If you’re a seasoned warehouse veteran and you’re highly familiar with pallet rack, you know there’s certain jargon used to describe various parts, features, and topics associated with racking systems. An expert on all things pallet rack might know this special vocabulary like the back of their hand and use and understand these words without a second thought.

A person who’s newer to their industry or has had limited experience working with pallet rack, however, might find this lexicon to be a jumbled, confusing mess of made-up-sounding phrases.  If you fall into this latter category, fear not; we curated a mini pallet rack dictionary based on RMI standard nomenclature to help you understand some of the basic and not-so-basic terminology surrounding pallet rack.  Without further ado, the list:

image saying pallet rack dictonary

Pallet Rack Dictionary – 1st Edition

A magnifying glass looks over the tiny words in a dictionary

Applicable Code: Applicable code simply refers to the code, enforced by the local government, for which a given structure is designed to comply. While this isn’t used exclusively with pallet rack systems, it will come into play frequently in the design process.

Beam: In pallet rack terminology, “beam” is a fundamental word. It refers to a horizontally-oriented pallet rack component upon which the load of the pallet rack directly rests. Beams are also commonly referred to as “cross beams.”

Beam Locking Device: A beam locking device is used to prevent pallet rack beams from becoming disengaged from the upright frame. Also known as safety clips, beam locking devices most often come in the form of a pin, clip or bolt.

Buckling Strength: The concept of buckling strength is fairly straightforward. Buckling strength is easiest described as the upper threshold of weight that pallet rack can hold before susceptible to buckling or collapse.

Case Flow Rack: Also known as carton flow rack, case flow rack is a rack system in which the horizontal components are organized in a way that allows cases to be loaded onto one end of the system and picked from the other end. These rack systems are gravity-driven, first-in, first-out systems. They’re frequently used in warehouses and distribution centers with a high volume and fast turnover of product.

Connection: When used within the context of pallet rack, “connection” refers to any point at which two components of the pallet rack are joined together. A common usage is “beam-to-frame connection.”

Drive-In Rack: “Drive-in-rack” refers to a first-in, last-out pallet rack system in which pallets are loaded into the system by maneuvering a lift truck into a bay of the rack system and placing the load at the furthest back position, thus giving “drive-in rack” its name. Instead of cross beams, drive-in rack has support rails mounted to the upright frames. These rails are able to hold pallets without interfering with the path of the lift truck.

Flexural Buckling: In laymen’s terms, flexural buckling refers to a situation in which a compressed component of the pallet rack structure bends laterally, without any other type of movement. An example of a flexural buckling scenario would be a pallet rack upright that has insufficient strength to match the weight of its load, and subsequently buckles like a piece of uncooked spaghetti.

Flexural-Torsional Bucking: Flexural-torsional buckling is flexural buckling with the addition of a twisting motion of the affected pallet rack member.

Force: As you might be able to guess, the definition of force is fairly straightforward and intuitive. As in most cases of literal usage, force refers to the amount of stress applied and distributed over a given area.

Gravity Load: Gravity load refers to stress that is put on a pallet rack structure by loads which have gravitational pull towards the ground. In a real-world application, anything you put on your pallet rack will contribute to the gravity load. The gravity load comprises the “dead load,” or the self-weight of the rack, and the “live load,” which refers to the loads that will change over time, such as the loading and unloading of pallets.

An aisle is surround by two 4-level high pallet racking that is filled with materials

Nominal Strength: Nominal strength is the strength of a pallet rack structure without considering other factors, such as the safety factor or resistance factor. It is the strength of pallet rack without before being compromised by the inevitable deviations in actual strength that will occur.

Pallet Flow Rack: Pallet flow rack is like case flow rack, but for pallets instead of individual cases. Pallets are loaded onto one end of a pallet position and move along wheels or rollers on a slight downward plane until they’re picked from the other end, making for a first-in, first-out loading and picking order.

Push-Back Rack: Push-back pallet racking is a system in which pallets are loaded onto a pallet position from the front and subsequently pushed backward by the loading of additional pallets, all of which sit upon nested carts. Pallets can typically be stored up to five deep in a push-back rack system.

Rack-Supported Platforms: A surface, or decking, that is supported by the pallet rack beams and upon which loads sit. An example of rack-supported platforms is pallet rack wire decking.

Stability: Stability is an immensely important feature in a pallet rack structure. It refers to the ability of a pallet rack structure not to be disturbed by shifts in load placement.

AK Material Handling Systems is located near Minneapolis, MN and specializes in all types of material handling products for their clients. AK is one of the largest stocking distributors of new and used pallet racking in the United States. If you are looking for pallet rack pricing or availability contact us 763-493-5015.

That’s all for the 1st Edition of our Pallet Rack Dictionary. We hope it’s been informative and has helped you gain a better understanding of pallet rack terminology. Thanks for reading.

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About AK Material Handling Systems

We deliver value to our customers by providing the absolute best combination of quality products, helpful customer service and competitive pricing. We specialize in warehouse layout & design, pallet rack systems, engineered sales, mezzaninesmodular offices and completed turn-key warehouse systems. For more information email us or call (800) 722-5908