Guide to... Pallet Information for Racking Design


Pallet racking obviously gets its name from the storage of palletised goods on racking. Simple! Well, what it also means is that the configuration and specification of your pallet racking systems are entirely dependent on the pallets that will be stored. In this Guide, we take a look at what pallet information we need to know in order to fully specify, configure and design your racking systems!


Our 6 Steps to Measuring & Specifying your Pallet Racking will help you get a pallet racking quote if you know what you require. But if you don't know where to start, you probably should with your pallet types and sizes.


Our below steps will guide you through what information a pallet racking supplier may need in order to configure and design your racking systems.


6 Steps to Pallet Information for Racking Design


Step 1 - Pallet Type

Step 2 - Pallet Size

Step 3 - Pallet Insertion

Step 4 - Pallet Height

Step 5 - Pallet Weight

Step 6 - Pallet Load Type

BONUS TIP - Speak to the Experts

Ready? Get a Quote for your Pallet Racking!



Step 1 - Pallet Type

It will generally be the Pallet Size that affects the configuration of your racking systems. And size is determined by the Pallet Type. However, the construction of the pallet can have an impact in the design and what accessories may need to be used.


The principle behind racking design is that the Blocks on each corner of the pallet should sit directly onto the beam. If these Blocks have no Bottom Deckboards, the tolerances are low when trying to place the Blocks onto a beam that could be as small as 50mm in depth. You may require some form of timber decking to prevent the pallet from falling through the rack. 


The storage system application (e.g. static pallet racking, dynamic racking, drive-in racking) will then have an impact on the quality of the pallet required. For example, a dynamic pallet live storage system utilising rollers will only be compatible with a good quality UK CHEP or EUR/EPAL. And the insertion (see below) will have to be correct for the Bottom Deckboards on the rollers.


Confused? Don't worry. This is something your racking supplier should be able to advise on!


Pallets can initially be categorised between Two-way and Four-way. This essentially means the pallet can only be accessed by materials handling equipment from 2 sides or 4 sides.


They will then have a number of construction styles including Perimeter Base, Strapped, Winged and Legged plus Close Boarded and Open Boarded. The most commonly named pallets are:


  • Euro pallet (see below)
  • UK CHEP ©
  • Drum pallet
  • Heavy Legger pallet
  • Standard pallet
  • Plastic pallet
  • Food use plastic pallet



EUR-pallet - what is it?

The EUR/EPAL-pallet is a four-way pallet made of wood with common dimensions of 1200 x 800 x 144 mm. It is the standard European pallet as specified by the European Pallet Association (EPAL).


  • EUR-pallet type Dimensions (W x L)
  • EUR, EUR 1 800mm x 1200mm
  • EUR 2 1200mm x 1000mm
  • EUR 31000mm x 1200mm
  • EUR 6800mm x 600mm



Step 2 - Pallet Size

Although certain Pallet Types have predefined sizes they can often vary or you may have a custom made pallet for bespoke products that only you manufacture. If this is the case, it is important we understand your Pallet Size to determine the Clear Entry of your Beams and Depth of your Frames.


Taking the common EUR 1 four-way pallet, we can demonstrate the appropriate Clear Entry and Depth of your racking (however this depends on the Pallet Insertion, see below).


A EUR 1 pallet measure 800mm W x 1200mm D. If the 1200mm D is inserted into the racking, the depth of your frame will be 1100mm. This is because the Storage Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA) Code of Practice for the Use of Static Pallet Racking stipulates that the minimum overhang of the pallet should be 100mm in total; 50mm front and 50mm back. This means the pallet extends beyond the front and back beam.


1100mm Frame Depth = 1200mm – 50mm – 50mm


If you were to have three EUR 1 pallets per beam level, the Clear Entry would be 2700mm. This is because the same SEMA Code of Practice stipulates that the “clearance between pallet or load and upright” and “clearance between adjacent pallets or loads” should be 75mm. Therefore the formula would be:


2700mm Clear Entry = 75mm + 800mm + 75mm + 800mm + 75mm + 800mm + 75mm


The 75mm dimension will increase to 100mm for Beam Heights over 6000mm to allow greater tolerance for the forklift operator when at ground level and the pallet is up high. This means the beam would be 2800mm Clear Entry for only those Pallet Racking Bays that exceed 6000mm high.


By providing us with information on your Pallet Size we can determine the suitable Depth of your racking system and Beam Clear Entry.



Step 3 - Pallet Insertion

Depending on how you insert your pallet into the racking, will depend on its dimensions. Taking the example above, as the EUR 1 pallet is a four-way pallet, you can either insert it into the racking 1200mm or 800mm.


The following shows the difference in sizes which should demonstrate the importance of a unified pallet insertion across your warehouse:


1200mm Insertion

Frame Depth = 1200mm – 50mm – 50mm = 1100mm

Beam Clear Entry = 75mm + 800mm + 75mm + 800mm + 75mm + 800mm + 75mm = 2700mm 



800mm Insertion

Frame Depth = 800mm – 50mm – 50mm = 700mm

Beam Clear Entry = 75mm + 1200mm + 75mm + 1200mm + 75mm + 1200mm + 75mm = 3900mm 


The above example of 800mm insertion EUR 1 pallet is quite rare but does demonstrate the difference in dimensions when considering the Pallet Insertion.



Step 4 - Pallet Height

When we discuss Pallet Height, we do not mean the height of the pallet itself e.g. 144mm for the EUR/EPAL pallet. What we mean is the total height including the load on it. For example, if you had a 1000mm high box, the Pallet Height would be 1000mm + 144mm = 1144mm.


Pallet Height is important as it will affect the height of your pallet racking system and the number of beam levels that can be achieved in that height.


Assuming your first pallet sits directly on the ground the “clearance between the underside of beam and top of load or pallet where no automatic height selection is used”should be:


  • 75mm for beam heights up to 3000mm
  • 100mm for beam heights up to 6000mm
  • 125mm for beam heights up to 9000mm
  • 150mm for beam heights up to 12000mm


So for a racking system with a total Pallet Height of 1144mm, Beam Height of 90mm and total building height of 5500mm you can achieve a racking height of:


Frame Height 5200mm = 1144mm + 100mm + 90mm + 1144mm + 100mm + 90mm + 1144mm + 100mm + 90mm + 1144mm


 This provides 4 beams levels per bay including the ground level and allows tolerance for lifting the top pallet on the underside of the building.



Step 5 - Pallet Weight

Pallet Weight is one of the most significant pieces of information required in order to configure and specify your racking systems. Not only will the pallet weight have an impact on the Beam Duty, it will also affect the specification of the frame, the configuration of the racks and also whether the warehouse floor (or slab) is capable of taking the loads from the racking system.


Determining the Pallet Weight should be fairly self-explanatory. You can either use data from your product range or simply weigh the pallet. Don’t forget in your manual calculation to add the weight of the pallet! A pallet could weigh as much as 28kgs so multiply this by the number of pallets in a bay and you could add 1000kgs to the bay load!


It is important to determine how many pallets weigh X kgs and how many pallets weigh Y kgs. By fully optimising capacity and specification of your racking system it could result in significant cost savings. The pallet racking beam costs can vary by up to 60% depending on their specification and load duty.



Step 6 - Load Type

Nearly anything can be stored on a pallet, therefore it is difficult to illustrate all the options and variables. Generally speaking, a pallet will contain one large item or a collection of smaller items, often shrink-wrapped for transportation.


The load will naturally determine the Pallet Weight however other factors of the Load Type could impact on the racking design and specification. For example, if you have lots of loose items on a pallet, you may wish to consider a form of decking on your racking beam levels. This will prevent products from falling through the racks. An additional measure would be to install a form of anti-collapse mesh or netting to the rear of each rack to prevent loose items falling into the flue or pedestrian walkways.


One of the most significant elements of Pallet Load Type to affect configuration is load overhang. If your boxes or bagged products overhang the area of the pallet, the dimensions of your racking needed to be adjusted accordingly.


All of the figures Pallet Size, Insertion and Height are based upon the pallet to pallet dimension.


By taking the example of the EUR 1 with a 100mm overhang we can show how overhang affects the Beam Clear Entry:


75mm + (800mm + 100mm) + 75mm + (800mm + 100mm) + 75mm + (800mm + 100mm) + 75mm 
3000mm Clear Entry NOT 2700mm Clear Entry


Pallet overhang is particularly important when considering a dynamic or drive-in pallet racking system.



BONUS TIP - Speak to the Experts

Whilst the above tips are designed to help you configure your racking system, they are just a few of the details required in order to configure an entire warehouse storage solution.


We have not explored aisle widths, and the impact of Pallets and Loads on this, or tolerances for forklift trucks (for example certain materials handling equipment may require more than 100mm “clearance between the underside of beam and top of load or pallet”.)


We strongly suggest that if you require more than a few single entry bays of pallet racking, then you speak to a reputable storage solutions provider.


The tips above really are approaching the realms of expertise when it comes to racking systems. But if you can be aware of this information, it can help you to determine the feasibility of the project from the really early stages!



Ready? Get a quote for your pallet racking!

Simply complete our form below and provide as much information as you know - we'll contact you to discuss further and arrange for a quotation to be produced! 



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