastening the rack to the concrete floor of your warehouse. This increases stability, allowing the rack to effectively resist impact, seismic forces from earthquakes, and shear forces. Assessing anchors and base plates for signs of damage or improperly seated shimming is important for ensuring the structural integrity of your pallet racks.

Ensure Correct Plumb

Plumbness, in this context, refers to the verticality of your upright frames. If your upright frames are out of plumb, that means they’re leaning to one side or another. The out-of-plumb ratio should not exceed ½” in 10’.

Always Display Load Capacity Information

The load capacities of your pallet racking systems should be readily available to employees. If you don’t know the load capacities of your racks, consult the supplier or manufacturer.

Alternatively, hire an engineer to calculate the load capacities. Using racking systems without this information is a significant safety hazard. You should display this information on each pallet bay using labels or plaques.

Shelving + Rack Takes Inspections Seriously

At Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc., we conduct thorough inspections of our used pallet racking systems to ensure they meet the highest standards for quality and safety.

When you purchase your used pallet racking systems from us, we will teach you how to periodically inspect them to ensure they continue to meet your safety standards.

Browse our online catalog or call us at (800) 589-7225 for more information about our products and services.