Pallet Rack Wire Decking Solutions Designed with the Load in Mind

  • Cookie cutter approach to wire pallet decking not recommended
  • Decking design based on application requirements

When IKEA announced several years ago that it would be installing pallet rack wire decking throughout its global system to support the use of lightweight corrugated pallets, the move caused a stir in the retail distribution world. IKEA’s move to corrugated pallets gave logistics professionals pause to consider that a lighter duty pallet just might get the job done in a pallet racking environment if the necessary wire shelving was installed.

There is an element of logic to suggesting that it might better sense to invest in an enhanced storage system rather than repeatedly spending more for a premium pallet required in a free span rack environment. Is it not all that different in theory from the transformation of the wood box to the corrugated container almost a century ago. With the advent of palletized handling and storage systems, robust wood boxes could largely be replaced by much cheaper corrugated containers that could meet the requirements of a less demanding handling environment.

The interplay between pallets and wire mesh decking has been receiving closer scrutiny as attempts are being made to introduce less expensive pallets in domains that typically had previously had required pallets which offered the necessary performance in open rack applications.

Aside from the total weight of the load resting on the decking, mesh suppliers emphasize the importance of considering the weight distribution. A pallet with bottom runners or with nine feet may require a more robust deck than a wood rental pallet with 55% bottom deck board coverage.

“The plastic pallet is a perfect example of an application we get asked about almost on a daily basis,” stated Tyler Leintz, Director of Sales at ITC Manufacturing. “Because there are nine bottom feet on that pallet, the load is not distributed uniformly across the wire deck. We have to change several things.” Because ITC is fully automated, the company’s engineering team can design the decking to meet user needs. Thicker wire, different grid spacing and additional channels can be utilized to make a heavier deck, if required.

ITC Manufacturing offers fully custom solutions for racking manufacturers and end-users to ensure a streamlined warehousing process. “ITC’s core principle is to deliver exactly what is needed to solve a problem in the warehouse environment.  We work with our customers face-to-face to fully understand the end-user’s application and how the rack system will be utilized,” said Leintz. “From there, ITC’s team of designers engineer a solution based on the application and overall needs of the customer to deliver a solution that solves a problem and enables the end-user to maximize their investment.”

Further to the plastic pallet example above, the fact is that not all solutions are best suited to a standard wire rack. A few examples of loads that require additional engineering that ITC has found solutions for include:

  • Line Load
  • Point Load
  • Concentrated Load/Flared Channels

When a customer approaches ITC on a project, Leintz said the company devotes a great amount of time gathering information and conducting site visits if necessary, to determine exactly what will be stored in the racking system and what the need entails to ensure the best solution.  And sometimes, custom wire decking solutions can be cheaper than buying “cookie cutter” mesh. He cited the apparel and e-commerce sectors as ones that may have very modest load bearing requirements. “We can create a product that meets their needs, and that can reduce the amount of steel and the cost, because we only need to hold 500 lbs,” he said.  

Benefits of Pallet Rack Wire Decking

  • Reduces the risk of falling products or materials
  • Prevents the fall of poorly positioned pallets
  • Allows the use of lighter duty pallets (such as IKEA’s corrugated pallets) or non-conforming loads that might not otherwise fit in pallet racks
  • Improves sprinkler efficiency in a fire as opposed to solid plywood or particle board decks, or by preventing burning pallets from falling to the floor in an open pallet rack system
  • Provides inventory visibility
  • Easy to install
  • Galvanized material resists rust and corrosion
  • Eliminates the issues associated with wood safety boards such as shifting, falling and the gathering of debris and dust
  • Does not allow dust to gather