Furniture cantilever rack in warehouse

Cantilever Rack

Storing products often presents challenges. The most common of these challenges is weight. Can a rack safely support the load? The answer in most cases is yes when one understands load requirements. But what if the challenge isn’t necessarily weight? For example, do you store bulky, long, or oversized loads?

Most rack options easily accommodate items if the load is a standard size. But not all products meet that criterion. A piece of furniture such as a sofa wouldn’t fit in a bay designed for a 40” x 48” pallet. Nor would a 4’ x 8’ sheet of gypsum, lumber, pipes and similar items.

Cantilever racks may be the right solution. Cantilever racks bear little resemblance to other rack products. The rack consists of a base, bolted to a vertical beam, with horizontal arms attached to hold the product. At first glance, you may think this type of rack isn’t suited for storing heavy products. However, rack variations start with extra light versions and increase, accommodating load capacities of 20,000 lbs. per arm.

The arm is the key element of cantilever racks.

There are two basic arm types for use with cantilever racks:

  • Straight arms, used for “flat” items including sheets, lumber and items needing to maintain a consistent surface, tend to have a slight pitch upward.
  • Inclined arms generally store pipe, tubing or any item with a tube-shaped profile. These arms also have an upward pitch, often more pronounced to keep products in place

Deflection is a concern with cantilever racks. Products require adequate arm support to prevent sagging (deflection). Therefore, it is important to determine the product and length before placing on the rack.

Flexibility is a key benefit for this type of rack as you can easily configure it to meet changing needs. Its open design allows for easy access by forklifts to products that can be challenging to handle. The rack does not obstruct the view, as often is the case with pallet racks, creating fewer issues with clearance. This allows workers to locate and retrieve product faster. The result is a saving of time and money. Another time/money saver is adding decking to the rack. Decking, typically wood, wire or steel, allows for storage of multiple sized products.

These racks are available in multiple sizes from six-foot lengths to those in excess of 30 feet. Arm lengths also vary (up to six feet), accommodating many product dimensions. Rack configurations include one- and two-side racks, allowing for a higher product density.

These racks generally do not work with pallets.

Typical applications include:

  •  Furniture
  • Carpeting
  • Construction products
    • Sheetrock
    • Trusses
    • Pipe
    • Lumber

Cantilever rack does have disadvantages. As mentioned, the rack is not conducive to pallet storage. It requires more space as an aisle is needed between every rack. Finally, there is the cost consideration. Designing and installing cantilever rack can be costly.


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