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Pallet Racking Above Equipment… what could go wrong?

HikeKing21

Plastic
Joined
Oct 27, 2023
I’m moving into a new shop that has less square footage than ideal, but has a lot of height that would work great for pallet racking if I could reasonably install 12’ wide sections over my mill and lathe.

If I installed 12’ wide, and 14’ tall racking, I could have 2 bays with a shelf at 10’ and 14’

Assuming I anchored the racking into the floor at all 6 of the verticals, and had cross arms in the rear of the racking behind the equipment, is this a reasonable thing to consider to maximize the use of our vertical space?

Storage would be palletized and secure above everything.
 
I’m moving into a new shop that has less square footage than ideal, but has a lot of height that would work great for pallet racking if I could reasonably install 12’ wide sections over my mill and lathe.

If I installed 12’ wide, and 14’ tall racking, I could have 2 bays with a shelf at 10’ and 14’

Assuming I anchored the racking into the floor at all 6 of the verticals, and had cross arms in the rear of the racking behind the equipment, is this a reasonable thing to consider to maximize the use of our vertical space?

Storage would be palletized and secure above everything.
Something falling down into or on top of your machine comes to mind. Everything imaginable seems to find it's way up on pallet racks.
Good luck MATT
 
What does your insurance agent or fire inspector say? I assume you still need side and rear access to service the machines. Not trying to be the naysayer but, those are realities.

I try to do machine layouts where the back and sides of the machines are already in natural walkways. That gives the required 3-feet of clearance around the electrical cabinet as an example, and doesn't waste that space during other times. In one shop, I had the back of the machines facing the storage racks area behind it (machines on one side of the aisle, low racks to the other). Or face the back of the machines to an area used for storage of rolling things (racks, forklift, etc).
 
Pallet racking always results in shite falling, without exeption, don’t do it, how about a mezzanine?
We weren’t allowed to put machines or workstations under it over here, too much risk, at least that is the veiw of the HM factory inspector ( rightly imho)
I’ve seen 2 racks collapse, from one end, very messy.
No one hurt but close call.
Mark
 
Bullshit to all the naysayers. I use pallet racking extensively as racks and a mezzanine I have never dropped anything off the rack ever. The fire inspector point is valid. But if you are that clumsy that you drop shit off racks you probably are going to cut your fingers off anyway.
 
I have this very arrangement, three sections in two locations. Works spectacularly well. Maximize your cubic, not your floor space. Tho do that too...

Obviously make sure nothing falls off, however my big Colchester sits under the racking and if something falls off it hits me, not the lathe. The little Clausing is even more protected.
The caveat is that in my neck of the woods one needs 18" from the sprinkler heads. I have mine pretty loaded, life has caused my shop to be a storage for a while. However I know several folks with the same arrangement. I got the idea from another machine shop a couple doors down.

The other thing is don't buy cheapo racking (the kind you see in those videos of the racks falling like dominoes when the towmotor hits a corner). Get proper warehouse racking. Buy used if you can, no point in spending more for the same thing.
 
Make sure the pieces are bolted together not just teardrop holes and rivets. I would lay plywood on the shelf above the machines to catch any little stuff that rolls and would fall through the wire grid.
Seems like a good way to support a work light and a fan. Maybe a airhose to blow stuff off.
Bill D
 
I’d weld the bloody thing together if I had one!, watching them collapse is somewhat entertaining providing no one gets hurt.
Mark
 
I'd use more than one set of cross beams for stability. Do keep in mind the load rating of the beams each vendor may be a bit different. Example: https://www.interlakemecalux.com/beam-load-capacities

That 18 inch of clearance to a sprinkler is National Fire Protection Act (NFPA) code, technically you need 24 inches of clearance for areas without sprinklers. The reason for the larger clearance is to provide clearance for a hose team to spray over the material in storage.
 
Common sense goes a long way. From memory my racks can handle 16 metric tons. Make informed decisions and be accountable for your own actions.

I'll never forget reading Phil Knight's book and the saying regarding the Oregon trail.

"The Cowards never started, (The ones saying don't do this they always give you a million reasons why not to and not a single reason why you should)
The Weak died along the way, (The stupid ones who shouldn't be allowed around moving equipment anyway)
Only the Strong Survived" (Those who calculate the risk and reward, proceed carefully and take responsibility for their actions and the consequences)
 
There's pallet racks and then there's pallet racks. If you have the cheapest system available, don't expect the rack to hold itself up, much less even a single, empty pallet. But at my last place of employment they had a number of pallet racks left from the previous occupant. They were really built. Probably fabricated in place by a local welder. They were absolutely solid. And steel shelves were welded on them. Ugly as sin, but I don't think a single spec of dust ever dared to fall from them.

But then there's just plain pallet racks so YMMV!
 
Might change my mind when we get the next big earthquake
If they are properly bolted to a solid concrete floor they should be oaky. Determine which direction the acceleration will be and add bracing to counter that. If possible align the long dimension parallel to expected acceleration.
I do not know where you live in California but I would expect North South acceleration. Hope your garage door faces north or south not east or west.
Bill D.
 
Common sense goes a long way. From memory my racks can handle 16 metric tons. Make informed decisions and be accountable for your own actions.

I'll never forget reading Phil Knight's book and the saying regarding the Oregon trail.

"The Cowards never started, (The ones saying don't do this they always give you a million reasons why not to and not a single reason why you should)
The Weak died along the way, (The stupid ones who shouldn't be allowed around moving equipment anyway)
Only the Strong Survived" (Those who calculate the risk and reward, proceed carefully and take responsibility for their actions and the consequences)
Strong, brave men die regularly.
 
I've put racking above machines plenty, use the volume of your shop! The recommendation of sheet material on top of the mesh isn't a bad idea, I've put plywood on the pallets and then sides on the pallets as well so they are pretty much crates that can't have anything fall out when they are placed above a machine. This has the added benefit of being easier to pack, like comparing a flat deck pickup to a van. A van doesn't need every single thing secured and that can be handy for just getting effective storage.

I'm a big fan of "walkie stackers" with telescoping masts. They can fit in tight spaces and help you get the most out of your shop's volume. I have a Crown 20MT that can lift 2000 lb 10 feet off the floor. Only downside is you have to make sure whatever is on the floor below the racks is high enough to have clearance for the "straddle" legs. This can be a pain.
 
Strong, brave men die regularly.
Strong, brave with a bit of stupidity is a potent recipe for disaster. I’ll always remember the definition of bravery from my army days. Doing something because you are too stupid to realise you could be killed.
 
We've 2 air compressors, tank and air drier up on a pallet rack. Makes changing oil and draining water dead easy, not to mention the space saved. (1200 sq ft here, tallish ceiling.)

Pallet racking changed my shop life...
 
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I use pallet racks extensively above shop equipment. I row of pallet rack is over two press brakes and a CNC lathe. Over shop presses, parts washing sink, and shipping station. In the welding department there is pallet rack over a bank of welders and a bay of consumables cabinets. In the middle of the shop, away from precision machines, there is a the grinders and sanders underneath a row of pallet rack.
 








 
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