Cantilever racks and pallet racks are pretty common sights in modern warehouses – but they can serve very different purposes.
Sure, on the face they’re pretty similar. Long, tall structures designed to hold bulky goods and larger packages of inventory, usually only accessible by forklifts – sounds familiar, right? But the two of them can actually come in handy for a number of different applications and uses, and knowing the advantages of each can help your warehouse work more efficiently than before.
Anyone who has spent any time in a warehouse is familiar with pallet racks. An economic space-saver, pallet racks allow warehouses to maximize their vertical space and store the largest amount of products you can.
Due to their shape and size, pallet racks are typically best used to store, well, pallets. Smaller inventory items shrink-wrapped together onto pallets, or maybe even individual warehouse storage bins to hold smaller items or individual pieces/parts. The design of pallet racks tends to make them easier to access for things like pallet racks, as they offer a lot more open space between each rack (like standard shelves) for easier access.
The downside to this is that their shape doesn’t fully lend themselves to storing everything you need to keep in a warehouse. They tend to focus more on width and not length, meaning you can fit more pallets on a given rack, but for items of less-standard sizes you might have a tougher time using pallet racks.
That’s where cantilever racks come in. Cantilever racks are built similarly to pallet racks, in that they offer tall, wide shelving for items, but with one specific advantage in that they’re built for longer items.
Cantilever racks offer long “arms” for storage, instead of a flat shelf the way pallet racks do. This makes them ideal for things like lumber, piping, and other more ‘industrial’ products that take up a lot more vertical space. (Think the kind of shelving you see in larger hardware stores/lumberyards.) It’s a lot safer than trying to lean large planks up against the wall, and can free up a lot of floor space.
The downside to cantilever racks, however, is that they’re not as versatile as pallet racking can be. The design of these racks means they’re only really viable for holding longer parts, as they don’t offer the same flat storage surface for pallets and individual consumer goods.
Both of these shelves could potentially find a home in any warehouse – it all depends on what you stock and how much space you have (or need).