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Pallet Racking: Material Handling Storage System

Pallet racking is a material handling storage aid system that is designed to store materials on pallets. Although there are many varieties and manufactures of pallet racking, all types allow for the storage of palletized materials in horizontal rows and with multiple levels. Forklift trucks are usually an integral part of any pallet racking system as they are usually required to place the loaded pallets onto the racks for storage.

Pallet racking over the years has become an essential and ubiquitous element of most modern warehouses, manufacturing facilities, retail outlets, and other storage and distribution centres worldwide. All types of pallet racking create an increase of storage density.

Pallet Racking Components

Load beams (also called step beams or box beams)

Most step beams are roll formed members with a 1⅝” step along the top inside edge. This step is used to hold any load support components such as pallet supports or wire decks.

Box beams have no inset step, instead have four flat sides like a box. All load beams typically mount onto an upright frame column with integral rivets or hooks. Some systems utilize an extra clip or bolt to lock the beam to the upright.

Structural beams are hot formed structural C shapes with connecting clips at either end. These beams are generally used with structural uprights but can be used with standard roll formed uprights. Structural load beams offer heavier weight capacities than step beams or box beams.

Upright frames

(also called uprights) vary in size and design depending on load requirements, and styles. Holes or slots are punched during manufacturing up and down the column at standard intervals so that the load bearing beams can be mounted into the upright columns.


Diagonal bracingsand horizontal bracings, are usually welded between two upright columns to form upright frames. The bracing may be bolted to the columns in some cases.

Pallet Support

These sare formed channels that are installed between the load beams to support pallets.

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Wire deckingis commonly used as a safety measure on pallet racking in order to prevent pallets or the products stored on them from falling between the structures. Mesh decking comes in various thicknesses dimensions. Wire mesh construction is often seen as a more formerly and a cleaner way of storage as it prevents dirt and other debris from accumulating on the shelves because of the holes in the mesh. Most wire mesh decking has U-shaped channel supports, also known as struts, to support the load.


Footplates, also known as baseplates, are at the base of columns and serve as a means to give the rack more stability: bolts are inserted through the baseplate’sholes to attach the column to the concrete floor. These are made of thicker steel. Footplates increase the pallet rack’s overall stability and weight-bearing capacity.


These are used when the uprights are resting on uneven floors; the shims, equal in size to the base of the uprights, are installed beneath the uprights to level the racking.

Row Spacers

Row Spacers are sometimes used if uprights are arranged in back-to-back rows; the spacers are mounted between adjacent columns to ensure that the rows are kept straight and to give the pallet racking even more strength and stability.

Wall Ties

These may be used for further support if the uprights are arranged in a row along a wall.

Column Protectors

These are protective guards that can be installed around the base of an upright to help prevent any damage where forklifts might hit the upright part of the pallet racking. Damage to the base of a column can weaken the entire frame and could cause it to collapse. Column protectors are made of various materials such as polyethylene, ductile iron casting, and other durable materials.

Guard Rails

Guard Rails are installed to increase protection for upright columns and for human safety when platforms or steps are attached to pallet racking.

Get in Touch with Advanced Handling & Storage

If you are interested in a warehouse racking system, please call us on 0800 345 7088 or email [email protected]

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