9 Different Pallet Rack Decking Options
Pallet rack decking is used is used to support whatever load you are going to put on your pallet racking system. The decking is supported by the pallet rack beams to hold the material on a shelf. For hand stacking items on pallet rack, decking is critical.
Back in the day when loading pallets on to their pallet rack system, no decking was used and the pallet was only supported by the beams. As time went on, it became apparent that this was not the safest way to load your pallet racking and several decking options are now available on the market.
This article serves to help you determine which type of pallet rack decking is right for you.
Do I Need Pallet Rack Decking?
This may be a question you are asking yourself if you are in the market to buy pallet racks. We know your budget is at the top of mind and we get it. We are all about saving a buck if we can too. But you may be risking your employees and inventory safety without providing the right pallet rack beam decking.
While it is possible to place your pallets directly onto your pallet rack beams, this is not advised. If you get odd sized pallets or pallets that do not have structural integrity, these pallets could come crashing through the racks.
With decking on your pallet racking system it provides you the safety and flexibility to support many different types of pallets, boxes, bins, etc. on your warehouse rack.
Types of Pallet Rack Decking
- Pallet Rack Wire Decking
- Pallet Supports
- Plywood Decking
- Bar Grating Decking
- Punch Decking
- Corrugated Steel Decking with Cover Plate
- Solid Steel Decking (or perforated) Shelf Pans
- Pallet Flow Decking
- Carton Flow Decking
Now, lets flesh these out a little bit and see which one is best for you.
Wire decking for pallet racking is by far and away the most popular type of pallet rack decking. There are several types of wire decking, but the most common is the type in the picture above.
This is called a waterfall wire deck and because the front and back "waterfall over the edge of the pallet rack beams. The deck has channels welded to the wire that support whatever is being loaded into the racks. Standard wire decks have 3 channels welded to each deck to support the load, but more may be added to accommodate a heavier load.
The decks are meant to have a uniform distributed load which means if you are putting items with point loads on there it will negate whatever capacity it is quoted at.
We have Nashville Wire Decking in Stock and ready to ship out in 2-5 business days in all standard sizes including:
Pallet Support channels or Crossbars are another type of pallet rack decking option. There are a couple different variations of pallet supports. Pictured above is what is referred to as a flanged crossbar. These crossbars are meant to fit in pallet rack step beams and the flange will be tek screwed into the front and the back.
There is also a top hat crossbar that does not come over the front of the beam and tek screws into the bottom of the step beam for a sleeker finish.
Two support bars are required per pallet. If you are only going to be pallet support bars, you want to make sure that the load of the pallet is sitting on pallet rack beams and not squarely on the crossbars as they are only there to assure safety not to carry the whole load.
Pallet Rack Wood Decking
Wood Decking for Pallet Rack can be a good option if you are going to be hand stacking smaller items or placing bin boxes on the shelf that will not sit well on a wire deck. Although this option is not the Fire Marshall's favorite decking option to see, so it is always good to check your local fire codes to make sure it will pass.
In the picture above is a piece of particle board that is being supported by 2" x 4" studs that are laying in the step beams. Once the plywood is laid down on top of the studs it is best to use a wood screw on both sides of the studs to secure it in place.
How many studs you need to use depends on how heavy your load is. It is always best to err on the side of caution and use more support studs than less. you can also use 2" x 6" studs for support.
Bar Grating Decking for Pallet Rack is as heavy duty an option as there is on the market. These bar grating decks are virtually indestructible and can be designed to hold any load that the pallet rack beams will carry.
A lot of applications for Bar Grating Decking we see are when someone has a point load that will tear up wire decking like a basket of some sort. Bar grating decks are always custom so, what you are putting on the shelf needs to be clearly expressed and understood by the manufacturer before purchasing.
Punch decking for pallet rack is another resource that has traditionally been used. It is an effective way to make a perforated deck where water will still flow through while still having a smooth surface to put items on.
Corrugated Steel With Solid or Smooth Cover Plates
Corrugated Steel with a Cover Plate is a great option for creating a solid smooth surface to store your items on. This is commonly seen in the furniture industry as it creates a smooth surface to place the furniture on without it falling in any gaps like it would on wire decking.
It has 2 layers to it. The first layer is the corrugate that sits down in the step of the beam and gives the shelf its strength. This can be ordered in different gauges depending on how heavy your capacity requirements are. The 2nd layer is the cover plate which can be perforated or smooth steel.
In the picture above we did corrugated steel with a perforated cover plate to comply with local fire codes.
Solid Steel Decking (or perforated) Shelf Pans
These solid steel shelf pans are an efficient and cost effective way to create a solid deck for your pallet rack shelf. This product is meant more for hand stacking items on it as it does not have the load capacity of the corrugated steel decking.
It comes in a solid and perforated version depending on what will work better in your application and fire codes.
Pallet Flow Decking for Pallet Rack
There are many different variables to discuss when trying to order pallet flow racking. Every pallet flow racking system is custom and is dependent on the pallet you are trying to flow.
Pallet flow is a FIFO system and provides good rotation to your inventory. It also allows you to maximize storage space by eliminating the need for aisle spacing.
Carton flow is utilized to flow cartons or cases through pallet racking. It creates a FIFO system where the first item you put in is the first one to come out.
Carton flow comes in two different styles. One is a full bed of rollers (pictured above) and the other is designated lanes. Designated lanes work good for scenarios where you know all the cartons in one lane are going to be the same size.
If your carton sizes vary, then you are better off going with a full bed of rollers to accommodate any carton size and give you the flexibility you need.
How Do I Decide Which Pallet Rack Decking Is Right For Me?
When deciding which option is right for you, you have to weigh out all the factors.
Does it fit my needs?
Will it pass fire safety codes?
Does it have the capacity I need?
These are all questions that need to be addressed when deciding what decking option works best for you. 9 times out of 10 the best option is going to be wire decking for pallet rack because of how cost efficient and useful it is for storing pallets but there are obviously exceptions.