The pallet rack is designed to carry pallets in various forms. Therefore, it has different dimensions than shelving units and because of its high carrying capacity, it has a stable build. Pallets are loaded and transported using a forklift. This requires a path with a sufficient width; otherwise the forklift would not be able to bring the pallets to the storage area. Pallets are support units used for the storage of components and also to meet transportation needs.
Various pallet forms are thereby possible: flat pallets; box pallets; and special forms such as those used for the supply of spare parts in automobile workshops. The pallet rack is generally made out of a rack frame, which for structural reasons is either welded or screwed together. In order to protect the steel from corrosion, it is either powder coated or galvanised. Stable longitudinal cross bars are suspended in the rack frame. Systematic punches or slots in the frame are used to hold the cross bars. A pallet rack does not contain any shelves, because the pallets sit directly on the longitudinal cross bars. There are two common forms: single-station storage; and the multi-station storage, where several pallets can be mounted next to one another.
A special form for pallets is the high bay racking system. An important safety criterion is evidence from the manufacturer that the rack has been built with a stable construction. The stability and floor loading of the rack frame during assembly of pallet racks should be taken into account.
Pallet racks are used in a variety of ways, and most commonly where large amounts of cargo needs to be transported using pallets and stored. In order to be able to do this on the smallest scale, pallet racks were developed. These make it possible, for example, to stockpile materials required for current production and to quickly supply the production process with the material when required. A classification system is possible, when the storage areas for the pallets are also systematised. This can ensure that the process of finding required components is efficient, in what are often very large storage areas. Special forms of box pallets have a larger vertical distance between their cross bars. The box pallets also contain a space for labelling.
During mechanical processes, it is possible to store machine components that are not in continuous use on pallet racks. This can be in the production area, to ensure that the machine components (e.g. tailstock, vice, support devices) are easily accessible during operation.
Several companies have specialised in the manufacturing of pallet racks. Some of the most recommended suppliers include JUNGHEINRICH, SSI SCHÄFER, SÄBU MORSBACH, MECCANICA NICOLETTI, DUWIC, MECA STORAGE SYSTEMS, LOCOMA, LINK INTERNATIONAL, KIMER, ELVEDI, NOORDREK GMBH, BITOLAGERTECHNIK BITMANN and CORNIX.