How to Choose the Best Support for Your Selective Pallet Racking

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Selective pallet racking in warehouse

Are you using the right pallet support in your selective rack?

Selective pallet racking has been a popular and effective storage method in warehouses, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers for decades due in large part to its ease of design and implementation. As easy as it may be to install some frames and beams and call it a day, it’s also important to assess the need for pallet supports or wire decks and to decide which is best for your application.

Just the Beams

The two beams that make up a storage level work hard to keep your pallets up in the air but those beams alone are often not sufficient to keep your loads safely elevated. While the beams themselves are sturdy and supportive, the air between them is not. A weak, damaged or misused pallet could crack, splinter or otherwise fail without additional support between the beams. An undersized or misplaced pallet could fall between the beams.

Loose items on the pallet could fall off the pallet and down between the beams to the levels or the floor below. Although it may not be required in all applications, it’s always a good idea to use some method of supporting the pallet in addition to the load beams.

Pallet Support Crossbars

One method of providing more sufficient support for your pallet is to use pallet support cross bars. Typically, two pallet supports are used per pallet position, but more can be used depending on the weight or state of the pallet. These pallet supports sit in or on the load beams to give the pallet more of a support structure to rest on. This can help with a less than perfect pallet or less than perfect pallet placement on the beam level.

For a pallet that is smaller than the frame depth, the pallet may rest entirely on the pallet supports. In these cases, it’s important to size the pallet support bars to carry the full pallet weight.

Though an improvement over bare beams, pallet supports still leave large openings for loose pallet pieces or product to fall and create a hazard to personnel below.

Wire Mesh Decking

Wire mesh decking is an upgrade over pallet supports and can be used successfully in almost any selective pallet rack application. Wire decking consists of two components: support channels, which rest on the load beam and provide structural support much like a pallet support would, and wire mesh, typically in a 2” x 4” or similar pattern, which provides additional coverage to create a complete shelf between beams.

In addition to providing more uniform support than pallet supports for potentially weak or damaged pallets, it also provides the versatility to store cases that are not palletized. In this way, wire decking can serve a similar purpose to plywood or solid steel decking but is preferred by fire inspectors everywhere since it allows sprinklers to spray through to lower levels. Wire mesh decking is typically more expensive than pallet support crossbars but creates a safer and more versatile storage surface.

Explore our website for more information on selective pallet racking or other pallet storage options, or contact one of our engineers to discuss your project.

Jeremy joined Bastian Solutions in 2014 as a Project Engineer based out of the Chicago office. He graduated with a degree in General Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and worked five years as an engineer for a pallet rack manufacturer before joining the Bastian team.

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