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The Ultimate Guide to Pallet Rack Configuration.

Pallet Rack Configuration

Pallet Rack Configuration

One of the best ways to create more space within the existing facility is by installing pallet racking. Now, warehouse managers or operation specialists agree that creating vertical space works quite literally for everyone. You can better manage your operations and keep your inventory organized.

But what if you want to make changes to your racking systems? Well, the answer is an absolute Yes! You can manage your racks with all the variations you want. The pallet racking configuration is designed with all the requirements and specifications of users.

You will know more about these racks further in this article. So, let’s explore pallet racking configuration.

What Is a Pallet Racking Configuration?

The specific arrangements and designs of the racking system that can vary with different occasions are commonly known as pallet racking configuration. The factors that should be considered for pallet rack configuration are:

Using pallet racking configurations can help you to surge productivity. The immediate results of customizable configurations can be seen through effective operations that promote a good image of an organization. 

If the pallet racking is installed properly then it can save you from any mishandling of goods, increases the storage capacity, enhances efficiency, and the workers will be at less risk of injuries.

Types of the Pallet Racking Configuration

Pallet racking is popular for being flexible. Pallet racking configuration is a simple yet advanced solution for your storage enhancement and storage management. The ultimate goal of enhancing storage capacity is storing the goods vertically.

Therefore, here are the types of pallet racking that can be configured or designed according to the specification:

1.    Selective Pallet Racking

Selective pallet racking is the most common type of pallet racking. This racking system consists of cross beams and uprights that are basically a shelf to support the pallet. You can store items on it when needed. 

The configuration in selective pallet racking provides easy access where you can easily load or unload from each pallet. Also, following this racking system gives fast-moving inventory.

This racking system provides the following benefits:

Where Do You Use Selective Pallet Racking?

Selective pallet racking is used where you have a low number of pallets per SKU, when you require free access to the pallet, and when you need to pick from the pallets (at lower levels).

Also, it is a considerable point when not to use selective pallet racking. So, it is the reverse of when to use a list. Do not use this racking system when you have a high number of pallets per SKU. Secondly, when you need to pick from the pallets more than the lower level.  

Key Features

2.    Pushback Pallet Racking

This racking system is very different from the selective racking system because it provides the same accessibility.  In push-back pallet racks, pallets are layered vertically. This pallet racking is similar to drive-in pallet racking. But this system allows pallets to be stored and retrieved from the same aisle.

Where Do You Use Pushback Pallet Racking?

Pushback racking is recommended to store items when the company implies FILO (First in, Last Out) method. If you have more pallets per SKU then this pallet racking system is for you so that you can gain more storage density. When loading or unloading the pallets, the forklift drivers need to be really careful in order to avoid pallet damage.

Whereas, it is not recommended for warehouses where the stored inventory may require frequent picking. When pallet-to-pallet contact can make the goods damaged then avoid using this racking system.

Key Features

3.    Drive-In Pallet Racking

Drive-in pallet racking is a configuration where the pallets are stored on the rails. These pallets are run perpendicular to the aisles. The configuration enhances storage capacity by allowing the pallets to be stored in deep lanes.

Drive-in racking truck allows the lifter to enter from one side where the racks are, in order to pick up or pull back the pallet.

Where Do You Use Pushback Pallet Racking?

This racking system is suitable for operations where there is a lot of space which requires a lot of storage options as well. The drive-in pallet racking clears the blocked stacking operations therefore there are fewer chances of damage to pallets.

Also, this pallet system is used when the FILO inventory system is not a problem. This storage racking is beneficial when you require high-density storage.

Drive-in pallet racking is not useful when you need retrieval of an individual pallet. This racking system is not recommended when order picking is required from pallets. Also, do not plan to go for this racking system when you require greater than 60 % space utilization.

Key Features

4.    Pallet Flow Racking

The pallet flow racking system uses a gravity-fed system where the pallets move along the rollers or tracks. This racking system allows easy access to the pallets. It maximizes storage density. The configuration of pallet flow racking is ideal for the FIFO inventory system.

To get greater efficiency with pallet flow racking, then integrate it into an automated storage and retrieval system.

Where Do You Use Pushback Pallet Racking?

The pallet flow racking is a gravity flow rack that allows high-density storage. Therefore, the configuration of this pallet is ideal when you require high-volume applications. It saves you costs that include labor costs, energy, and space.

This racking system is not recommended to configure when you have some pallets per SKU. If you need to perform order picking then do not go for this pallet racking.

Key Features

How to Configure Pallet Racking Systems

There are many steps involved to understand and measure pallet racking. But if you are just looking to configure your pallet racking system then here are the process of the following steps to help you set up your pallet racking.

So, let’s get going on how to configure the pallet racking system.

Step # 1: Measure the Size of the Product

First of all, start by measuring the width, height, and depth of your pallets. Typically, the pallet’s size is 40’’ wide x 48’’ deep. It is recommended to leave a little space between the pallets, so that, it will be easier to load and unload the rack. Keep track of the measurements because further, it will be helpful for the coming steps.

Do not forget to take the measurement of the heaviest load item you will be storing. Add the pallet weight to the heaviest load item’s weight. It is important to determine the overall weight so that you will have a complete size for configuration.

Step # 2: Select Beam

Now, based on the previous measurements, you need to determine the width of the shelve that you require. For instance, with a typical pallet, the load on the shelf might be 80’’ (considering two pallets per shelf). You will be needing a minimum of 96’’ beam for a 4’’ on each side of each pallet.

Once your rack’s width has been determined, now you need to select the right capacity beam for the load, where each shelf and rack level might require two beams.

Step # 3: Choose Upright Sizes

The third step in pallet racking configuration is to determine the height and depth of uprights. It is a simple yet important step where you figure out how many shelf levels you want. Considering the pallet height, you can rightly manage the upright height.

When you choose the right upright, it is recommended to take both load and total shelf capacity into account. However, the depth of uprights will be based on the depth of the pallets. What you need to do is to create a balance between the entire pallet load on the front and rear rack beams.

Step # 4: Adding Up all the measurements

Now that you have determined the total number of beams and uprights correctly; you have a clear mind to plan a storage system. It is important to note that one upright shall be used as a connector for the multiple bay racks. Also, two racks can share a center upright. But remember, this can be done when total shelf and upright capacities are within range.

Important Things to Consider for Pallet Racking Configuration

Is the storage capacity bothering you? Need more space and don’t know where to pick? Then we have some important things to tell you about pallet racking configuration.

There are many factors that should be considered while you design pallet racking. Whether you want a configuration for your existing pallet racking or you want to create a new pallet racking system, every detail is important.

You configure your warehouse to make it safe. Also, taking timely measurements for your setup can save you costs before you get into trouble in the future.

A)    Understand the Racking Run

Determining the right storage system becomes easy when you start with the length of the racking run which is ideal for your racks. Sometimes, it might be equal to the warehouse length or the floor space that you will be using for the racking. Therefore, calculate the exact number of runs which you require in actuality. For easy understanding, calculate the run for one racking and then you can go along with others.

B)    Determine the Pallet Requirements

It is important to plan how many pallets you want on the rack, the storage load it will take, and how much space it will acquire in your system. Now is the time to measure the height and length of the beams.

Consider your inventory requirement and plan how wide you want your racks like one pallet or maybe more. Whatever rack width you choose, there is no right and wrong answer to that. Just plan the right storage system that will help you store enough items.

c)    Sizing the Pallets

As we have discussed earlier the process to configure the pallet racking, is a little more descriptive than before. According to the GMA (Grocery Manufacturer Association), the pallet is 48’’ deep and 40’’ wide, in general. But there are many other sizes available, so plan your pallet racking accordingly.

First, measure the actual pallet, so that you can determine the height of your pallet. Also, the height of the load should be considered when determining the height of the pallet. This is how you can get a clearer picture of the actual height of your pallet racking. This way it will be easier for you to count the number of beams that can fit into such height.

The construction of the pallets and the type of pallet you are storing will help you determine the pallet size. In addition, the pallet weights are also important when planning a pallet size. Because the weight of the pallet will directly influence the following factors:

Communicate with your executive team comprising the warehouse manager and other related personnel to get things properly done. Discussing more with concerned people might take a little longer. But details should be discussed to manage costs and safety.

D)    Measure the Beams

You can determine your beam length through the run length. Following are the standard beam lengths:

The above-mentioned beam length is the most common one but there are many other length options that you can choose for your racking. Every manufacturer has their own beam sizes so you need to work according to your space system.

Here is an important point while measuring the beam: are you installing a new racking system or do you want to replace the existing rack? Extra cautions are required if you want to replace the existing one.

Sometimes, the measurements are taken from the outside of uprights which turns out to be incorrect. So, you ensure that the measurements are taken inside the edges.

In the case of installing new beams, focus on every detail that has been discussed during the information gathering so that you have an accurate beam length.

E)    Measure the Rack Depth

The rack depth can be measured by measuring the width of the uprights to which the beams will be attached. For rack depth measurement, in some cases, you will need to allow the front and back of the rack with 3’’ as an overhang. 

It will be a total of 6’’ extra. Therefore, you will be subtracting 6’’ from the actual depth of the pallet. So that your rack depth will be deep enough just like you want it.

Taking an example of a standard pallet depth which is 48’’ deep. So, you will be needing a 42’’ deep rack. 3’’ of overhang will surely improve pallet accessibility and make it much easier for forklifts to access the pallets. 

You don’t have just a 42’’ deep pallet rack option but there are many other depths with the following dimensions:

All these dimensions can vary with the manufacturer you choose. Just remember one important point to measure the beam length you took the inside edge. But in this case, with uprights, you will be measuring from the outside edge to the other outside edge.

F)     Measure the Rack Height

The optimal use of the racking system configuration is to select the right height for your rack. The height of the rack can reach the ceiling to utilize the pallet storage to its fullest. But one limitation can take you back from this decision.

You can design a racking system that can reach your warehouse ceiling but you need to check whether the forklifts have enough reach to get the pallet from that height. This is known as equipment limitation which should be considered in warehousing.

Following are the things to consider when calculating the ack height:

G)    Compiling All the Measurements and Configuring the Calculations

Now is the time to calculate all the measurements by compiling them together.  You need to determine the rack’s total run length so that your racking run will fit in your footprint. For such a purpose, you need to calculate the beam length and your upright width. The width is usually 3’’.

Compile all the above beams, height, and width of the racking system. It will be a complete guide for the pallet racking configuration.


Pallet racking configuration can be crucial for warehouses but the right racking configuration can either make your profits or break them. Using your space within the facility or maximizing the storage capacity can be difficult but believe us, it surely makes a difference. It promotes ease of access, efficient use of space, and safety. 

Just remember, pallet racking configuration is not a one-time task but it is an ongoing process. It requires adjustments over time, regular maintenance, and safety checks. Therefore, you can avoid potential accidents.

In a nutshell, we will advise you to invest in your pallet racking system because it is worth your time and will lead you to a profitable organization.

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