Cantilever racking – what it is, how it works and how it could give you more storage with better access
Cantilever racking is a simple yet powerful way to increase storage space and improve accessibility for long objects. The term ‘cantilever’ means a form of protruding beam which is only anchored to a support wall or frame at one end. The entire load is supported at this sole anchor point with no columns or other forms of support anywhere else.
Just as a cantilevered floor protrudes out with no underside support, cantilever racking provides rows of anchored support arms which stored objects can be rested upon.
How can cantilever racking be used?
Cantilever racking is ideally suited for long loads, such as lengthy pieces of timber, plastic extrusions or metal tubes. Each cantilever arm of the rack is spaced apart to suit the load, so longer objects can be rested on fewer cantilevers, whilst smaller objects may need the cantilevers spaced closer together so the object doesn’t fall in-between them.
Particularly heavy objects will also need extra support arms to handle the load, whilst objects which are less stiff may need more supports to stop them from sagging or bending.
What are the main benefits of this type of racking?
A simple and cost effective storage system
If you need to store long and fairly stiff loads, you may not require a solid shelf running the entire length of the object. It’s instead possible to store the object on multiple narrow cantilever arms which are spaced further apart. This means that the rack can be far simpler and constructed out of fewer materials to provide cost savings which can be passed on to you.
Easy access to stored items
A key benefit of cantilever racking is that most of the underside of the object is accessible as the narrow cantilever support points are spaced apart. This makes it much easier for a fork lift truck or other lifting aid to lift up the object and move it away from the rack, which in-turn improve productivity and operation times.
For lighter objects, this also allows staff members to put their arms under the object to lift it instead of trying to get their fingers in-between the object and a shelf which could potentially cause injuries.
A highly efficient use of space
As cantilever racking is designed for long and narrow objects, it means that the actual rack itself is narrow with a single vertical support beam running up the middle. This means that more racks can be packed into a smaller surface area within a building.
Another powerful benefit is that this type of racking makes efficient use of vertical space. The racks can be made very tall to make full use of the height of a building, meaning that more of the overall volume inside of the building can be used for storage. The only limitation is either the height of the ceiling, the load demand or the maximum height of the fork lift trucks available.
High levels of adjustability
The vast majority of cantilever racking systems are adjustable. Slots running up the entire length of the main support beam allow the cantilever arms to be removed and then added into a different slot to change its location or spacing between the other arms. This allows you to easily reconfigure your rack to support a heavier, longer or shorter load.
If it’s long, you can store it!
Cantilever racking is versatile enough for virtually any type of load which is long enough to be supported between the cantilever arms. The heavy-duty construction of these racks and the solid base mean that very heavy objects can be stored across multiple levels. Get your pallet racking systems designed so they can store anything from wood and plastic to metal and stone.
What are the limitations when it comes to cantilever racking?
A key factor to consider when choosing or designing a cantilever racking system is the forklift requirements of the warehouse or factory. The system needs to be designed and laid out to still allow optimum manoeuvrability of fork lift trucks and other lifting aids in their daily duties. If this isn’t considered during the planning stage, then it’s possible to improve levels of storage whilst ultimately reducing speed and productivity.
Another limitation, as mentioned earlier, is the ability of the fork lift trucks within the building. Any lifting aid need to be able to comfortably reach the upper arms of the rack whilst being able to safely carry the load and support it during the manoeuvre.
By factoring these and many other points into the design and planning of your cantilever rack, it creates a storage system which is highly cost-effective, practical and safe whilst optimising the use of space and improving productivity.