Questions About Support Bars for Pallet Racks

Pallet Rack Beam

Questions About Support Bars for Pallet Racks

Where do I put this thing? I don’t get where it goes.

If you are standing in front of a pallet and looking at the inventory then the pallet support would touch your chest and extend, in a straight line, in front of you to the end of the pallet rack on the other side. If that does not make sense then imagine that you are eating a Kit Kat bar. Imagine the end of the Kit Kat extends away from you while you are standing in front of a pallet rack. If you can picture that then that is the way you should be positioning your pallet rack. Frankly, most pallet racks will not fit lengthwise, so you will, likely, not be able to use the pallet rack in any other way but the way you pictured in your head. Obviously, getting the right support bars for pallet racks makes sense for fitting reasons.

Does my beam always have to be flanged?

The answer is no but it is always smart to have a flange just for safety reasons. There are some pallet racks using supports that look like 2×4’s to the normal populace. It is far more safe to have the flange because you have that extra lip to make sure the support will not fall through. The problem is more prounounced if its not a professionally made solution. It is especially true when the beam is a DIY projects.

Wouldn’t support bars for pallet racks made of wood be better than this if it were treated? I could see this thing rusting if water got on it.

Steel does tend to be stronger than wood so there is an advantage there. The pallet supports we have here are made of galvanized steel. We do know that the most likely form used was probably hot-dipped galvanization. Keep in mind we do not know the specific process of galvanization used to bond the zinc with the steel so that assumption may be incorrect. If it was hot dipped then the steel coating the expectation is, reasonably at least, to last up to 50 years in either urban or coastal exposure to the elements. Many of the treated decks with pressure treatment are only lasting 9 years. Why? Pressure-treated wood can still take in some water and loses moisture over time. The result is that the wood is imperceptibly moving because of water gain or loss over time. The wood will, over time, eventually twist, bend, etc until it breaks itself apart.

Why does it look like some boats that have galvanized steel look like they are corroding?

The zinc does something which protects the steel and that is that it will do something called sacrificing its anode before the steel does. It is the reason that zinc can protect steel from losing structural strength over time because it will react to the water before the steel can do so. The fact that zinc does this leaves the steel structurally sound. What you are seeing is the zinc reacting before the steel does. In this specific case, if you noticed this on your pallet support then you could have it re-galvanized but it would probably be faster and cheaper to just replace it after the estimated time of, give or take, 50 years.

Sources:

bct.eco.umass.edu/publications/articles/wood-myths-facts-and-fictions-about-wood

tampasteel.com/what-is-galvanized-metal/

www.wenzelmetalspinning.com/galvanized-steel-vs-stainless.html

www.uscoatings.com/blog/inorganic-zinc-primers-vs-galvanizing-the-age-old-debate

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