Used for short- or long-term holding of materials, products and loads in a manufacturing or distribution facility, industrial storage racks hold items in an organized area set aside for them. Choosing the right style of racks depends on the physical size and weight of the items to be stored, as well as their frequency of use. Rack systems are often used for buffering, or holding, of reserved stock to ensure that enough components or products are on hand to meet anticipated demands. Designing the configuration of the storage system also depends on the items’ quantities and characteristics, as well as the types of equipment that will be needed to move them to and from storage. Typically, rack-stored items in a warehouse are cartons, pallet loads or large individual units.
Pallet racks are single or multi-level structural bulk storage systems. They support high stacking of single items or palletized loads which usually remain in the original packaging of shipping containers or boxes. Rack systems are commonly made of steel and maximize facility space while simplifying inventory tracking.
Rack load beams are typically topped with decking or cross support bars. The decking is generally made from welded wire and the cross support bars are typically cold-formed steel or structural steel members. The cross bars and decking acts as the load bearing surface. Decking sections are completely fabricated, ready-to-install decking assemblies with reinforcing members such as channels, tubes or rods that increase the rigidity and capacity rating of the assembly.
Racks can be self-supporting, standalone structures, or they can be a key component of a facility’s construction (if they are the key structural components of a building, then it is referred to as a rack supported building). These rack supported buildings use either structural rack made of hot rolled steel to support the roof and walls or cold-formed steel sections or a combination of both. The space between the racks—where personnel and load handling equipment can access the stored items—is called an aisle or storage aisle.
Whether they support the roof and walls or not, all rack systems hold heavy loads and should adhere to current local and national building codes as well current rack standards (such as RMI’s R-Mark certification. In addition, they should meet current seismic requirements) to ensure that their rated load capacity is in compliance to all applicable specifications.
There are multiple types of pallet rack, named for their type of construction or means of access. These include:
Rack systems are used in one or more areas of a facility to hold and secure materials for future use as needed:
Rack systems provide a variety of benefits:
Rack systems provide organized holding areas for products and material at facilities in nearly every industry, including: