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Selective Rack Identification

There are a number of pictorial guides to identification of different types of racking out on the Internet -- Links to a number of them can be found below.  There are a couple of reasons that you might want to look at several different sites in trying to identify your racking.  First, not every one of these identifiers has all of the rack brands; second, some of them may have incorrect or incomplete information for you to positively identify each brand.  To give you an example, Camara Industries and Rack Express both identify Interlake U-punch uprights as "New Style Teardrop" uprights.  This information is not helpful in identifying the brand of racking in this instance -- that is not to say that they don't have some other good info on those pages, you just have to dig a little deeper sometimes.  Note that there are other identifiers on the web, but if there were major errors that I could identify on the page, I omitted it.

1Stop Rack Services (not great pictures)

AK Material Handling Systems (this also has a discussion of different types of decking and some terminology)

Always Equipment (not great pictures, but there are some less-common rack brands)

Beaton Industrial (the pictures are pretty good)

Bristol Storage (most are brands that are commonly found in Europe, I have seen some in the US and Canada)

Camara Industries (this has quite a few types of racks and most of the pictures are big enough to see)

DAK Equipment & Engineering (they have a YouTube channel with illustrations of different types of racks)

Material Handling Exchange (drawings of several different styles on this page)

Rack Express (most of the pictures are pretty small, but they have some obscure brands)

Shelving Inc. (decent-sized pictures along with some explanations and info about each type of rack)

SJF (someone spent a lot of time on the drawings and there is background info if you click to view the entire article)

Snyder Equipment (all pretty common brands, but the pictures and details are good)

Storage Solutions* (identification documents at the bottom of the page have good details on different tear drop beams)

WarehouseRack.com (the drawings on this page are nice because you can easily see the hole pattern)

Wholesale Pallet Rack Products (several different styles)

* In the interest of full disclosure, I will tell you that I have purchased quite a bit of racking from Storage Solutions.  I want to be as objective as possible and let you know that I have never bought anything from the other outfits listed here, so I cannot say whether or not they are any good.  I do, however, know that the guys at Storage Solutions do a good job if you are looking for some rack.

Other Notes on Identifying and Assembling Rack

If you can't find the type of rack that you have on one of the identifiers listed above, you probably aren't going to find anything else about it anywhere else either.  You also likely won't be able to find parts to replace or expand any of that rack, so you should probably plan on starting over with another type of rack.

Once you have identified the type of rack that you have, you should check out the the rack capacity page to help you figure out how much load your rack can support if you don't already have that information.  It is my experience that the part that requires the most time is identifying all of your rack.  As is alluded to on some of the linked pages above, there are a number of different manufacturers that build components that will (or at least are intended to) work together.  If you are looking for exact replacements for the brand that you have or to determine the exact capacity of those existing components, you may need to spend some additional time investigating.  

By far the most common style of components are tear drop style beams and uprights.  Many different manufacturers make tear drop uprights and beams, but they may not all build the components out of the same materials.  They may make components that are nearly identical, but some are made of thicker or thinner gauge metal, which makes a big difference in the load that those components can support.  In reality you need to be able to measure the thickness of the metal to be able to determine the gauge of metal with which you are dealing; this can be done relatively easily on an upright that is not fully boxed, but it is very difficult to do on a beam in most cases.  The fact is that people are driven largely by price in making decisions about buying new materials, so it is not uncommon to have rack that is a mix of different brands.

Adding to the difficulty in identifying your rack is the fact that many manufacturers do not stamp their names on the components they build.    Most of what I would consider to be major manufacturers of racking do put their names on theirs, but some of the others intentionally leave off identifying information to ensure that when someone sells you their rack, that you don't know that you are getting a brand that is not necessarily the "brand name."  If you were to take a look at components from Interlake, Mecalux (those are the same company), Republic, or Ridg-U-Rak they all have their names stamped on them.  They have identifiers on the uprights as well that indicate the model of the uprights as well; you can clearly see an "101" on a Mecalux U101 (here's a Mecalux U77) upright, or a "75" on an Interlake 075 upright indicating that those two are both constructed from 13 gauge steel and telling you from which table you should choose to determine the capacity of those components.  

It can occasionally be a challenge to install a different brand of beams into existing racking due to slight differences in length measurements -- as you can imagine, even slight differences in length can cause you issues if you are attempting to add another beam level to existing rack.  Even worse, there was a time that I purchased a good bit of used Ridg-U-Rak racking with 96" beams.  As the crew was installing the racks, as per the plan, they noticed that some of the allegedly 96" beams required 96 3/8" between uprights (pic here).  After 2000, Ridg-U-Rak changed the points at which they measure the beam lengths from the inside of the flange that rests against the upright to the outside -- measuring outside to outside is the way pretty much everyone else does it (they have a flyer that mentions this here).  The width of those two flanges resulted in an additional 3/8" between the uprights which meant that you couldn't mix the old and new beams in the same bay.  In the end, we stood rack with the longer beams on one side of the building and there was little practical difference, but if you didn't plan for it then there could be significant issues.  The installers knew of this issue from past installations, but were unaware that they had a mixed batch because the difference was not easily perceived.

One other note about putting together racking is that there are different brands of racking that you can put together, but you really shouldn’t. This is not at all uncommon, but obviously you should make sure that only compatible styles are used together. You should ensure that all safety clips or pins or bolts fit into place when assembling the rack and that they are fully engaged. If the spacing of the holes in the uprights are the same between two types of rack, you can guarantee that someone is going to try to put them together are some point, whether they should or not, so make sure that you understand the compatibility of the racking components you have. 


The sites to which have been linked here contain information that may contain errors or misrepresentations, and Dan Bartlett Engineering LLC cannot take any responsibility for issues, damage, injuries, or any other negative consequences that occur as a result, either directly or indirectly, from the application of the information found on pages linked from here.  No information found on this or on any other page to which there is a link here can be used as a substitute for analysis of a pallet racking system by a professional engineer, licensed in the applicable jurisdiction.  If such an analysis is desired, the reader is encouraged to contact a licensed engineer or the manufacturer of the pallet racking in question to ensure that racking is safe and appropriately designed and installed.