How High Can Warehouse Pallet Racking Go?

Warehouse Pallet Racking

Pallet rack systems provide efficient use of warehouse storage space. The verticality of warehouse pallet racking allows companies to create more storage space with limited floor space. How high your pallet racking system can go depends on five limiting factors.

Equipment Reach Limitations

A storage system’s material handling equipment contributes to fast turnaround and safe workspaces. The same equipment places an upper limit on the height of a warehouse racking system. The vertical reach of a forklift, scissor lifts, and other material handling equipment limits the storage height of your warehouse’s racking system.

The Vestil Adjustable Stacker with Power Lift and Power Traction Drive demonstrates the lifting capability of a lift truck. This model lifts 1,000 lbs. up to 137” or just over 11 ft. into the air. It can lift 1,500 lbs. up to 118”, or 9.8 ft. in the air.

Forklifts usually have a 15 ft. reach, with some reaching up to 35 ft. Know your equipment’s vertical limits to set a limit on your racking height.

Ceiling Height Limitations

Ceiling height is an obvious factor that limits how high warehouse pallet racking can go. Ceiling clearance is a more informative measurement to be aware of. Sprinklers, beams, and plumbing can all affect ceiling height and ceiling clearance. The tallest parts of a racking system must be under the ceiling clearance and not just the ceiling height.

pallet heights

Inventory Dimension Limitations

The products that make up your inventory dictate the pallet rack’s bay dimensions. If the single freestanding area on top of the storage system is to be used, the inventory must also work with ceiling clearance. You must add the height of your pallets into inventory height measurements. A different type of pallet can have a different height, so do not generalize one height measurement to all pallets.

These Topline Containers’ Pallets exemplify the differences in pallet dimensions. They offer 1”, 5”, and 6” height options. The difference in pallet heights could determine whether one more level of storage is available in a warehouse.

Fire Code Limitations

If the pallet rack structure exceeds 12 ft, it is classified as high pile storage and requires a permit. To acquire a permit, warehouses must have a sprinkler system. Sprinkler systems decrease the ceiling clearance of a warehouse, limiting the maximum height of a storage system.

Rack Structure Limitations

The dimensions of the rack structure itself can limit the height of the system. The height of the structure should be less than six times the width of the system. The height is considered the length of the upright frames, and the width is the frame depth.

The higher the storage system, the more rack beams it has. Rack beams support the pallet racks. Naturally, businesses that want their storage space as efficient as possible aim for as many rack beams as possible. However, a storage system structure will become unsafe if it is outside of the 6:1 height ratio.

Learn More About Pallet Racking

Pallet racking takes advantage of vertical storage space, but it has limitations. Rack structure, fire codes, inventory management, and more need to be considered when making a pallet rack storage system.

To learn more about pallet racking and other storage solutions, check out our full selection at Shelving + Rack Systems Inc. Contact us at (800) 589-7225 with any questions about our inventory or your specific storage needs.