A Guide To Pallet Racks : What You Need To Know

Storage is probably one of your biggest concerns when in warehousing. But have you ever stopped to think about the elements of your storage system?

We wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t. As long as you have both maximum space and maximum efficiency, you’re likely more concerned with the bottom line of your business than how you get there. But pallet racks are not universal. Contrary to popular opinion, there’s multiple styles and configurations. Some can be optimized in ways you may have never considered. Some can be configured inefficiently. And some can be entirely irrelevant to the scope of your business.

If you’ve ever wondered about finding the right pallet rack system for your warehouse, here’s our guide on what to look for first.

What Is A Pallet Rack (And Why You Need Them)

If you have materials or products that are bundled, you’re going to need an efficient way of storing them. You’re going to need durability, but you’re also going to need to maximize space. While decisions on storage should always be based on the layout and design of your warehouse, pallet racks are one of the more efficient ways of keeping your bundled items safe, secure and accessible. In fact, they’re so efficient that many warehouses have begun to center their design almost exclusively around them.

Types Of Pallet Racks

  • Standard Selective Pallet Racks

A standard selective pallet rack is generally considered a primary “go-to” racking system. One of the chief conveniences of selective racks is that you can retrieve any pallet without having to move other bundled pallets in the system to access it (if you’ve ever had to lift bundled pallets well over 100 lbs, you know the experience isn’t exactly a walk in the park!)

  • Teardrop Racking

The easiest way to distinguish a pallet rack offering is by identifying features on the upright connectors between the beam and the frame. The most commonly found connectors are known as referred to as “teardrop” racking systems, named so because the punch hole design resembles an upside down teardrop. But one of the reasons why the design is so popular has to do with its adaptability. Because they allow you to customize the height of your pallet rack’s shelving, they’re perfect for both smaller bundles and oversized ones—even in the same system.

Generally speaking, there are two types of teardrop pallet racks most warehouses will wind up choosing: roll formed and structural.

  • Roll Formed And Structural Pallet Racking

Roll formed pallet racks tend to be lighter, easier to install and easier to organize. They’re also more versatile and easier to customize. But they’re nowhere near as durable as structural pallet racks, which can be stored by both pushback and drive-in methods. If you find that you’re routinely using a pallet rack to store and access heavier bundles, you may want to consider investing in a structural rack. But be forewarned: they’re much more time intensive to install.

  • Double Deep Pallet Racks

Double deep pallet racks have 11 foot aisles and incorporate two sections of a pallet rack placed back to back, making it convenient for access but less economic for physical space.

Components In A Pallet Rack System

  • Upright Columns

An upright column is the vertical component which your cross beams connect to. If you’re planning to store bundles of various sizes in one rack system, ensure the columns you choose are perforated in order to adjust to your specific needs.

  • Cross Beams

Cross beams are the main shelving component of a pallet rack system. Even if you’re storing relatively lightweight bundles, you should consider a cross beam with a higher weight capacity than you need. It’s fairly common for workers to rearrange items on pallet racks, and you’re going to need a system that can withstand heavy usage.

  • Wire Decks

Wire decks are frequently used as a safety precaution for pallet racks. Not only are they highly durable, but allow for greater air circulation. And given that warehouse temperature conditions can range from near freezing to sweltering, it’s essential that any material stored can stand up to the elements.

Pallet Rack Installation Tips

  • Ensure a minimum depth of six inches for less than the depth of the pallet racks for upright beams.
  • Always use a minimum of four cross beams even if you’re not using the entirety of a rack system.
  • Use shelf dividers to separate and organize any bundled materials.
  • If you’re pressed for space, one piece portable stacking pallet racks can be an inexpensive and convenient storage solution.
  • Ensure any pallet rack system is aligned with local fire and sanitation codes, including your warehouse sprinkler system.
  • Train your staff on proper installation and storage. Pallet racks are designed to hold anywhere from several hundred pounds upwards, and the risks to safety can be minimized drastically by a properly trained work staff.

Need more tips of proper material handling and storage? Visit us today at Reno Forklift.


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