When and How to Use Cantilever Rack

When you need to increase the storage space of your warehouse, it’s important to take into account the kinds of inventory you intend to store and retrieve. Cantilever racks are highly beneficial to many warehouse operations, but when and how should you use cantilever racks as a storage solution?

What are Cantilever Racks?

Cantilever systems, also called lumber racks, are designed to store long, bulky items that may also be oddly shaped. These inventory items are not palletized and include lumber, bar stock, furniture, metal tubing, pipes, drywall sheets, and other non-standard materials.

A cantilever rack consists of two cantilever uprights attached to bases, which anchor the system to the warehouse floor. Cantilever arms attach to the uprights and provide the support structure for storing items. There may also be sway braces between the uprights for additional stability.

The arms may be perfectly horizontal or inclined, depending on the inventory items. For example, an incline can keep these items secure when storing PVC tubing, bar stock, or other round objects.

Cantilever Configurations

Cantilever racks are available in two different configurations. In single-sided cantilever racks, the arms only project from one side of the uprights. There are also double-sided racks that double the storage capacity of the system.

Roll Formed vs. Structural

Two kinds of assembly and manufacturing methods are used in cantilever racks.

Structural racks

In a structural cantilever rack, the components are composed of hot-rolled steel that is either welded or bolted together by the manufacturer. Using heavy-gauge steel, structural racks are stronger, providing increased weight capacity compared with roll-formed racks.

Our Red Steel Cantilever Rack is made using structural-steel “I” beams for increased strength and rigidity. Available in either single- or double-sided configurations, the Red Steel Cantilever Rack is highly versatile and permits easy access.

Roll-formed racks

Composed of cold-rolled steel components, roll-formed cantilever racks are more lightly constructed than their structural counterparts, providing reduced load capacities as a result. However, roll-formed racks are still strong and are easy to assemble and disassemble. Lead times with roll-formed racking systems are also generally lower, as the method of fabrication is simpler.

Our Meco Omaha Series 2000 Medium-Heavy Duty Cantilever Racks are good examples of this type of racking system. Durably constructed, these heavy-duty racks are simple and easy to install. The open-base design increases forklift accessibility, and the arms are adjustable on 3” centers.

Depending on the height, configuration, and arm length that you choose, this system can support anywhere between 8,800 and 34,800 lbs.

How to Set up Your Cantilever Rack

cantilever storage racks

To find the best cantilever racking system, it’s important to know the dimensions of the products you’ll be storing, as well as the weight capacity of the rack to store expected loads safely.

Measure Products

You will need to measure the load’s height, length, width, and depth to ensure compatibility with your racking system. If your load is made up of multiple parts, measure the load as a unit.

The depth of your loads can help you to determine the appropriate length of the cantilever arms. If the depth of the load exceeds the length of the cantilever arms, for example, you may need to adjust this accordingly.

It’s also essential the load is properly placed on the cantilever arms. The rated arm capacity depends on a properly positioned load of the correct measurements. The load should not overhang the length of the arms by more than half the distance between the centers of both uprights.

Load Deflection

To minimize load deflection, you will need to find the most suitable distance between the uprights to support the load properly. To find the proper lateral spacing, monitor the system closely for signs of bowing when the load is placed on the arms. The distance that causes the least measurable deflection is the one most suitable. You can test a load for deflection by placing it on blocks of wood on the ground.

Proper Cantilever Height

When installing any kind of racking system, it’s necessary to determine the clear height of your warehouse. This isn’t simply the ceiling height but the distance from the floor to the lowest-hanging overhead object. In addition, the reach of your forklift trucks can influence the ideal height of the system.

The anticipated load height also affects the distance between the cantilever arms, allowing you to determine their appropriate heights. There should, ideally, be a 6” clearance between the top of the load and the bottom of the set of arms directly above it.

You’ll also need to know the height of the arms and the height of the bases. Once you have this information, you can determine the number of arms you should have for each level.

Shelving + Rack Can Help You Find the Right Cantilever Rack

At Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc., we supply a variety of storage solutions for the modern warehouse, including cantilever systems. Give us a call at (800) 589-7225, and we’ll help you find the perfect cantilever racking system to suit your warehouse and inventory.