What’s a Cantilever Rack?

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Cantilever racks are storage systems with individual shelves supported by a single beam, allowing for the storage of wider loads without vertical or oblique bracing. They can be free-standing or bolted to a wall, and are commonly used for lumber, pipe, and steel stock. They are easy to assemble and affordable, with modular designs for expansion.

A cantilever rack is a storage system that employs a cantilevered support arrangement for its individual racks or shelves. A cantilever system is one in which a supporting beam is supported only at one end with no other external bracing. Cantilever racking systems have individual rack supports attached at one end to vertical members using slots and tags or bolted devices. No other oblique or vertical supports are involved allowing the racks to easily accommodate materials longer than the span of the rack. Cantilever racking can be constructed as single or double sided units and can be easily combined as modular assemblies.

Cantilever construction has been used for centuries in architecture and construction due to the aesthetic and practical possibilities offered by the absence of spars, lintels and other supports. This type of structure is extremely strong even if it seems a little fragile and can bear considerable weight. Loads on the horizontal support are carried to the contact point of the vertical support where they are distributed and resisted by a combination of moment and shear forces.

In the field of material handling equipment, the cantilever racking system offers several distinct advantages over other shelving and racking arrangements. Due to the absence of vertical or oblique bracing, a cantilever rack can be used to store loads much wider than its own span. Loading and unloading can also be done from the front of the rack using equipment such as pallet trucks and forklifts. This makes the cantilevered shelf arrangement an obvious choice for structures that store lumber, pipe, steel stock, and planks.

These rack systems can be installed as a free-standing structure or bolted to a suitable wall. In free-standing applications, these racks can be used in a single-sided or double-sided configuration with back-to-back shelves. Cantilever shelving systems allow users to maximize available floor space and are available in different sizes and load capacities to meet a wide variety of storage needs. Due to their simplicity, they are also among the most affordable of all rack types.

An added benefit of these storage solutions is their speed and ease of assembly. Many smaller cantilever shelving systems use a slot and tag assembly method which consists of a tag on the horizontal post locking into a matching slot on the vertical member. This allows for quick and easy installation and simplifies storage of the racks themselves if they are no longer needed. Larger systems typically use bolted horizontal beams but remain simple and quick to build. Cantilever units are also often modular in design allowing multiple units to be bolted together to extend an existing system.

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