What are pallet racks

Pallet racks

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Pallet racks: characteristics and areas of application

Pallet racks are used to store goods on (euro) pallets. Their structure is similar to a shelf rack. However, the individual shelving levels are not formed by shelves, but rather by cross members on which the pallet (or a comparable means of loading such as a wire mesh box) is placed.

Pallet racks - construction

A pallet rack consists of at least one basic field, which is composed of four rack uprights and any number of cross members. The uprights must be secured with floor anchors and can reach a length of up to 45 m in an industrial environment. Pallet racks are usually operated with forklifts or storage and retrieval machines (order pickers, swiveling stackers); manual order picking is only possible on the levels close to the ground.

The pallets are stored either individually on cross beams or side by side on longitudinal beams (2 to 3 pallets in a rack field). Crossbars are often used in automated warehouses, as each individual storage location is clearly defined and implemented with a pair of crossbars. Longitudinal traverses, on the other hand, are mainly used for transfer or supply racks.

Pallet racks are a space-saving and efficient way of accommodating large quantities and high storage weights. They can be scaled almost at will and are the first choice for complex racking systems (e.g. high-bay warehouses or narrow aisle warehouses), as well as for warehouse automation for pallet storage.

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Pallet racks - security

Since pallet racks are suitable for carrying heavy loads, the floor and its load-bearing capacity must be given special attention during planning and installation. Particularly in the case of higher pallet racks with 10 or more levels, the floor is subjected to a permanent load of several tons at points where the rack stands stand. Of course, this requires a correspondingly stable subsurface.

To create aisles, pallet racks are often set up directly in front of one another. In these cases, a push-through protection (grating, safety traverse) must be installed to ensure that the pallet cannot be pushed in further than intended.

To protect against damage, all shelf supports must be provided with an all-round ram protection close to the floor, which absorbs impacts and prevents z. B. the forklift or a recorded transport pallet touch the stand and deform it. Even minor damage to the stand can impair the stability of the entire shelf and must therefore be repaired immediately. Otherwise there could be a dangerous "domino effect".

Pallet racks should comply with the European standard EN 15512, which sets out clear guidelines for the construction and the materials used. Shelf systems that comply with this standard meet even high security requirements and are suitable for long-term use.

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Pallet racks - shelf load, bay load and point load

The compartment load indicates the maximum permissible load on a shelf compartment, i.e. a pair of trusses. It must not be exceeded, not even for a short time, and must therefore be based on the weight of the goods to be stored. Shelf loads of 1,000 kg are common. For heavy goods, compartment loads of up to 5,000 kg are possible, which can be achieved using reinforced cross members.

The bay load describes the maximum permissible total load of a rack bay. It results from the sum of all goods stored on top of each other and depends on the height of the shelving system. In addition, as described at the beginning, the point load (also called single load) that acts on the floor must be taken into account in high-bay warehouses.

Pallet racks in practice

Pallet racks can be used flexibly, either as storage racks or as staging areas in upstream and downstream areas such as incoming goods or dispatch. They make good use of space and space, especially because they can be installed at almost any height. Their maximum usable height is limited by the height of the hall, the load-bearing capacity of the floor slab and the number and type of industrial trucks used.

The stored pallets can be stored and retrieved directly with a forklift or other industrial trucks. In addition, the traverses can be hung in any grid so that higher pallets can also be stored without any problems. As part of order picking, both complete pallets and individual packaging units can be removed. In this case, however, it must be ensured that empty pallets are also removed from the compartments so that they can actually be filled with a new full pallet.

Pallet racks are often associated with high investments because, in addition to the costs for the rack system itself, there are additional costs for equipping with industrial trucks. In addition, additional safety requirements (PPE, ram protection, etc.) must be met, especially with larger pallet racking systems.

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Tags:Storage technology, shelf