Pallets are used the world over for storing, moving and shipping heavy loads. They are super strong and capable of supporting significant weights, but they are also large and unwieldy, which makes them hard to store and keep organised at distribution or warehouse facilities. The answer is heavy duty pallet racking – here is a guide to what you need to know.

What is heavy duty pallet racking?

Just like standard racking or a shelving unit, heavy duty pallet racking essentially consists of vertical posts/walls with tiered levels for the placement of goods. The difference is in the extreme weight capacity that these racks can support and in the ease with which they can be unloaded or loaded with a forklift or pallet truck. A key area to think about when you are sourcing your heavy duty pallet racking is the size of your pallets – most racking will fit either UK standard or Euro standard pallets – be sure to get the right one for your needs.

What are the benefits?

It’s rare to see fully laden pallets stacked on one another – usually the goods on the pallets are uneven and incapable of supporting the weight of another load. This means that any facility that uses pallets has to have a huge amount of floor space to store and manoeuvre numerous pallets. Heavy duty pallet racking allows you to go upwards instead of outwards – you can take full advantage of the vertical space in your facility by storing pallets one on top of the other, with super-strong shelving in between.

Of course, the other key benefit is in organisation and access. Being able to identify the pallet you need easily, and get to it quickly and safely, means that you can speed up the throughput and productivity of your facility – improving operations substantially.

What are they made from?

As you can imagine, heavy duty pallet racking is built for strength. You should expect frames and bracings to be made from chunky galvanised steel, and shelves to be either a thick timber or metal decking (one for increased load-bearing, the other for better airflow). Typically, you’ll also get floor plates/feet for your frames that can be bolted securely into the ground so that impacts, rough handling or uneven loading does not cause a tip/fall.

What else is there to look out for?

There are a couple of attachments/add-ons that are worth consideration. Firstly, row spacers. These are small rigid bars that attach to the frame of your racking,to connect it to the next racking row, ensuring that racks are evenly spaced and adding a bit more rigidity from the shared structure.

Secondly, fork spacers. These let you put non-palletised goods on your pallet racking, giving it a bit more versatility. Great for stacks of panels or sheet materials, or extremely large boxes or bundled goods, they keep the item above the shelf/floor (as if they were sitting on a pallet) and allow your forklift or pallet truck forks to get underneath for lifting.

And lastly –  pallet support bars. These sit across your frames and give additional support to particularly heavy, weakened/damaged pallets and those of non-standard size.

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