Cantilever Shelving: Here’s What You Need to Know

cantilever shelving | Speedrack West

Cantilever Shelving: Here’s What You Need to Know

If you have long, bulky materials to store – such as lumber, wood veneer sheets, plywood, and pipe – you know you need special shelving. Do you need to shop for pipe rack? Lumber rack? What’s in a name? What you need is known as cantilever shelving. And, you’re in the right place to find the answers to all your cantilever shelving questions. This article will explain what cantilever shelving is, when you need it, permitting issues, and how you might be able to save money by buying used racks.

What is Cantilever Shelving?

Cantilever shelving, or cantilever racking, is designed to store long, bulky, or awkward materials of just about any length. Unlike other rack systems, cantilever racks have no vertical obstructions, so you are able to load your product with a forklift without the restriction of a front column.

A cantilever rack system includes the following components:

  • Bases that anchor the rack system to the floor and connect to the unit’s upright, serving as the main stabilizing component.
  • Upright columns that connect to the base. Cantilever uprights have holes into which the cantilever arms are connected to create the storage levels. Uprights can be used for single and double-sided units.
  • Arms that connect to the uprights and are used to store the product. Cantilever arms act as the “shelves”.
  • Braces that stabilize the upright columns by offering horizontal and diagonal support. Cantilever bracing is what holds the uprights together and provides structural support.
  • Decking that offers a solid shelf level to the cantilever storage arms when needed.

Cantilever Shelving Types

The two most common types of cantilever rack are:

Structural Cantilever Rack

A structural rack is made with hot-rolled structural steel. This type of rack can handle high load capacities and withstand harsher conditions than a roll-formed rack. Since it is made of heavier steel, a structural rack is more labor-intensive to install and more expensive than a roll-formed one. However, it also tends to last longer and requires less maintenance.

Cantilever Rack | Cantilever Shelving | Speedrack West

Roll-formed Cantilever Rack

A roll-formed rack is made with cold roll-formed steel. This type of rack is made with lighter gauge steel and boltless beam pin connectors, so it is less expensive and easier to install than a structural rack. However, roll-formed racks can hold less weight and are more easily damaged by forklift impact than structural racks.

Do I really need cantilever shelving?

If your materials are too long or bulky for the average pallet rack, then you probably need a cantilever racking system. The most common types of products put on these racks are lumber and pipes. Furniture also is commonly stored on cantilever racks that include shelves.

Because the materials they hold are heavy, cantilever racks are designed with weight in mind. Most cantilever arms can support 1,500 to 5,000 pounds per arm. Some cantilever arms can hold up to 18,000 pounds! The most common racks in the marketplace have about 13,000 pounds of weight capacity per side. Be sure to carefully consider the weight of your materials so that you order a rack that meets your needs.

Another consideration is the height of your racks and the vertical space you have in your warehouse or storage yard. Cantilever racks typically range in height between six feet and 30 feet. The most popular racks are in the 12- to 16-feet tall range.

Cantilever racks also are either single-sided or double-sided. A single-sided cantilever rack offers storage on one side and is usually placed against a warehouse wall. On the other hand, a double-sided rack is accessible from both sides. It can store more product, but it also requires more floor space.

Never use a rack that is designed to be single-sided as a double-sided rack. It can pose a serious safety risk. Another safety consideration involves the use of stop pins. If you are storing a hefty load that is prone to roll, a stop pin to secure the load to the cantilever is a must.

What about seismic testing and permitting?

Earthquakes can pose a significant danger to warehouses if a rack isn’t built and installed to withstand seismic activity. As a result, many national and local regulations require you to obtain a permit for cantilever racks before you use them in your business. In areas of seismic activity, you may also have to provide proof of seismic testing.

According to the Building Seismic Safety Council and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), “the seismic design for new warehouse stores, including both the buildings and storage racks, is governed by the building code in force in the jurisdiction where a store is built.”

Having your racks seismic tested after you already have them in place can be frustrating, time-consuming, and expensive. We strongly recommend that you ask about seismic testing before you purchase any new or used cantilever racks. Our team at SpeedRack West knows the ins and outs of permitting process, and we can guide you through the legal steps, so you won’t have to worry about being shut down.

Can I buy used cantilever racks?

The answer is yes. However, we caution you to work with a reputable company. Otherwise, you could be buying a racking system that has previous impact damage or lacks seismic testing. Not all rack damage is visible to an untrained eye. You have to know the warning signs.

At Speedrack West, we carefully examine all the used cantilever racks and shelving we buy, so we know we are selling high-quality materials to our customers. We also confirm seismic testing. When our name is on our new or used products, we stand behind them.

When you work with Speedrack West, you work with a business that understands your storage needs and your permit issues.

Whether you are shopping for new or used cantilever shelves, we will offer you only the highest quality, tested materials. We’ll also help you choose the right racks for your needs and space requirements and assist you through every step of the permitting process.

Please contact Speedrack West today, and let’s get started on your customized storage system.

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