Pallet Rack Capacity: The Maximum Height for Pallet Racking

pallet rack in warehouse

Pallet rack systems are designed to maximize space. The higher you go, the more space you can potentially save, which can potentially make your warehouse more cost-efficient. But how high can you go?

The short answer is is that pallet rack frames can be made as tall as you want, but there are constraints and limitations that will determine your maximum height:

1. The height of your building

This may seem like a no-brainer, but the height of your ceiling does place limits. While most warehouses have very tall ceilings, it’s something to be aware of. You’ll also need to consider your actual ceiling clearance, and take into account any obstructions, such as fire sprinklers and lighting fixtures, that will place even more limits on your ceiling height, and thus the maximum height of your rack. 

2. The reach of your lift equipment

A big limitation on storage height is the reach of your lift equipment. If you build your rack higher than you equipment can reach, you are going to pay a lot more for a machine that can reach taller heights.  Most standard forklifts reach heights between 10 to 15 feet, but some can lift as high as 36 feet. Certain models of turret trucks are capable of lifting an operator more than 56 feet in the air. And there are scissors lifts, telescopic lift trucks, boom lifts, and cherry pickers that can reach extreme heights, but they all have specific uses. The bottom line: it would be a waste to build shelving higher than your equipment can reach or cause you to spend more money than is practical.

3. The size and shape of the products you are storing 

Some stock is just not suitable to being stored high up. This is especially true for stock that must be accessed multiple times a day, or is on fast turnaround, or is an awkward shape. The time wasted or the money needed for specialty equipment could negate any potential savings made by building your pallet rack extremely high.

4. Building and fire codes

Today, shelving and systems integrate fire code requirements as a major part of design. Any system considered High Piled Storage (12 feet tall and higher) requires an automatic sprinkler system for fire protection. Storage height has a profound influence on the progress of fire in and on the difficulty of controlling it. And as your rack gets taller, you’ll need more sophisticated fire suppression systems.

The flexible design of Next Level FlexRack™ offers easy bolted assembly, and with a variety of frame depths and heights up to 47’, we can meet both standard and custom warehouse storage application requirements.  Connect with us today to get started on designing your warehouse for increased efficiency and profitability. 

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

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