A storage rack or racking is a structure that consists of at least two upright (vertical) frames, horizontal beams, and some form of decking (bars, panels, meshes or none) in order to store goods and materials.
Storage rack is an essential component to material handling as it allows you to maximize the height space available in your storage space, without subjecting your goods to load crushing due to stacking.
In this guide, we at SWL help you understand the various types of storage shelves racks and identify which is the one you truly need for your storage space, from a neutral point of view.
Fundamentally, most storage racking systems fall under these three broad categories: Light Duty Racking System, Medium Duty Racking System, Heavy Duty Racking System.
LIGHT DUTY RACKING SYSTEM
Light Duty Rack is designed for the sole purpose of hand-loaded storage, rather than using a machinery like reach truck or forklift. The loading capacity per tier varies between manufacturers but in general, Light Duty Racks can withstand between 80 to 250KG per tier, assuming uniformly distributed load (UDL).
These attributes make Light Duty Racking Systems best suited for lightweight storage in homes, offices, SOHOs or commercial warehouses that deal with ecommerce and small FMCG. The two common types of Light Duty Racks in the market right now are Bolt & Nut Racks and Boltless Racks.
Bolt & Nut Racks were very popular in the 1980s to 2000s as they are customizable to fit different kinds of space sizes. However, once fixed and bolted, it is hard to adjust the Shelf Levels or Tiers. Due to the additional components required to bolt the structure together, Bolt & Nut Racks are often very heavy and immobile, making relocation a hassle.
Boltless Rack is a recent innovation and became popular during the early 2000s, when ecommerce started to take off and warehouse logistics realized that they needed versatile and modular storage racking systems to adapt to the ever-changing good sizes. Boltless Racks are typically set up by connecting the horizontal beams to upright frames via connector hooks and catches, instead of bolting. The decking is then placed on top of the horizontal beams in order to distribute any load towards the weight-bearing beams. This modular design makes Boltless Rack Systems versatile and adaptable to a wide variety of storage goods. However, a downside of the boltless feature is that Boltless Racks may feel flimsy and shaky, when there is no load on it. Another downside is that they often only come in standard sizes and offer little to no customization to its sizing.
Regardless of which type of Light Duty Racking Systems, they often come in two types of decking – wooden boards (MDF/HDF/Plywood) or metal shelves.
STORAGE RACK SYSTEM FOR HOME, OFFICE AND SOHO
The storage you require at home or office is lightweight and normally doesn’t exceed 20KG per item. These items may be household or office supplies like a carton of beer cans, A4 paper boxes, clothing and food. In this case, the use of Boltless Rack Systems will be most effective.
Depending on the size and shape of your storage space with warehouse mezzanine, Boltless Racks can be configured into L-Shape Boltless Racks to offer better corner accessibility, at the expense of a reduced loading capacity across the L-Shape tier. This is due to the connection of the extended L-Shape portion borrowing loading strength from the main Boltless Rack.
Automated storage systems for home and office should be kept at an optimal height of around 2m and no higher than 2.5m for safety reason, as most modern homes and office may not allow securing of the storage structure to the wall. Keeping to the 2m optimal height allows an average person to be able to reach the topmost of a storage rack, without the use of ladder or stool and without climbing on the storage cantilever rack itself. In the event that the storage rack has to be around 2.3m – 2.5m high, do remember to use a short stool or platform to access the higher tiers, instead of climbing on the storage rack.
DO YOU NEED A MACHINE TO STORE YOUR GOODS?
If your goods cannot be hand carried and requires a machine such as reach truck or forklift to load, Heavy Duty Pallet Racking systems should be your only consideration. It is the only system that is designed for machine-loading, due to its roll-formed structure that provides high strength and durability, and is able to withstand accidental small impacts. The Heavy Duty Pallet Racking systems also offer ideal depth profiles to suit the commonly used pallet sizes.
WHAT AISLE WIDTH IS NEEDED FOR YOUR WAREHOUSE?
For Light Duty Boltless Rack systems with rack accessories and Medium Duty Racking systems, we recommend a range of 80 to 120cm of aisle width, if you only do hand-loaded storage, or mobile racks. An aisle width of 80cm is often considered minimally comfortable as it provides the user with ample walking and body-turning space, while holding a big carton box. It also allows the user to roll in your average trolley, single direction, when doing order picking or goods stuffing. If your warehouse requires two users to be able to use an aisle concurrently or to be able to turn a trolley within an aisle, 120cm aisle width will be ideal.