If you have pallet racking in your facility there is a good chance you have welded wire shelves, more commonly know as wire decks, setting on your pallet rack beams.
There is a common misconception that pallet rack wire shelves, or WIRE DECKS, can be used to support the weight of stored pallets. This is not the intended use. Pallet Supports should be used for supporting the weight of a pallet or tote that does not reach, or can not be supported by, the entire top surface of both the front and back pallet rack beams. Wire decks do have a capacity rating, however, in accordance with ANSI standard MH26.2 the wire deck design must support the manufacturer’s rated capacity for a uniformly distributed static load over the entire surface of the deck – and this includes the surface of the deck over the racking load beams. Loads should never be pushed onto, or dropped onto a wire deck. Wire decks are not intended to be used as a platform or walkway, nor do they have any rating for structural point loading.
Pallet rack wire decks are designed to stop small boxes or other potentially loose material stacked on a pallet from falling through the racking and damaging inventory or injuring people below. They also offer a measure of security for pallets not placed squarely in the racking by stabilizing those loads, provided that both the front and back of the pallet are both resting across the racking load beams.
Pallet supports are in fact specifically designed to support pallets or totes that are short and do not reach from the front beam edge to beyond the back beam. Pallet supports are ideal for stabilizing small or irregular point load applications, but they offer no protection against loose material falling through the racking, so when this is a concern the customer should use both pallet supports and wire decks or specially designed decks for point loads.
Years ago when steel was much less expensive, wire deck manufacturers routinely used 4 Ga. wire in a 2” x 4” mesh pattern. As costs rose and imports created new price competition manufactures first increased the mesh to 2.5” x 4” and eventually reduced the thickness of the wire to 5 and even 6 Ga. The older, heavier decks were often misused as pallet supports because they didn’t show fatigue as readily as wire decks do now – yet those heavier gauge decks with the tighter mesh were given the same capacity rating as decks currently being produced. Customers with these older decks may expect that new decks purchased now will fit and function as the old decks have. It therefore becomes important that we caution them against the continued misuse and misapplication of this seemingly generic product. In fact, simply because today’s decks do show fatigue more readily and more pronounced, misuse becomes evident immediately. Over time this should eliminate the misuse of this product and lead to fewer accidents or injuries.
For more information you can visit our pallet rack section or call us at 1-877-677-9066.