What is the ideal pallet rack weight capacity
Pallet racking systems are a common storage solution used by warehouses worldwide. However, for your facility to operate successfully, it needs to remain an efficient and safe place. Inadvertently, every warehouse owner needs to consider one crucial factor – pallet rack weight capacity.
Multiple factors contribute to determining the right weight capacity for your pallet racks. This small detail can help optimize storage capacity, increase productivity, and enhance safety within your warehouse.
If you want to learn more about racking weight capacity, keep reading this blog. We’ll discuss the topic in detail, such as why it’s important and how to calculate it.
What is Pallet Rack Weight Capacity?
‘Pallet rack weight capacity’ means the maximum weight that can be safely placed on a pallet rack system without compromising its structural integrity and safety. Manufacturers often mention the load capacity of every component of the pallet racking system.
Several factors affect how much load a rack can hold, such as the design of the rack, the quality of the materials used, the configuration of the racking components, pallet distribution, etc.
Why is Understanding the Racking Weight Important?
Knowing the racking weight capacity of your pallet racking system is important for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it’s a huge investment, so you want to pick a storage solution that aligns with the needs of your business. Since there are several types of pallet racking systems, each with different features and weight capacities, you should assess:
- the type of merchandise you plan to store
- the available space
This ensures your choice of pallet racking is suitable for your stock and warehouse.
Secondly, every pallet racking system has a limit as to how much weight it can withstand. Exceeding this amount can be dangerous because the racks could collapse, damaging your inventory and possibly injuring your staff. If this were to happen at your facility, it could damage the reputation of your warehouse and impact the bottom line.
To ensure you pick a pallet racking system that supports the pallet load, you have to calculate the pallet rack’s capacity.
Factors to Consider When Determining How Much Weight Can Pallet Racking Hold
Several elements influence pallet rack weight capacity, such as:
1. Pallet Weight and Dimensions
Before calculating pallet rack capacities, assess the total load – this includes the weight of the pallet and the merchandise on top of it. You will also need to measure the dimensions (i.e., height, weight, and depth) of the pallet and merchandise. Note: standard pallet rack dimensions are 40” x 48”.
2. The Components of the Pallet Racking System
The essential components of a pallet racking system are beams, uprights, shelving, etc. Each component influences the integrity of your racking system and its capacity.
The beams (horizontal component) support the weight of the pallet load and transfer it to the upright columns. The uprights are the vertical towers that keep the system standing, helping to maintain the integrity and shape of the pallet racking system.
For example, a bigger beam face (the thickness of the beam) has more weight capacity than a smaller one. Likewise, a thicker column offers greater stability to the structure. So these elements can contribute to the weight capacity of the racking system.
3. Material of Racking Components
The quality of the material used to make the racking solution affects the weight capacity of a pallet racking system. High-quality materials, such as stainless steel, ensure your storage solution is robust, optimizes weight capacity, and remains safe.
4. Beam Length
The length of a beam and the distance between the supporting points of a beam can significantly impact the weight capacity. Longer beams or ones with further apart supports have a lower load-bearing capacity than shorter beams with closer supports.
To calculate the beam length, multiply the number of pallets you want to place on a beam by 40. Add 12 inches to this number so there is extra space for the pallets to be loaded and unloaded easily. Besides this, keeping the beam length a foot longer than required is a necessary fire and safety regulation.
Many manufacturers recommend an even, symmetrical placement of pallets on the racks. So, if you want to store 2 pallets, the beam length should be 92 inches.
40” x 2 = 80” + 12” = 92”
5. Beam Levels
Similarly, the number of beam levels influences the weight-bearing capacity of your pallet racking system. The more beam levels there are, the less weight you can keep on each level. This information is vital since many pallet racking systems have adjustable shelves. If you store a lot of heavy products, reduce the beam levels.
6. Vertical Beam Spacing (VBS)
The vertical beam spacing (the vertical space between each beam) plays an important role in weight capacity. The less distance between each beam, the more weight the system can support. Manufacturers typically suggest leaving 42” or 48” vertical beam space, but you can alter this depending on the storage needs of your inventory. Remember to add an extra six inches for safety and fire regulations.
7. Load Distribution
Another factor that impacts a frame’s weight capacity is how the pallets are distributed onto the racks. Racks are designed to distribute weight evenly across beams and uprights. So, incorrect placement can put more load on one of the upright columns, creating stress points that weaken the integrity of the pallet racking system. The uneven weight distribution could disbalance the frame, causing it to topple. And it can make the beams bend or sag, aspects that could lead to a potential collapse.
Identifying Pallet Rack Weight Capacities
The beams and uprights in a pallet racking system have their load capacities. The aim is to make sure every component of the pallet racking system has the same capacity as its adjoining piece. This ensures the integrity of the entire system.
Most manufacturers usually provide the load capacity of individual components. So, make sure to get beam capacity charts from the manufacturer. However, you can also calculate this information to get a general idea of how much you can safely place on the racks.
To determine the weight limit of the beams, start by finding the total weight of each pallet and the item stored above it. Multiply this weight by the number of pallets on each level, and don’t forget to include any additional weights like shelving components or accessories. Finally, divide the total weight by the number of beams in the racking system.
Follow manufacturer guidelines when installing or adjusting the racks to avoid overloading your pallet beams. However, other elements can influence the pallet rack’s weight capacity, such as VBS, seismic requirements, condition of the floor, etc. So, it’s wiser to consult a professional engineer to calculate the load capacities of your pallet racking system.
Every warehouse owner wants to pick a pallet racking solution that aligns with the needs of their business and enables them to optimize storage capacity without compromising efficiency and safety. So before installation, carefully assess your load-bearing needs and the weight specifications of the racking system.
To ensure you invest in an efficient and safe storage option, contact Midwest Distributors. We provide a range of premium, tailor-made pallet rack systems for your storage needs, adhering to pallet racking specifications when installing your storage system. Moreover, our consultants can help you determine the right pallet rack weight capacity to maximize storage capacity and safety.