Pallet racks have played an essential role in maximizing storage capacity at warehouses and distribution centers for decades. An important part of industrial pallet racking design is the selection of rack decking, which acts as a base for storing cases or non-palletized items in conjunction with palletized products. By increasing the number of contact points between the product being stored and the storage media, decking reduces the chance of products falling – increasing overall warehouse safety. Naturally, not all decking solutions are created equal. One of the most versatile and popular choices, and the topic of this article, is wire decking.
The Benefits of Wire Decking
- Superior strength: Modern wire decking with channel supports can hold more than 2,500 pounds of materials.
- Easy installation: Tools are not required, since wire decking simply needs to be dropped into place, flush with the beams.
- Safety: The minimal surface area of wire mesh drastically reduces the accumulation of dirt and debris compared to solid decking like wood or steel, decreasing the amount of routine cleaning needed to comply with local health and safety laws. Additionally, in case of a fire emergency, water from fire sprinklers can fall through the mesh, eliminating the need for in-rack fire protection systems.
Selecting Wire Decking
If you’ve decided wire decking is the best option for your warehouse or distribution center, you still need to decide which options will work best. Below are 4 things to consider when selecting the best wire decking for your application.
1. What are you storing?
The most important factors when selecting wire decking are the weights and overall dimensions of the products that will be stored on it. Unless specifically designed to do so, wire decking is not intended to support the full weight of a pallet (point load) and can warp or collapse under the pressure. This creates a significant safety risk and is one of the most common mistakes we see in the field.
2. How will you be using your wire decking?
Will you be storing full pallets, individual pieces of equipment, or loose cases? Pallet racking can accommodate all the above, but it is important you consider the overall use of decking in your design. One very common use of wire decking is the storage of individual cases. Some companies refer to this as “hand stack”. If this is your intended use, you should consider increasing the density of the wire mesh grid. Standard grid densities are typically 2”x4”, 2.4”x4” or 2.5”x4.5”. When “hand stacking,” consider selecting a grid size of 1”x2” or 1”x4”. There are also design enhancements that can be incorporated into wire decking to help with your specific application. For example, the 90-degree turn at the front and rear edges of the wire deck, called waterfalls, can be configured upwards to help prevent products from sliding off the deck. There are also different accessories like dividers that clip onto the wire deck itself to help with organization. If your intended use is order picking, you could also consider sloping the wire decking to make it easier to access products.
3. In what type of storage media will the wire decking be going?
Are these wire decks for bulk shelving or pallet racking? If the answer is pallet racking, is it roll-formed or structural? Manufacturers can differ slightly on the overall dimensions of their beams (horizontal members) and uprights (vertical members), so it’s important to check the sizing to ensure a good fit. Bastian Solutions has many years of experience working with all pallet racking manufacturers and can help in this selection process.
4. In what environment will the wire decking be going?
Is the wire decking going into a freezer or cooler? Will it be stored outside or in a facility where food is present? In most applications, a standard paint finish of backed on or powder coated enamel is fine. However, in environments where moisture or oxidation are concerns, galvanized or stainless steel should be considered.
Another consideration is whether wire deck channels should be inverted or flipped upside down. By inverting the wire decking channel, you can help mitigate the buildup of moisture, dust, dirt and other debris. This practice is commonly found in the food storage industry to promote a cleaner environment.
Choosing the right decking for your storage rack may seem straightforward, but as you’ve learned, there is a lot that goes into the selection. Even after you’ve chosen a type of decking, like wire mesh, it’s important to take your entire application into consideration to ensure the best solution for your facility. Bastian Solutions engineers have years of experience specifying and engineering wire decking for a multitude of applications and environments – give us a call or contact us today.
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