What is Cantilever racking? – Definition and Equipment guidelines
Cantilever is defined as “a beam anchored at one end only”. The load is held by the arm which transfers the load to the supporting upright beam/base.
Cantilever Rack Applications:
Cantilever racking is primarily used for storage of bulky, oversized, long loads such as timber, plasterboard, steel trusses & piping, PVC carpet.
Uprights – Uprights are the vertical beam that supports the arms.
Base – The uprights connect directly into the base most commonly bolted, providing the stability and support for the uprights to bear the load.
Arms – Racking arms are the horizontal beams that support the load when stored. They can be set at different angles depending on storage requirements.
Braces – Braces connect and support the uprights, creating strength and rigidity.
Cantilever racking can be arranged in either single or double sided racking, either back to back forming aisles or placed against a wall.
If you’re interested in configuration for cantilever racking visit SJF blog post on Advanced Guide to Cantilever Rack. This post offers some great technical information on cantilever racking.
Long Load Handling Equipment:
Counter-balance forklifts are the cheapest long load handling solution. They require wide racking aisles to handle long loads. They also require large wide designed warehousing doors to handle long loads from indoors to outdoors safely.
Although they are the lowest cost solution they have significant limitations in terms of safety, storage area & handling times.
Side Loader Forklifts:
Side Loader forklifts have been popular in the past for long load handling. They were the first forklift type designed specifically for long load handling.
They allow the operator to handle loads sideways, allowing for narrower aisles and greater storage space. Side Loaders also have holding platforms around the forks to stabilise loads and ensure safer long load handling.
Side Loader popularity has been declining due to the more advanced multi-directional forklift that has taken its place as the king of long load handling.
Multi-Directional Forklifts are able to drive in all directions, allow for improved storage space while also providing significant increases in handling times. The operator is able to manoeuvre long loads with greater precision and accuracy.
Below is a diagram of the difference between the manoeuvres of a multi-directional forklift vs. a side loader forklift.
The Combilift C series, designed by Robert Moffatt & Martin McVicar, is the world’s first multi-directional forklift.
The Combilift C series forklift has won multiple awards for design and reliability.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Cantilever Racking:
When it comes to storage for long loads it often comes down to only two options: floor stacking or cantilever racking. With floor stacking capital investment is lower but efficiency and actual storage capacity is also very low.
Cantilever racking requires considerable investment in capital and planning but can dramatically improve warehouse productivity and handling times while increasing storage capacity dramatically.
What are the advantages of cantilever racking?
- Relativity easy to install and reconfigure.
- Is able to store any type of load from pallets to timber.
- Ideal for long loads, reducing handling times and improving productivity as stock is more accessible.
- Additional arms can be added allowing for storage of all shapes and sizes.
- Can store products vertically up to 6 metres high.
What are the disadvantages of cantilever racking?
- Cost of capital investment to install and design the racking
- Need an aisle space in between every rack
- Inefficient when storing pallets
Remember to talk to your forklift provider before purchasing racking. Racking layout design should always consider forklift requirements first and not as an afterthought. Labour costs are normally a larger expense than warehousing space and storage cost in the long run. Choose equipment and layout that is designed for productivity not just maximum storage.