Pallet Racking: How To Maximize Your Warehouse Space

by Chad Price, Warehouse Equipment & Supply Co.

Pallet racks are a great and cost-effective way to make efficient use of floor space and unused overhead space. They are essential for warehouses, distribution centers, and many other industrial and commercial facilities. Selective Rack is the most common pallet rack system. It allows direct access to all of your pallets so you can save time selecting one without having to move others.

There are 2 main types of selective rack: Tear Drop and Keystone

Tear Drop is the most common kind of pallet rack today. Many people think that all brands of tear drop components are compatible with each other, but that is not true. Be sure to consult an experienced salesperson to ensure components are compatible if you are mixing brands.

Determine Selective Rack Configurations

Determine the depth, width, height, and weight of your largest pallet.

Determine the upright depth by subtracting 6” from your pallet depth. 42” deep uprights are the most common depth since standard pallets measure 40” W x 48” L.

Determine the beam width by multiplying the pallet width by 2 and adding 12”. 96” beams are the most common beam width assuming 2 pallet positions per beam.

Determine the beam capacity by adding up the total weight of the pallets that will be stored on each beam level.

Determine the upright height by measuring the total number of levels that will be stored in each bay. Allow approximately 4”-6” for lift of each pallet and make sure to include the height for each beam in your measurements. Note that it is common to place the highest beam level at the top of the uprights.

Safety Considerations

It is good practice to purchase NEW rather than used racking for your facility. Used racking often comes in damaged, rusty, or with stickers all over the components from the previous users. If damaged rack components fail and cause the whole pallet rack system to collapse, there is no manufacturer’s warranty to cover you for liability reasons.

Pay attention to any damage on the pallet rack uprights caused by forklift traffic. If any uprights are damaged, remove all pallets from that bay of rack immediately and consult an expert to determine if the upright needs to be replaced.

Make sure that all of the beams are securely clipped into the uprights. If a clip is not locked in, a forklift can easily knock a beam out of place causing it to fall.

Never exceed the load capacities for the beams or uprights of a racking system. This may result in catastrophic failure of the pallet rack system and serious injuries to your employees.