8 Common Pallet Racking Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

Pallet racking mistakes to avoid

If you’re new to pallet racking, you can avoid costly or dangerous mistakes by learning from the mistakes of others. The pallet racking experts here at Next Level have come up with a list of some of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to pallet racking. Avoid these mistakes to increase safety, save space, and enhance rack functionality.

Buying no more than just what you need 

While it’s tempting to purchase just enough, ignoring your future needs can cost more in the long run in the form of temporary storage and limited efficiency. When planning your racking system, think about not only what suits your growing business now, but in the future as well.

Believing that used pallet rack is as good as new

Anyone looking for optimal strength, durability, safety and long-term efficiency should not buy used rack. Any used rack will have incurred some damage, which could comprise the integrity of your system. And too often, so-called “repairs” are actually hack jobs that could  mask serious problems. Determining capacity can be difficult with used rack – you could be exposing your workers to  a potentially dangerous situation. Additionally, used rack systems are very rarely exactly what you really need for highest efficiency. For a more in-depth look on this subject, check out this article, If Secondhand Pallet Rack is Your First Option, You Should Probably Think Twice.

Purchasing the wrong size

If you fail to consider the height your forklift can reach, you’ll either end up with part of your rack useless, or having to buy a new forklift. Miscalculating the depth of your pallets will render your entire system useless. And please don’t guesstimate your weight and capacities! Taking a guess at how much your racking needs to hold will significantly undermine the safety of your warehouse and product.

Overlooking the height-to-depth ratio

The height-to-depth ratio is an important, yet often misunderstood, factor in pallet rack design. If your ratio exceeds 6 to 1, special anchors and baseplates or overhead ties may be necessary. Reference ANSI MH16.1, Specification for the Design, Testing and Utilization of Industrial Steel Storage Racks, 8.1 “Overturning.”  Learn more about this important ratio here.

Buying rack that is not universal

If you buy a proprietary rack style that does not work with any other brand, you could limit your future expansion and growth. Purchasing u a universal pallet rack, such as teardrop style, will enable you to easily expand upon your current system.

Not considering freight

Comparing quotes for rack does not mean it’s apples to apples. Failing to consider the freight costs can cost you more in the long run.

Ignoring pallet rack damage 

Pallet racks are subject to all sorts of abuse in the warehouse; and while you may think the damage is small (a broken bolt, for example), any damage to racking can reduce the load bearing capacity. Always have what you might consider slight damage repaired, and if there’s significant damage, have it replaced immediately.

ANSI MH16.1, 1.4.1, Owner Maintenance, states:

Regularly inspect for damage. If damage is found, immediately isolate the affected area. Have a storage rack design professional evaluate the damage, and unload, replace or repair if directed by the professional, any damaged columns, beams, or other structural components to restore the system to at least its original design capacity.

To prevent or reduce pallet rack damage, invest in proper fork lift training and guarding products such as guard rails, frame protectors, bollards, and the like.

Overloading

It’s absolutely critical to know your pallet rack’s capacity. Don’t compromise worker safety and product integrity by ignoring this important factor. Before you load, be certain that your rack can hold your load, particularly at the upper levels.

ANSI MH16.1-2012, 1.4.2, states the importance of displaying (in conspicuous locations) permanent plaques showing the load capacity:

Each plaque shall have an area of not less than 50 square inches. Plaques shall show in clear, legible print (a) the maximum permissible unit load and/or maximum uniformly distributed load per level, (b) the average unit load (PAverage, see Section 2.6.2) if applicable and (c) maximum total load per bay. The unit load is usually a single pallet or container and its contents that is mechanically transported. Storage levels having multiple stacking of unit loads shall be so identified. It is the responsibility of the owner to ensure that the rack system is not altered in a manner that the plaque information is invalidated.

Photo Credit: Cortes003 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Next Level is committed to helping our customers increase efficiency and profitability through lower material expenditures and cost-efficient design solutions. Whether you are considering used or new rack, give us a call for a quote. Our FlexRack™ pallet rack is designed for easy installation and reduced freight costs – and  we’re confident you will be pleasantly surprised by our very competitive upfront costs and quick lead times, as well. Learn more about FlexRack™ here.

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