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#1 Figure Out Your Load:

  • Measure the width and height of your pallets while loaded with product. Include the actual pallet in your dimensions.
  • Determine the heaviest weights of your pallet loads.

#2 Select Your Uprights

  • Figure how tall your building’s ceiling is, or how high you want to go with your loads. You’ll want to decide how tall your pallet rack upright should be by dividing the height of your total pallet loads. Make sure that you take into account about 6” clearance top to bottom for each level, and don’t forget to take into account your beam height.
    If your warehouse has 21’ ceilings, your pallets are 4’ high and you’re using 5” beams, you would be able to have 4 tiers of pallets. 4x 4’ = 16’ plus 4 times 5” = 20”, plus 4 x 6” clearance = 24” 16’ + 1’8” + 2’ = 19’8”. However, you do not need to have the pallet rack go up to the top of the highest pallet. In this scenario, you would want to buy the rack at least 15’2” to give clearance for all the pallets. Pallet rack is readily available in 16’ heights.
  • The depth of your pallet rack upright is based on the depth of your pallet. You want it to be the same size or 6” shorter when wire decks are being used
  • You’ll need to determine what capacity upright you need by adding up the maximum weight for each pallet and multiplying it by the number of pallets in a pallet rack bay. If your 4’ high pallets weigh 3000# each and you’re putting 2 on each shelf, then 4 high, you’ll need to have pallet rack uprights that have a 24,000# capacity. Your rack supplier can help you with ensuring your pallet rack uprights meet your needs.

#3 Select Your Pallet Rack Beams

  • Make sure you use the maximum weight that you’ll be storing when figuring out beam capacity. In this example you’ll be putting 2 pallets on each shelf, therefore you’ll need beams that have a 6000# capacity. Beams that have heavier capacities will be taller. A 3.5” x 120” beam has less capacity that a 5” x 120” beam.
  • To determine how wide to buy your beams, take the width of your pallet and add at least 2” between the uprights and each pallet, for easier placement and retrieval.

#4 Do the Math

  • Add up all of the information from the steps above. Make sure that when you plan your aisles you make room for the turning radius of your forklift.

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