Case study

The relevance of pallet racking accessories

Jun 30, 2022 | Pallet Racking

When referring to pallet racking accessories, we’re not talking about bells and whistles, but rather safety and supportive features that are often necessary rather than being an optional extra. Pallet racking accessories contribute hugely to warehouse safety, helping employers meet their legal and moral obligation of ensuring a safe working environment for their employees. Purposely designed and placed to minimise risk, pallet racking accessories will help to safeguard people, equipment and inventory.

Each accessory type has a purpose of its own, and not every accessory is needed for every operation as detailed below as we outline the most common types of accessory:

Pallet racking protection barriers

Defending the structure from moving handling equipment when travelling beyond the aisle yet close to the end of the racking, protection barriers are placed across the length of the rack ends. One for each rack end, the barriers which sit on base plates are fixed to the floor and typically stand at 500mm high, offering sufficient protection from moving fork lift trucks (FLT) nearby. Rack end barriers are commonly made from steel to ensure endurance when hit by a heavy, moving FLT whilst the rack end frames remain untouched. As part of our manufactured product range, steel tubular barriers with base plates designed and produced by our skilled team are completely bespoke in terms of length, quantity and colour and although visibility is heightened when the barriers are yellow or orange, there is a wide range of colours to choose from.

Protection barriers are advisable where outer frames could be exposed to traffic including the rack ends of a wide aisle racking system for example or down the side of a none-enclosed deep lane system such as push-back racking

tubular barrier in yellow

Pallet racking upright protection

These are U shaped guards which wrap around the lower section of pallet racking upright components, whilst L shaped guards are used to protect the corner uprights. There is one protector per upright so quantity will depend on the length of your racking, and again yellow and orange are the most visible colours for the protectors. Whilst available in UPVC as pictured above, steel is the most robust option.  Manufactured by WSL, steel upright protectors offer substantial protection as it guards the components from accidental knocks and bumps which could over time weaken the structure and cause an eventual collapse.

Upright protection is designed for any frontal uprights which could be vulnerable to knocks and pumps from moving handling equipment. This could be the uprights positioned at the entry lane of a drive-in racking system or the aisle facing uprights of a wide aisle racking system for example.

Steel upright protectors on a drive-in racking system

Pallet racking guide rails

Controlling the movement and speed of the FLT as it navigates the aisle, guide rails create a protective barrier which separates the aisle from the racking. Running the length of the racking row and on both sides, guide rails are a common sight when narrow aisle racking is being used. This is due to the heightened risk of collision resulting from the minimal space provided for movement between the much taller racks. The guide rails encourage the slim-line FLT to travel at a safe speed and in a straight line whilst taking the hit instead of the racks, should the truck accidentally sway. At WSL, your heavy duty guide rails are designed and manufactured using steel to match your exact requirements, in terms of colour, length and quantity.

guide rails

Anti collapse mesh

A modern version of the nylon netted mesh solution, the steel grids of anti collapse mesh make it much more durable and highly effective against theft, damage and injury. Items stored on pallets which are placed in the racking system can find themselves becoming loose before potentially falling from the racks. With netted mesh, these items can dislodge themselves between the net and rack whereas none- flexible wired mesh prevents the items from roaming away from the edge whilst preventing unauthorised access to the items. No only will anti collapse mesh secure items in the rack to protect any persons or equipment occupying the nearby area, it minimises the threat of theft whilst the grids enable visibility of the stock.

Anti collapse mesh is ideal if the back of the racking row which does not require access from both sides is exposed, and particularly if the area behind is in operational use.

Anti Collapse Mesh

Pallet Racking Decking

When placing a standard sized pallet onto the rack, the unit will rest on the front and rear beams between which is a gap. For smaller loads such as a small pallet or container where the unit is unlikely to have enough length to rest safely on the beams, decking is fitted to fill the gap between the beams, forming a solid shelf. In some cases the racking system is only partially decked and for others the entire racking system requires decking, this depends on smaller load volume. Another thing to consider is decking type as options include chipboard, timber, wired mesh and steel panels, each of which has its own level of safety and operational support. To help you decide which decking type will meet all of your operational needs see our guide on choosing the right decking type. Without decking, the racks can become redundant when it comes to storing certain units and operators will need to search for an alternative location where obstructions could be caused and items can become lost.

Decking is an accessory which is only necessary if the loads stored are of a smaller dimension to that of a standard pallet.

chipboard decking

Pallet support bars

In instances where the front and rear beams are difficult to see when loading a pallet, these support bars can be fitted between the beams to help the operator to align the pallet, ensuring it rests safely. A pallet which doesn’t sit safely can compromise stability, putting operators, inventory and the structure at risk.

Pallet support bars are most suited to tall or double deep racking systems as the front and rear beams can be hidden from the operators view.

Pallet Pick and Deposit Stations (P&Ds)

An extension of the VNA racking system, P&Ds are located at the end of the racks where both the counterbalance truck which operates beyond the racks and the VNA truck which remains within the racks are able to work systematically together. The counterbalance truck is able to move pallets at speed in the area between the racking structure and the external openings of the warehouse whilst using the P&Ds to exchange the handling of the pallets with the VNA truck which works most efficiently between the racking aisles. P&Ds consist of either castellated rows which create an open area for the counterbalance truck to manoeuvre, or cantilevered racks which are accessed by the counterbalance truck as it moves forwards and backwards to load and pick the pallets. Both forms of P&Ds allow the VNA truck access without the need to venture away from the aisle in which is operates most efficiently.

VNA Racking Pick and Deposit stations

Rack row spacer

Without being particularly impressive to look at, these simple steel rods will keep adjacent racks stable as a single row of double-sided pallet storage is formed. The spacers ensure adequate flue space between pallets having been bolted each end of the steel rod to the adjacent uprights. Positioned evenly across the racking structure, spacers increase the stability of the structure by preventing the uprights from leaning whilst keeping adequate space between the pallets, reducing the risk of goods becoming damaged or mixed up.

rack row spacers

Pallet racking sprinkler system

Although the Legal requirements in relation to sprinkler systems vary in accordance to the size of the operational space, in-rack sprinklers can help protect your workforce, your inventory, your structures, your business as a whole and its reputation, so much so that some insurance providers insist on them. When we consider that vast amount of inventory stored in a warehouse, it’s easy to understand how quickly a fire can spread, particularly if the goods or packaging is none-fire proof. Consisting of pipes and sprinkler heads the system is placed within the racking system in a way which is non-invasive, so your operation is not hindered by the sprinkler components. In the event of a fire, the manual or automated system could save lives, inventory and your business.

Sprinkler Detail

Pallet racking weight load notices

These easy to read notices can be placed on the racking structure at relevant locations to provide immediate access to crucial information relating to the structures maximum weight load bearing. This helps to ensure operators do not place more weight onto the structure than it has been designed and built to take. Overloading a racking structure can cause it to weaken with the risk of collapse which can have catastrophic consequences for your employees, inventory and your business.  Weight load notices are simple to read and understand given that the displayed information is minimal, colour-coded and includes diagrams, making them ideal for quick referrals.

weight load notice

Helping you adopt the right pallet racking solution and accessories for your operation

If you’re looking for further advice on pallet racking solutions and accessories, why not have a conversation with one of our expert team. You’ll benefit greatly from their in-depth knowledge, extensive expertise and decades of experience. For advice today, call 01132045350 or email sales@wslmail.co.uk

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