As a warehouse manager or owner, two of your topmost priorities are efficiency and safety. A good racking system can help you improve both, while pallet rack wire decking can add an even further boost to the speed and security of operations.
Wire decking is essentially a mesh of extremely strong and durable wires that you can fit inside each bay of your storage racking system to offer additional support for pallets or individual boxes and products. Although pallet rack decks are optional, they pay off in the long run because they help your employees stay safe and help keep your inventory intact.
Wire vs Solid Pallet Rack Decks
There are several types of pallet rack decking you can use to enhance the safety and efficiency of your warehouse storage system. To keep it simple, they can be split into two main categories, solid decking and wire decking.
In both cases, the aim is to provide additional support for your pallets as compared to the use of crossbars alone. When you employ at least two crossbars for each pallet slot, you reduce “beam spread” and the possibility that a broken pallet will fall through different beam levels and damage your products. In addition to this, pallet rack decks provide a horizontal platform to better hold up pallets and individual boxes or products. The obvious advantage is that you can safely store inventory that is not necessarily palletized.
There are significant differences between solid and wire pallet rack decks. Solid decking, for instance, commonly consists of wood or metal platforms, is heavier and more difficult to install, and can also be more expensive. In what follows, we focus on wire decking, its characteristics, advantages, and potential drawbacks.
Basic Characteristics of Wire Decking
Unlike solid decking, pallet rack wire decking is made up of crossed vertical and horizontal strands that allow spacing at various intervals. Although wire decking might seem to offer less support, with the addition of U channels under the wire deck panel, it is suitable for weights upwards of 3,800lb or 1,700kg.
Due to its configuration, such decking better distributes weight across its entire surface. It also ensures that the weight of inventory is evenly distributed across the surface of a pallet, as opposed to the beams alone. Long-term, this helps extend the lifespan of pallets and avoid losses from broken pallets and goods.
The fact that employees can see through the wire mesh is another notable characteristic of wire decking, especially when compared to its solid counterparts. Although this might not seem like a big deal, visibility plays an important part in avoiding accidents, as well as in how quickly pallets are loaded and unloaded.
Finally, you’ll notice that wire decking for pallet racks is easily installed and requires no additional hardware. It is simply fit into place, but for this to work, you must work with the exact specifics of your racking system. There are different types of pallet rack wire decking and each can be further customized for specific requirements.
Pallet Rack Wire Decking: Uses and Advantages
Any type of pallet rack decking is better than no decking at all, but wire pallet racks present numerous advantages when compared to their solid counterparts. These include:
Easier compliance with strict fire codes.
Wood decking is not the ideal material to work with in case of a fire, while metal decking is highly incompatible with above head emergency fire sprinklers. Wire decking for pallet racks presents none of these inconveniences, which is also why it is actually required by fire codes in some regions. Such decks are never built from flammable materials like wood and, because they are essentially a mesh of wires, they allow smoke to rise and water to easily pass through them for better management of emergency situations.
Wire decking is overall safer for stock and employees alike
In the absence of any kind of pallet rack deck, pallets must be placed directly onto support beams. The margin of error for employees operating forklifts to this end is extremely small, which makes it likely that they will misplace pallets and eventually cause them to fall and break. Wire decking helps prevent these accidents, as well as more severe cases where the employee is also in danger of injury.
Pallet rack wire decking enhances visibility
The mesh allows more light to pass through than a solid deck, which helps employees read labels correctly and avoid mistakes. It also allows forklift operators to identify the margins of pallets with increased accuracy, which makes the loading and unloading process quicker and safer.
More durable and lighter than other materials
When compared to wood pallet rack decking, for instance, wire decking can support more weight and is less likely to suffer from mildew and mold. Long-term, the latter type of support is also less likely to bend, warp, sag, or break, which translates directly into better return on investment for your warehouse.
The cost of wire decking is lower than that of solid steel shelf decking, which can help reduce the required initial investment.
There are no obvious disadvantages to using wire decking as opposed to other pallet rack decks. If you compare the former with a solid metal deck, for instance, you might be tempted to think that it cannot withstand the same weights. This, however, is not the case.
Of course, wire decking does come in several types and some are more suitable than others for heavy-duty loads. A standard wire deck, for example, is commonly built to support between 2,000lb and 2,500lb, while a light-duty deck will naturally handle lighter stock. Meanwhile, heavy-duty wire decking can withstand up to 3,800lb and more. This is easily comparable to the weight capacity of any solid pallet rack deck.
Wire Decking for Pallet Racks: Different Types
In addition to different weight capacity features, wire decks can be classified according to the way they fit in with the rest of your storage system. Some of the most common types include:
Standard wire decks, with welded support channels placed on beam steps and a waterfall margin design that fits over each beam.
Flared (and inverted flared) channel, with a flared flange at both ends of the deck that ensures a fit with both box and step beams.
Inverted channel, where support channels are positioned upside down in order to avoid the accumulation of debris.
Flush (or drop-in) wire decks, with an inside waterfall or with the end wires bent towards the inside edge of the beam.
The type of wire decking you choose has to do with the specific dimensions and characteristics of your storage system. Remember that the decks are not installed using additional hardware, which means they must fit in perfectly with your storage racks.
How to Choose the Right Pallet Rack Deck for Your Warehouse
Unlike other pallet rack decks, wire pallet racks are highly customizable. To make an optimal choice for your warehouse storage system, consider the following questions.
What Kind of Stock Do You Handle?
Not all wire decks are made equal. Some are better able than others to handle large and heavy loads, which is why it’s essential that you take into account the type of stock you commonly handle in your warehouse. Implementing light-duty decks for heavy inventory can lead to costly accidents, whereas the reverse can be a waste of financial resources.
How Will You Store Stock?
Do you store your inventory in full pallets, in individual boxes, or both? The answer can determine which type of wire decking you should implement in terms of mesh density. If you store most goods in pallets, for instance, then a wide mesh is sufficient to ensure the necessary support. If, on the other hand, you also store products individually or in boxes, then a tighter mesh pattern can prevent the latter from falling between beams.
What Kind of Warehouse Environment Do You Work With?
For example, do you handle goods that require low temperature conditions or do you store products outdoors? For the majority of applications, enamel finish (either power coated on baked on) is suitable, but if moisture or oxidation are a concern, then galvanized or stainless steel is more appropriate. The same question can help you determine the type and positioning of support channels for your wire decks. Especially if you operate in the food and beverages industry, your storage system can benefit from inverted channels for wire decking because the latter decrease the accumulation of dirt, dust, and debris, and are easier to clean.
At Kingmorack, we accessorize innovative storage solutions with customizable wire decking for pallet racks in order to ensure the longevity of each system. While wire decking is, of course, an optional feature, we recommend it to all warehouse managers and owners who wish to increase both the efficiency and the safety of their operations.
We also understand that pallet rack wire decking must fit a system perfectly in order to function optimally. For this reason, we put our knowledge and experience at your disposal and help you come up with the best solution for the specific requirements of your warehouse. For more information, contact Kingmorack today.
For more information, quotes, sample and orders, contact Kingmorack today.