Understanding the Basics of Pallet Racking

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Understanding the Basics of Pallet Racking

Shelving for your warehouse can seem unnecessarily complicated for a very straightforward task. From the immense amount of different names for the same, products to the handful of available styles, it can feel like a whirlwind trying to make an informed decision on the subject. At ToyotaLift Northeast, we want to clear things up so you can be sure your company has the proper racking system based on your operation’s needs. Our goal is to break-down only the important elements of pallet racking, alleviating confusion when it comes time to narrow down your specific needs.


Pallet racking seemingly has an endless list of other names. We often hear it referred to as bulk storage racks, storage shelving, teardrop racks, warehouse shelving racks, warehouse racking systems, warehouse mezzanines, warehouse racks, rivet shelving racks, and industrial shelves.


What is Pallet Racking?

Pallet racking is simply a storage system that stores pallets of material in rows on metal shelves. The systems feature multiple levels of shelving that are accessible by forklifts. These systems are used to increase storage density by using vertical space. Think of the benefit of building skyscrapers in a city with limited space as the concept is the same.

The Basic Components of Pallet Racking

Due to its long list of available styles and sizes, pallet racking is an extremely flexible storage option. Pallet racking systems have two main parts, which are upright frames and cross beams.

The upright frames are vertical columns that run from the floor to the top shelf of the system. The upright frame will have a series of holes, allowing the ability to change the shelf size based on needs. The height of a frame should be the height of a loaded pallet + height of a beam + 4 inches for clearance. This number then gets multiplied by the number of levels you need.

The cross beams connect into the upright frame on both ends, creating a shelf for pallets and material to be stored on. It takes two cross beams to make a shelf.


Styles of Pallet Racking

The most popular rack style is teardrop pallet racking. This style utilizes a tear-shaped hole where the crossbeam’s connectors are inserted. The unique shape allows the horizontal beams to be locked to the vertical upright frames for simple slide-in assembly. The teardrop shape allows for the use of boltless beams, making assembly fast and easy as bolts, clips, and fasteners are not needed.

There are two forms of pallet racks made, rolled formed and structural style. The rolled form is made by cutting and rolling cold sheet metal, while structural is made using hot sheet metal. Structural is the stronger and more durable system of the two, but it is more expensive.



Accessories and additional components are often added to racking systems to improve the system to better fit the owner’s needs. Below is a list of popular accessories on the market.


What Are The Benefits Of Steel Pallets?

Steel is an incredibly strong and durable material. It's used to build cars, skyscrapers, and tools. But steel is also perfectly suited for making pallets.

All the properties of steel which make it useful as a building material are also useful properties for pallets. This makes steel pallets an essential part of materials handling for many industries.

Here are the benefits and advantages of using steel pallets instead of other types of pallets.

The benefits of steel pallets

Steel pallets are designed to be a robust and durable option for industries with specialist materials handling needs. Using steel to construct pallets means that they are much stronger than regular pallets, they are easy to sterilise, and do not rot or carry pests.

The benefits of steel pallets include:

  • High load capacity

  • Longer lifespan

  • Hygienic and easy to sterilise

  • Easy to stack

  • Can be exported without quarantine issues

  • Corrosion and weather resistant

  • Recyclable

These benefits make steel pallets extremely useful to a wide range of industries.


Steel pallet product details

Our steel pallets have the following specifications:

  • Dimensions: 1,200mm x 1,000mm

  • Capacity: 2 tonnes

Find out more about our steel pallets.


Steel pallet industry applications

Steel pallets are extremely useful for a wide range of industries which need very strong pallets for heavy duty uses or pallets which are not made of organic material.

Industries that use steel pallets include:

  • Construction – Large and heavy materials must be moved and stored on strong pallets.

  • Chemical industries – Requires pallets to withstand harsh environments and be safe to use in the production and storage of chemicals.

  • Long term outdoor storage – Pallets must be weather proof for outdoor materials storage.

  • Food preparation and handling – Pallets need to be easily sterilised so they do not contaminate food during production or storage.

  • Export industries – Pallets must not carry pests and must be ISPM 15 compliant.

There are businesses in all kinds of industries which require the unique advantages of using steel pallets.

Steel pallet pricing

Because of their material and specialist applications, steel pallets are [slightly] more expensive than other types of pallets. Depending on the details of your order, prices range from around [$X] to around[$Y].

Please note: this information is for illustrative purposes only and does not constitute a quote. To get a quote for your order, get in touch with Plain Pallets.

For more information bout pallet pricing, see our pricing guide.

Plain Pallets are your steel pallet suppliers

At Plain Pallets, we have a great deal of experience with all types of pallets. Whether you need steel, wooden, or plastic pallets, we can supply your business with high-quality pallets covered by our full public liability insurance.

What is Cantilever Rack?

Cantilever Rack allows for the storage and organization of items not easily stored on pallets. Warehouses use cantilever uprights that support cantilever arms. This allows for longer and heavier items to be stored horizontally across multiple arms. This is the key difference between cantilever racking and pallet racking. Pallet racks have vertical uprights that restrict the length of stored items. This doesn’t mean a cantilever racks can’t store traditional pallets.

Depending on the needs of your warehouse, you can configure a cantilever racking system to store both traditional pallets and oversized items. However, you can only store pallets one-deep per row. If your warehouse stores nothing but traditional pallets, you can still use cantilever rack but it won’t utilize your space as efficiently.

How do Cantilever Racks Work?

A cantilever rack consists of four main components: the base, uprights, arms and supports. The base is heavy and often made of steel. It gives strong support and extends out from the bottom of the rack to counter-balance the heavy weight of the stored items.

The uprights are extremely strong vertical posts that support the arms. The arms themselves are the “shelves” that extend from the uprights. They store your inventory. Supports connect the uprights to give the racks extra strength.

Are Cantilever Racks Right for My Warehouse?

The major benefits of cantilever racking depend upon your storage needs. If your business only stores small products that are easily stacked on pallets, cantilever racks may not be for you. Pallet racks offer more options for that type of storage and allow for more efficient usage of available space.

Does your warehouse store larger, bulkier items or currently use any floor stacking for items that don’t fit on pallets? Cantilever racks can give you the flexibility you need to store all of your goods. Cantilever racks are easy to install, relatively easy to reconfigure, and easy to arrange in ways pallet racks can’t.

What Forklifts and Planning Do I Need for Cantilever Racks?

There are a few considerations you must keep in mind when considering a cantilever racking system. First, you must have the right forklifts. Because the arms of a cantilever are only supported by one connection to the uprights, they are limited in their possible length. If the arms are too long, they lose their strength. This means your warehouse will need more rows of cantilever racks to store your inventory, which also means narrower rows.

Front-driving forklifts will require rows wide enough to move the long items you are storing. This results in a lot of unused space for the forklifts to maneuver. Before considering a cantilever racking solution, you must first consider side loader or multi-directional forklifts, which usually come at a premium. Finally, you’ll want to work with a warehouse efficiency partner to plan and design your warehouse solution.


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