04 Mar Things to Consider about Putting Pallets on Pallet Racks
If you are trying to put pallets on skid/pallet racks then you need to think about a few issues that could come into play. One of the issues that could come into play very early is if you are not doing a uniform distribution of weight on the pallet rack. Most of the pallet racks in existence make use of decking that asks you to use uniform load distribution. If you are using any other type of loading conditions such as a rigid line load, point load, or discrete load then you might want to consider another way to hold your item for storage. All of these get into a category where you need an expert to help you figure out what type of rack you need for your business. However, nine out of 10 companies are just fine using the racks that are available almost anywhere. For example, and we will get into this more in an upcoming paragraph, many businesses can get away with just using a very standard common form of rack called a selective rack. A selective rack is named selective because it is the most like the shelving units you have at home. You can choose how you store your items on your shelves without having a predetermined pattern that will manage your inventory in a certain way. Again, you also have to consider what your shelf levels will be and what kind of decking they will contain. You should do this because of the uniform distribution of weight rule that must be adhered to in order to have a safe version of a pallet rack.
“Most of the pallet racks in existence make use of decking that asks you to use uniform load distribution. If you are using any other type of loading conditions such as a rigid line load, point load, or discrete load then you might want to consider another way to hold your item for storage.”
Again, if you are putting pallets on pallet racks then you need to consider what kind of decking you will choose for your pallet rack. The decking will tell you how much load you can put on your pallet rack. You need to look at the capacity of the pallet rack and the capacity of each shelf level of your pallet rack. Honestly, most companies choose to use wire mesh decking because that allows them to place a load of up to 2500 pounds of uniformly distributed weight. Another popular decking option is the wood support bars however; they are not as strong as wire mesh decking or as versatile. They also have the added problem of being flammable. There are a lot of businesses that are surprised when they are told that they cannot use their pallet racks for vertical storage as high as they want. It is because of their choice of decking in most cases. Many of the codes set forth by local governments are written with the idea of fire suppression. If something is very flammable then it can be a big problem as far as a fire is related. If you have your wood beams push together then you will experience another problem which they will tell you about when you get an inspection. The problem is that water cannot pass through the pallet rack-level very easily. Therefore, this can be another reason why you are not allowed to stack very high vertically on your commercial rack solution. If you want to still use a product like the wood bars then you may want to consider getting a metal option instead. You can still get pallet rack support bars but they can be made of metal. Keep in mind that these may also have the problem of being pushed together and not allowing your sprinklers to be able to reach the product on the lower levels. You may have less flammable decking but you may not be able to stack vertically anyway if you are not careful about how you deploy your support bars. All in all, in most cases, you are better off getting wire mesh decking for your pallet racks.
The last question you need to ask is what kind of pallet rack do you actually need for your business. The truth is that there is more than one type of pallet rack. We have already mentioned selective rack in a paragraph above so we will not talk about that again. The other, types of pallet racks are drive-in racks, cantilever racks, pushback racks, and gravity flow/pallet flow racks. A question that you need to ask yourself when you are deciding which pallet rack system to use is if you have to adhere to the first in first out methods of inventory.
“The last question you need to ask is what kind of pallet rack do you actually need for your business.”
If you are following the first in first out inventory system then you should seriously consider getting a pallet flow/gravity flow rack. The idea of the system is to load new or product in back the rack while the older product is upfront. The system uses gravity and rollers to push the next item to the front of the line when something is picked. Of course, if the cost is an issue or if you just do not like a pallet flow rack then you can always use a selective rack. A selective pallet rack does not dictate how you run your inventory system.
If you do not have to follow a first in the first out system then you can follow the last in first out system. If this is the case for you then you should consider a pushback rack system. A pushback rack does almost the opposite of what a pallet flow rack does. Both the picking and the replenishing is done from the same place. Therefore, the effect is that newer items are picked up first and replaced via gravity and rollers by the next newest product. It works well if you do not have to worry about product expirations or products becoming less potent over time. It is considered a high-density racking system because you can store a lot of products or pallets in a very defined space.
“As you can see, there are a lot of things to consider when choosing how you will put your pallets on racks. You have several different rack choices and you have several different decking choices. You also have to figure out what inventory system you will use in your business. We also have not talked about possible rack permits that you need to obtain in order to use your racks legally in your location.”
Another system that follows the last in and last out process is the drive-in or drive-through rack system. A drive-in or drive-through rack system is what it sounds like on paper. A forklift will drive into the system and pick and/or put new products into the racks. Obviously, the main qualm with this type of pallet rack is that it can get damaged very easily by a mishandled forklift. If a person is not careful with how they are removing or entering a new product into the system then they can damage the racks. The rack is as safe as you and your employees can make it. You can try to protect yourself through the use of rack protection guards, however, but as long as you are very careful about how you use this rack, then it can be just as safe as any other rack. It all depends on you and your employees but you should be aware of the challenges that this rack presents before you get the system in your business.
The final type of pallet rack which we will talk about is cantilever rack. A cantilever rack is a system that was developed to handle long and heavy loads. The types of products that you will often see on this type of rack include timber, pipes, steel, and other types of long heavy objects. The most common place you would have seen this type of product is in hardware stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot. They, generally, put shelving on their cantilever rack so they can use it as shelving units for you the customer. You may also have seen this type of rack in places like IKEA. There are furniture stores that use cantilever racks to hold things like couches.
As you can see, there are a lot of things to consider when choosing how you will put your pallets on racks. You have several different rack choices and you have several different decking choices. You also have to figure out what inventory system you will use in your business. We also have not talked about possible rack permits that you need to obtain in order to use your racks legally in your location. If this sounds like a lot and is involved then you are correct. You may want to get professional help in order to help you set up a warehouse that is well-designed for your needs.
If you need help designing your warehouse then you can give us a call at 503-447-1284. If you just want to get a selective pallet rack then you can click that link and have a look at the product. Keep in mind that we are also available to help you with warehouse design. We can do a CAD layout of your warehouse before you ever step foot in it.