How to Order Pallet Racking Like a Pro

Steel Corrugated Pallet

Rack storage uses vertical storage space, organizes inventory, and works well with material handling equipment. These characteristics make pallet racking systems one of the most popular modes of warehouse storage. When you order your pallet racking, you’ll need to know the style of racking, the dimensions of the system, and any necessary rack accessories.

Measure Inventory and Calculate Load Capacity

You need to measure your palletized inventory’s weight, height, width, and depth. With these measurements you can calculate your storage system’s load capacity, upright height, beam length, and bay size.

Weight determines load capacity

The weight of your pallet loads is the main determinant in a storage system’s necessary load capacity. The weight of the storage system components also adds to the load capacity. The pallet load weight must include the pallet’s weight as well.

Topper Container’s Steel Corrugated Pallet is a heavy-duty pallet meant for heavy loads. This pallet is extremely sturdy due to its flat surfaces and steel production. It weighs 164 lbs. The difference between the Topper Container’s pallet and an 89 lb. plastic pallet highlights the necessity of including pallet weight in pallet load weight.

If your palletized inventory has uniform weight across all pallets, then you only have one load capacity calculation to make for the system. Otherwise, you need to separate your rack system into sections that store different weights.

The horizontal beams are the structural component that the pallet load is stored on. The weight of the pallet load determines the horizontal beam capacity. The beams must have a load capacity higher than the pallet load weight.

Once you determine the load capacity of a single set of horizontal beams, you need to calculate how many sets of beams per upright your system will have. This is the same as figuring out how many storage bays your system will have.

Warehouse configuration and load height

Your warehouse’s ceiling clearance and the pallet load’s height are co-determinants in your storage system’s height calculation. Not only must the rack structure clear the ceiling, but a stored pallet on top of the system must also be clear of all ceiling structures. Add at least 6” to the height of the top pallet load to accommodate forklift retrieval operations.

The height of a loaded pallet also determines the bay height. This is the distance between the top of a set of horizontal beams and the bottom of the next set. The bay height should be at least 6” taller than the height of a loaded pallet. Lift trucks and forklifts need this extra room to safely handle the material.

Consider the ceiling clearance and the bay heights to calculate how many bays your system can have and how tall it will be. This calculation also tells you how tall the upright frame will need to be. This is the column that horizontal beams connect to.

Final storage system calculations

Take the horizontal beam load capacities and multiply by the amount of bays in your storage system. Then add the weight of the horizontal beams and braces. The upright frame load capacity needs to exceed this number. The upright frame’s load capacity is the same as the load capacity of this whole section of rack storage.

Multiply the section’s load capacity by the number of sections you need to store all your inventory. This is the racking system’s load capacity. It should handle more weight than all your palletized inventory and the weight of all structural components of the rack system.

Now you know all necessary load capacities, the system’s vertical height, and the bay heights, calculate the widths of the bays. This should be several inches wider than the width of your standard pallets. With all of these dimensions calculated, you are ready to order the correct structural components for your pallet racking.

Choose the Correct Racking Style

There are many pallet racking styles and configurations. They offer efficient storage for businesses with different rotation protocols, storage and retrieval methods, and storage densities. Find out which pallet racking style matches your needs, so you can order the right product.

Selective pallet racking

Selective pallet rack systems are a low-density and high-accessibility storage option. They are best suited for warehouses with a lot of floor space. Material handling equipment has easy access to all loaded pallets in the storage system.

Galvanized Pallet Rack System

Red Steel’s Galvanized Pallet Rack System is a heavy-duty selective pallet racking system. The uprights in this system have a load capacity ranging from 20,000 lbs. to 27,000 lbs. The teardrop connection design makes it easily customizable because beams can be vertically repositioned on the uprights at frequent intervals.

Businesses that require well-organized, accessible, and easily customizable storage should use selective pallet racking. If high-density storage is more important, then other racking options will better match your storage needs.

Push back racking

Push back racking is high-density storage that works with last-in, first-out (LIFO) rotation. Palletized inventory is placed into storage from the front of the rack, and it pushes all other pallet loads deeper into the storage system. Only the pallets at the front of the system are accessible to material handling equipment.

Push back racking affords unmatched storage density because less room is allotted to retrieval aisles. This is a more expensive option than selective pallet racking, but if floor space is a limiting factor in your warehouse, push-back racking can work for you.

Pallet flow racking

Pallet flow racking is similar to push back racking, but it is for first-in, first-out (FIFO) operations rather than LIFO operations. Forklifts load pallets into the back of the storage system, and they flow to the front, where they are accessed.

This comes with a slight loss of storage density because forklifts need access to the front and back of the storage system. It is still considered a high-density racking system because inventory gets stored many pallets deep into one racking section.

Cantilever racking

Cantilever racking

If your inventory is long and bulky, then cantilever racking is the optimal storage system. The Meco Series 1000 Medium-Duty Cantilever Rack provides easily accessible storage for lumber, piping, and other long items.

Cantilever racks lack the front vertical upright that pallet racks have. This increases forklift access to stored materials. This double-sided, medium-duty cantilever rack has a load capacity of up to 16,200 lbs. Heavy-duty models increase the load capacity to 36,200 lbs.

Choose New or Used Pallet Racks

You should know whether you want new or used pallet rack units when you order your pallet racking. New units guarantee high-quality components and long-lasting storage. Used units, when properly inspected, are cost-effective and have quick assembly time.

If you decide to order used pallet racking, make sure to get updated Load Application and Rack Configuration (LARC) drawings from the previous owner. Engineers make LARC drawings to display the load capacity of the rack system. Warehouse managers must have LARC drawings according to the Rack Manufacturers Institute.

Invest in Pallet Rack Accessories

Pallet rack accessories increase the security of your stored inventory, protect the storage structure, and make your warehouse floor safe. Wire decking ensures safe pallet storage, and upright protectors minimize the chance of forklift impact damage on the rack system.

Pallet Rack Accessories

Nashville Wire Products Wire Decking is made to accommodate any rack storage system. If anything were to fall off a pallet, the wire decking would stop it from becoming a potential hazard. This wire decking has a load capacity of up to 3,650 lbs. The welded-wire design keeps your products clean in storage because there is less area for dust build-up.

Nashville Wire Products Wire Decking

End of Aisle Rack Guards by Handle It are another investment in the longevity of your storage system. They protect your storage system’s vertical columns and base plates from material handling equipment impact. The Handle It Guards are made from high-quality steel with a high-visibility coating.

Order Pallet Racking Today

Explore the Shelving + Rack Systems catalog to find all the pallet racking components you need. Keep in mind pallet load measurements, system load capacity, pallet rack style, and rack accessories for an efficient and accurate ordering process.

If you need further assistance, contact a storage professional at (800) 589-7225. And visit Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc for information on shelving units and rack systems.