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18 Essential Pallet Racking Guidelines

The material handling industry is abundant with new technologies and innovations. In the background of all this fancy new technology is a variety of less exciting, but equally important equipment, including pallet racking.

With all of the moving parts of a material handling system, racking if often viewed as “just racking.” It is often the last part of a system to be considered and is usually seen as a simple piece of the puzzle.

However, there are actually a multitude of different aspects that must be considered when designing and ordering pallet racking to ensure a proper fit for a material handling system. This is why it is important to allow ample time for industry experts – like us – to analyse the many aspects of a proper rack design.

The design of pallet rack systems can be broken down into three major elements as follows:

1) Details of the product being stored

2) Physical site variables

3) Rack design variables

This blog will take a quick look at each element.

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Product Being Stored

Size and Weight of the Product – This is the most important aspect of designing pallet rack systems. Since racks are designed with a built-in safety factor, it is important not to inflate the weight of the product, which will increase the cost of the rack components.

Type and Construction of the Pallet – Because so many types of pallets are being used, it would be inaccurate to say that there is a “typical” pallet.

Storage of Product on Pallet – If product overhangs the pallet, the racks may need to increase in width or depth to accommodate the overhang.

Physical Site Considerations

Concrete Floor Specifications – This is used to determine if the concrete slab can support the weight of the pallet rack and the product being stored. Depending on the strength of the concrete, larger foot plates may be required to spread the load of your pallet racking.

Separation Requirement – This is a measure of the minimum distance between the rack and any building elements, mainly the building columns. This requirement can significantly impact the layout, especially the quantity and width of the drive aisles.

Sprinkler Requirement – In-rack sprinklers are typically determined by the type of product being stored and by the specifications of the insurance company. If sprinklers are required, additional distance between racks and special bracing may be necessary to accommodate the pipes passing through the racks.

Building Specific Elements – These elements include size and type of building columns; location of roof drains or other obstructions on building columns; or presence of wind bracing etc.

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Pallet Racking Design

Definitions – An upright frame is constructed of two vertical columns with bracing between them. Horizontal beams connect the uprights together and support the pallets.

Rack Profiles – A “profile” is a drawing that shows the distance between beam levels for each bay of rack. If there are long spans between beam levels, additional bracing may be required.

Reinforcement – Additional bracing of the upright frame may be required and is determined by the distance between beam levels and the seismic classification. This can include bracing that is thicker, bracing that has been doubled, and a different bracing pattern that is closer together.

Beam Design – Beam design is driven by the seismic classification which determines the size and type of connector and how the connectors are welded to the ends of the beams. The length of the beams is determined by establishing the clearances required between pallets as they are stored on the rack as well as the distance required between the pallets and the rack uprights.

Column Punching – the holes that are punched in the face of the vertical columns to which the beams are connected vary greatly by manufacturer. This is important in case the punching needs to match existing pallet rack.

Pallet Racking Accessories – The most common accessories are wire mesh decks, pallet supports, column protectors and rack end barriers.

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Get in Touch with Advanced Handling & Storage

Whatever your pallet racking needs, we can help evaluate your requirements, take you through the processes and advise on the optimum solutions for your warehouse space.

If you want to explore the option of new or second hand pallet racking, or simply want a quote for new, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on 0800 345 7088 or send an email to [email protected]

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