We continue our series, “Pallet Rack from the Ground Up” with an exploration of the fundamental production material of pallet rack: steel.

Pallet Rack Production Begins with Steel

As a building block in many structures and skyscrapers, steel performs its function well. It is a sturdy material, able to withstand the rigors of whatever use the structure is asked to perform. Flexibility is also asked from it to withstand high winds and earthquakes when the entire building starts to shake.
To gain a better understanding on how steel does this, one must first comprehend some of the key terms in relation to the types of steel being made. This article will address 3 key terms — tensile strength, yield strength, & grade — to further the understanding of this essential building block in warehouse shelving.

Steel Terminology Basics

Steel Terms: Tensile Strength

The first term to master is tensile strength. It is a value that describes the degree that a certain piece of steel can stretch before failing. The most common form of evaluation comes from putting the material in the jaws of a tensile machine. Force is incrementally applied until failure occurs. The unit of measurement is usually in pounds or even tons per square inch depending on how much the material can take.

Steel Terms: Yield Strength

Hand in hand with this value is commonly associated a term called yield strength. This quantifies at what point will the steel suffer permanent deformation. Steel is remarkably resilient and has a lot of give to handle forces like wind or earth tremors. However, there comes a point of no return and the value yield strength is used to determine what a particular piece can and cannot be used for.

Steel Terms: Grade

Finally a grade is assigned for a piece of steel. This is an evaluation of what the composition of the piece is and the traits of the material. The SAE International values are the most common but some countries like China, Germany, and Japan have their own as well. In addition, materials may be determined to be hard or soft due to what metals and the percentage of them in the metal makes up their composition. This is invaluable when needing to get the perfect type for the application you desire.
Looking for more steel terminology definitions? This guide from steelonthenet.com is a good place to start.

Pallet Rack Steel Choices

A familiarity and eventual mastery of these terms will help you understand why different pallet rack manufacturers choose different kinds of steel for their pallet rack & components.
With so many uses under a variety of extreme environments, these values were developed so that safety comes first. The chances of failures can be greatly reduced when using the appropriate tensile strength, yield, and grade of steel for whatever project may line in your future.

FlexRack™ Pallet Rack Steel

FlexRack Pallet Rack is made with 60 KSI minimum yield steel. Most pallet rack manufacturers use steel rated from 50 – 55 KSI for pallet rack components. Stronger steel means greater load capacity.
We also added extra steel in the places where it ‘s needed most, like our baseplate. The FlexRack™ Pallet Rack Baseplate is uniquely designed to protect your rack from common forklift accidents. It ‘s important in busy warehouses to also use pallet rack protectors where appropriate, such as high-traffic areas & narrow aisles.
To learn more about FlexRack™ Pallet Rack, visit the product page or contact a Next Level Storage Solutions specialist.