Types of Cantilever Arms

Cantilever Arms | Cantilever Rack Arm types and uses | Speedrack West

Types of Cantilever Arms

Types of Cantilever Arms


Are you choosing the right cantilever rack system? Have multiple questions about cantilever arms? Which arms are better and why, and how do you opt for the right ones for your business requirements? You are in the right place. In a couple of minutes, you’ll make the right choice.

Types and Applications

Before ordering a cantilever, we would like to give you information about cantilever arms types. Allow us to explain their applications.

Cantilever arms are one of the key structural elements that should withstand the weight of long heavy loads, namely static gravity loads. This is determined by their design. Warehouse cantilever arms have a large classification. Let’s dig into each one in more detail.

Based on the material, they can be of 3 types: 

  • Stainless steel arms that are durable and have load-bearing capacity.
  • Hot-dipped galvanized (HDG) arms protect against corrosion. You can use such cantilever racks outdoors without restrictions.
  • Aluminum arms. This is a conditionally chemical-neutral material that is often used in production or laboratories. There are certain requirements for it. Aluminum racks are usually not used in warehouse and logistics applications.

Based on the load capacity, they are divided into:

  • Light-duty cantilever arms for storing light materials like PVC pipes, lightweight metal profiles, and small lumber pieces.
    Pallet Rack | Cantilever Rack Light Duty | Speedrack West
  • Medium-duty cantilever arms are often used to store medium-weight loads, such as metal rods and plastic tubing, and support between a few hundred and a couple of thousand pounds per arm.
    Pallet Rack | Cantilever Rack Medium Duty | Speedrack West
  • Heavy-duty cantilever arms for storing steel pipes, heavy lumber, and metal sheets.
    Pallet Rack | Cantilever Rack Heavy Duty | Speedrack West


Based on the arm design, a distinction is made:

  • Straight arms are versatile and often used, providing direct support for stored items. Straight arms up to 48″ long have a minimum pitch of 3/8″ per foot to compensate for deflection. 54″ and 60″ arms have a minimum pitch of 5/8″ per foot. They are used for storing steel sheets.
  • Inclined arms have a slight incline to prevent items from rolling off. Inclined arms have a pitch of 20° or approximately 4.36″ per foot. This is where you can put rolls or pipes.
  • Customized cantilever arms. It’s not a typical warehouse solution, but this helps expand existing capabilities.
    Pallet Rack | Cantilever Rack Arm Types | Speedrack West


Based on rack configuration, you can opt for:

  • Single-sided arms extend from one side of the upright supports.
  • Double-sided arms extend from both sides of the upright supports.
    Pallet Rack | Cantilever Rack types by side Single sided or Double Sided | Speedrack West


Based on types, they are available in some types:

  • Tapered cantilever arms of welded or bolted construction with lip to prevent items from falling
  • Straight arms are classic shapes for storing flat items. You can add different stoppers at the end of the arms to prevent falling. They can be with welded or bolted lips, and sockets.
    Pallet Rack | Cantilever Racks Tapered Arm with Lip | Speedrack West
    Pallet Rack | Cantilever Racks Straight Arm | Speedrack West


Sizes and Finishes of Cantilever Arms

What is the length of a cantilever arm?

Cantilever arm lengths come in different sizes, but typically between 24″-48″ long. Capacity depends on the arm’s dimensions. You should know to increase the capacity of cantilever racks, you can reconfigure them by arms. The second option is to add cross-bracing that increases strength across the system.

For instance, 24″ cantilever arm can have a 1,200 lbs capacity. However, capacity is also based on the arms types: single- or double-size, incline of strength. For example, medium-duty cantilever racks such as single and double-sided uprights 6-12″ high have 3,300 – 16,200 lbs.; straight and incline arms with 12-48″ lengths can withstand 300 – 1,000 lbs.

At the same time heavy-duty cantilever racking systems, such as single and double-sided uprights with 8 – 20′ high have 7,600 – 46,000 lbs.; straight and incline arms with 12-60″ lengths have 600 – 4,000 lbs.
Cantilever Rack | Cantilever Arm Capacity Table | Speedrack West

Why are there such differences?

Because of finishes. Cantilever arms are typically made of hot-dip galvanized that protect arms from corrosion, and stainless steel.

We know what you have thought about. You cannot galvanize stainless steel, not every. There are over 50 types of stainless steel. However, not each of them contains nickel. This chemical element initiates the reaction between steel and zinc. So if your steel does not contain nickel, it cannot be hot-dip galvanized. 

Galvanized steel is widely used where corrosion resistance is required without the expense of stainless steel and is considered more cost and life-efficient.

The newest “Hot-dip Galvanized Steel Market” projections: CAGR and Reach from 2024-2032 say the global hot-dip galvanized steel market was valued at USD 90520 million in 2020 and it is expected to reach USD 109740 million by the end of 2027, growing at a CAGR of 2.3% during the forecast period 2021-2027. China is the largest hot-dip galvanized steel market with about 45% market share. Europe is a follower, accounting for about 20% market share.

The global stainless steel market was estimated at US$ 111.4 billion in 2022 and is predicted to surpass around US$ 214.07 billion by 2032 and is poised to grow at a CAGR of 6.8% during the forecast period 2023 to 2032.

Safe Working Loads of Cantilever Arms

What is the correct way to load products on arms?

To prevent load deflection, you can have enough arms. If not, your products may cause damage. How do you know if your products are loaded correctly? Load your racks and watch, if you detect no deflection, all is correct. Otherwise, place three or more arms. Do this in 2-foot increments until the deflection disappears.

Do not overload the arms, and strictly consider the loading approach. 

Ensure that the arms are never spaced farther apart than ½ the length of the material you are storing. For instance, if the load is 8’ long, the arms must not be longer than 4’ apart from each other.

Each arm should support an equal amount of the load’s weight. Notice, that loaded items should only overhang the cantilever arms by 1/2 of the cantilever upright centerline distance. If you store loads on the end of the cantilever rack, this will create a situation where the load capacity of the arms is reduced by up to 50%. Do not use this incorrect method.
Pallet Rack | Wrong ways to store on Cantilever Racks | Speedrack West


How much weight can a cantilever arm hold? 

Depends on the material. A typical structural steel 48X4 cantilever arm can support around 2,000 pounds. However, take note: if your cantilever racks are made of roll-formed steel, they can support lighter loads than structural ones.

How to protect loads from damage?

Special accessories will help to solve this issue successfully, such as collision guards, bridging arms, roll-off prevention devices, etc.

Let’s dive into some of them.

Of course, you have heard about L-shaped or U-shaped collision guards. You can mount them to the outer rack support of each aisle. Less impact, longer service life.
Pallet Rack | Cantilever Racks L-Shaped Collision Guards | Speedrack West

  • The arm bridge connects the cantilever arms horizontally. This way you’ll expand your storage capacity and make it convenient for more than just long loads. You can also store different pallets.
    Pallet Rack | Cantilever Racks Arm Bridge | Speedrack West
  • Anti-rolling protection or roll-off prevention device is an element that is fitted to the ends of the cantilever arms. This small device is enough to prevent the load from falling.
    Pallet Rack | Cantilever Racks Pin Protectors | Speedrack West
  • Shelf covers come in a variety of variations. It can be grating shelves or chipboard plate shelves. Either way, they expand the utilization of cantilever arms and make them more flexible as you can store pallets, cartons, and boxes.
    Pallet Rack | Cantilever Racks Plate Shelves | Speedrack West
  • Compartment dividers. Do not limit yourself to storing different items on one level of arms. Set the compartment dividers that divide the arms. This approach is suitable for light and medium-duty loads. It represents the slot in the center of the cantilever arms into which the spacer is inserted and screwed.
    Pallet Rack | Cantilever Racks Compartment Dividers | Speedrack West

The growing demand for organized and space-efficient storage solutions in diverse industries propels the market for Cantilever Racks.

Nowadays, cantilever racks are fully customized to meet industry requirements, providing efficient storage solutions.

Unlock your capabilities and increase your effectiveness with Speedrack West’s solutions. Contact us now!

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