This month a question on the number of beams that can be fitted to a specific bay configuration and then we look at, how best to estimate the weight of a pallet when no scales are available.

How many beams can be fittted per bay?

Q. We will be installing 4 runs of pallet racking of 15, 16, 17, 17 bays at 3 metres high x 900mm deep x 2700mm wide and the customer want only one pair of beams per bay at 1.8 metres. All frames will be bolted at front and back. We have advised minimum 2 pairs per bay to be fitted for stability purposes.

To keep costs to a minimum can we:

fit 2 pairs in every other bay?

fit 1.5 pairs per bay?

A. We would first suggest you approach your rack supplier and ask if he is able to provide some load carrying data specific to this particular situation.  Most rack manufacturers do not like to provide ‘goal post’ racking, as it is known, however some are prepared in certain circumstances to allow this though with loads much reduced over normal standards. By the sound of it this solution would be the best option for your operational needs.

The option of fitting two pairs of beams every other bay should normally be sufficient to stabilise the racking and meet the normal design requirements.  However, fitting 1.5 pairs in every bay would not do this. Again we would suggest you talk to the racking manufacturer on this aspect as different designers will deal with the situation in different ways.

Estimating the Weight of Pallet Loads

Q. Can you please give me guidance on whether there is a system that can be applied to estimate the weight of loads which are going to be placed on S W L signed racks?

There can be instances where it is not on the container or delivery notes and no scales are available.

Is there a cubic measure conversion, etc?

A. We agree that sometimes it can be a problem to confirm the load of a pallet.  Obviously, it is important that any pallet with an unknown weight which could exceed the weight allowance for the racking should not be placed on the racking.

There are a number of ways the weight of a pallet can be established including:

Information from the transport company: If they are transporting the pallet load they should be able to confirm the maximum pallet weight as under the road traffic act they have to ensure that their vehicles are not overloaded.

Weight of individual boxes on the pallets: The boxes on a pallet will often have their individual loads on and these can be added to the weight of the pallet to calculate the overall load.

Alternatively you may be able to weigh one of the units on the pallet.  Care must be taken to ensure that the sample weighed is representative and does not lead to an under- estimation of the overall load.

If the pallet consists of a material with a known load per cubic metre, then this can be used to calculate the pallet load. However the weight of loads does vary considerably- for example wood can vary from 500kgs to 1300kgs per cubic metre depending upon wood type and moisture content.

SEMA Technical Enquiries

We hope you find the above articles, and those in previous editions, interesting. If you have a query send it to us by fax or email and we will do our best to have it answered by one of our technical experts.

SEMA Rack Safety Awareness and Inspection Courses

SEMA runs a one-day safety course on Rack Safety Awareness and Inspection. These courses are aimed at end users, giving an in-depth look at the need for inspections, how to conduct an assessment and what actions to take when this is completed. These courses are normally held at the SEMA headquarters but arrangements can be made to hold them at the delegates’ premises.

SEMA Approved Rack Inspectors Qualification

This qualification is aimed at professionals who conduct rack surveys as an integral and significant part of their duties. It involves delegates in undertaking an in-depth SEMA Course, together with an examination and practical assessment. CPD will be an important part of the qualification, demonstrating to end users that SEMA Approved Inspectors maintain a high professional standard.

SEMA Publications

SEMA publishes a number of documents including Codes of Practice, ‘Guides’ and European documents – all of which are available from our Office. For further information on these documents contact SEMA or visit our website, and click on ‘Codes of Practice’.


SEMA runs a USERS Club designed to be of benefit to purchasers and users of storage equipment. Members receive newsletters, access to specialised events and discounted rates on publications and codes of practice. For further information contact SEMA.

SEMA is delighted to be working with WLN on the storage Question and Answer Column which is published in WLN on a monthly basis. On the WLN website is a list of previously published columns which we hope you find useful.

Please note that SEMA Users Club members also have access to a comprehensive range of additional storage related questions and answers.


Comments are closed.

Get Warehouse & Logistics News delivered to your inbox for FREE
Join over 45k subscribers