Cantilever Rack: A Quick Overview

Cantilever racks are great for storing steel bars, lumber, and pipe. Long, heavy items are stored with ease. The main benefit of a cantilever rack is increased accessibility to loads. Forklifts can easily load and unload from rack arms and base. Another benefit of cantilever rack is that it is easy to add additional arms, uprights or braces as storage needs change. For more information on a cantilever rack system call Material Flow at 1-800-338-1382 for expert assistance. There are three main parts to a cantilever rack system.

Uprights are made up of a vertical column and a horizontal base that is bolted to the column. It requires at least two uprights to build a cantilever rack storage system. The edges of the vertical column are punched (sometimes on both sides) so they can be used as a double sided upright depending on the size of the base being used.

Cantilever arms are the most important piece to a cantilever rack system. Straight arms are generally used for storing stable loads such as lumber sheets. Inclined arms are used for goods that tend to roll forward such as pipe or tubing. Arms are adjustable up and down depending on storage requirements.

Braces are what hold a cantilever rack system together. Bracing for uprights is based on the height of the uprights being used. Proper bracing is important as it provides rack stability.

Designing a Cantilever Rack System

Knowing what you are going to store on you cantilever rack system is the most important factor in cantilever rack design .It is important to keep in mind the weight, length, depth and height of the product you are going to store.

Spacing and Arms
Deflection occurs when arms are overloaded. When deflection occurs arms can be bent and products dropped. An easy way to find deflection is to place a load over two wooden blocks. If there is no deflection a simple two arm cantilever system will work. If there is deflection a three or four arm system is needed.

Length of Arms
It is important to never exceed the length of a cantilever arm with a product. A 60″ wide sheet of wood requires a 60″long arm and so on. By loading materials properly you can get the most out of your cantilever rack. The guide below shows the correct and incorrect loading techniques.

Height of Uprights
Things like forklift reach, ceiling height and building codes all have an impact on the height limit of your cantilever systems height. Upright height often depends on the rack system being used. Call the experts from Material Flow at 1-800-338-1382 for more information on cantilever rack or pallet rack systems.

Arm and Upright Capacities
A simple formula for calculating required arm capacity is by determining the number of arms per level and dividing it into the weight per level. Determining the required capacity of each upright is accomplished by multiplying the number of arms per side by the load on each arm. In the image below each arm holds 2000 lbs. Total capacity for all twelve arms is 24,000 lbs. Divide this 24,000 lbs by three uprights and the required minimum capacity per upright is 8,000 lbs.

Arm Capacity Should Not Exceed Total Upright Capacity.

For professional assistance call Material Flow at 1-800-338-1382 or visit They have the largest supply of cantilever rack on the west coast, friendly customer service and years of experience in pallet rack system design.