When designing a pallet rack system there are a number of factors to consider including beam size. In this blog, the warehousing experts at Engineered Products, a Papé Company share the must-know guidelines for pallet racking beam sizes to ensure your racking meets your structural capacity needs.
Understanding Your Needs
Before discussing beam sizes, it’s important to understand the full scope of a customer’s racking needs. Here are the things we need to determine before beginning any CAD design work or making beam size recommendations.
- Load Weight - Min, average and max weights including the quantity of each
- L x W x H of the load and the pallet size. (the load may be larger or smaller than the pallet)
- Type of pallets being used and the quality (GMA vs CHEP vs Plastic vs other)
- Total pallet positions desired for today and for future growth
- # of SKUs (Stock Keeping Units) to be stored in the racking
- Details on the product load being stored (boxes, crates, stretch wrapped, super sacks, etc.)
- Shelf life and throughput of the inventory, i.e. turns/first in first out (FIFO) requirements
- Type of forklifts used in the racking
- Desired height of the racking
- Building information including, soils reports, concrete slab information, operating temperature, clear height information fire suppression details and a CAD drawing to validate a layout
Pallet Racking Beam Sizes
Pallet Racking Beam Heights
The height of a beam face directly impacts the capacity of the beam. The larger beams are composed of more steel and more steel can hold more weight. That being said, the larger the beam, the more costly, so it’s important to get the right size been for your needs rather than just choosing the largest option.
At Engineered Products, we offer load beams for pallet racking in many shapes and sizes. The most common types are “Roll Formed Step Beams” and “Structural C-Channel beams”.
Our roll formed beams come in at least 10 different beam face sizes and multiple gauge thicknesses ranging from 2.5” and 16ga (lightest) to 6” 13ga (heaviest). Structural beams are most commonly 3”, 4”, 5”, or 6” depending on the application.
Pallet Racking Beam Lengths
We stock a mix of American made pallet rack beams from 48” long to 168” long in a variety of beam faces and gauges. The most common beam used for selective pallet rack is the 96” roll formed beam which can handle two 40” wide pallets. For double deep selective applications, 108” beams are more common where 48” wide pallets are stored. Longer beams in the 144-168” range are commonly used for tunnels and can hold three standard pallets across.
Pallet Racking Beam Capacity
The correct beam for the application is dependent on the pallet weights being stored and the structural engineering calculations (performed by a state licensed Professional Engineer) which determine the minimum part sizing. Small differences in face size, gauge, or length can have significant impact on total weight bearing capacity. A pair of 2.5” 16ga x 96” beams, for example, can hold up to 2,212 lbs., whereas, a pair of 4 1/2” 14ga x 96” beams can hold up to 6,944 lbs.
Let Us Help
Whether you are looking to install new pallet racking or replace a damaged beam, we can help. Contact the experts at Engineered Products, a Papé Company to speak with a specialist about your needs and get a free quote today.