Pallet Racking Layouts for Irregular Shapes and Sizes

July 26, 2017 BY Steve Zerter

Pallet Racking Layouts

Most of the warehouse racking layouts we create or work on at LIDD can be described as standard, meaning:

  • Reach trucks are used to store standard 40” x 48” pallets in 2-pallet-wide racks on the 40” face
  • Rack depth and load beam length dimensions are similar (42” or 44” deep uprights, with ± 96” beams)
  • Aisle widths usually fall within a standard range (from 9’-6” to 11’-6”)

You might think that we can reuse the same plans and elevations over and over again. Yet, we haven’t drawn up the exact same layout twice. There are always differences in building dimensions, column spacing and other factors that have to be taken into account.

Designing pallet racking layouts to store items that vary widely in shape, size or material presents a greater challenge, and requires added thought, creativity and customization. LIDD has done many projects of this kind for utility companies, city maintenance and transport, building material suppliers, furniture and appliance warehouses, etc. As always we strive to maximize storage capacity and maintain efficient handling. These projects necessitate the use of a variety of rack types and sizes. Certain items are best handled with special mobile equipment, creating the need for special clearances and wider aisles. Very narrow aisle, highrise shelving, or mezzanine sections may also be appropriate.

20170719 - pallet rack.pngThe first step is to collect good information on the products to be stored. Often clients that deal with products which differ greatly in size and shape don’t have complete dimensional data. It may be necessary to measure some products. The rack specs can then be customized to fit the differing products, keeping in mind that creating too many different storage unit types will reduce the flexibility of the layout.

Try to find a “common denominator” load beam length that will fit a variety of different pallet dimensions. The rack profile shown here holds 3 pallets that are 48” wide x 48” deep as well as the other combinations listed. Heavy duty wire mesh deck or extra pallet supports would be used to safely accommodate the differing pallet sizes.

Some additional rack types and accessories to consider for oddly shaped items:

• Cantilever arm racks for pipes and long items
• Cantilever racks with continuous decks for furniture
• A-frame racks with vertical M-divider bars for long, on-end items
• Pallet cages to hold unstackable items
• Galvanized rack for exterior use
• Drum cradles and cable reel racks
• Shelving units for small parts