forklift manuals

Pallet Rack: Structural vs Roll Form

Written by adammaxfield on June 13, 2011 – 8:00 am - (4938 views)

Empty Rolled Formed Roll Form Pallet Shelving

This article describes the pros and cons of the various types of warehouse racking.

Which is better Structural or Roll Formed racking?

Roll Form Rack Vs Structural Rack

Pallet shelving is most commonly called rack (for the warehouse) and there are 2 types: Roll Form and Structural steel.

Definition: Rack manufacturers will commonly use the words cold rolled (roll form rack) or hot rolled (structural steel).

Roll Formed Rack

Roll form rack starts as a coil of steel.  While it is flat, the steel is processed through a punch that punches the holes which will later be used to attach the beams.  After the steel has been punched the steel is sent through rollers which shape the steel and give it the shape it requires for strength.

Types of Roll Form Pallet Rack

Connections – Roll form rack is connected in a couple of ways.  Some manufacturers use a bolt system while others weld the components to build the pallet rack.

Paint – Most rack manufactures powder coat the beams and uprights.  Powder coating is a great benefit because it will look nice much longer.  A few manufactures dip their uprights and beams in paint.  Dipping lowers the initial cost but the paint will rust and wear off much faster, this will lose the new look after a short time.

Pros and Cons


• Lightweight and easy to move and install
• Uses less steel which greatly reduces the price
• Many configurations available (single selective, double deep, push back, pallet flow, etc.)
• Even though roll form is light it’s able to reach great heights
• Replacing beams is very simple
• Many colors and styles available


• Any damage requires immediate replacement
• Just as a soda can will hold a child until someone pokes the side of the can, roll form rack is strong because of its shape, once the shape has been compromised the bay must be unloaded the upright or beam must be replaced.
• Easily damaged without upright protectors
• Unloading, replacing a piece of a rack system can be a lengthy process and use many man hours.
• Many pallet rack manufactures commonly say, “pay me know or pay me later”, roll form cost much less but will require more maintenance than structural steel.

Video of Forklift Impacting Roll Form Drive-in Pallet Rack



Structural Steel Pallet Rack

Structural steel storage racks are made from hot steel which is rolled to make I beams and C channels.  Structural steel is one of the strongest building materials known.

Types of Structural Steel

Connections – Structural rack is first welded together but the beams are most commonly connected with bolts.
Paint – Structural steel is most commonly dipped when painted but a few manufactures provide a higher level of quality and powder coat the components to ensure that the paint will endure abuse.

Pros and Cons of Structural Steel Rack


• Structural steel can handle abuse and will still retain 90% of its load bearing capacity
• Upright protectors are not commonly needed when using structural steel
• Many configurations available (single selective, double deep, push back, pallet flow, etc.)
• Replacing beams is relatively simple
• Structural steel can be repaired and will not always need to be replaced
• Components can be smaller with larger capacities than roll form which can equal more pallet positions
• Usually the tallest racking systems use structural steel rack


• On average structural rack costs about 15% more than roll form rack
• Heavy and harder to work with than roll form
• Slightly costs more to install

To see different types of pallet rack profiles and connections:

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Design Pallet Racking, Pallet Rack, Pallet Racking and Shelving, Prevent Damage, Prevent Damage in the Warehouse, Rack & Storage Media, Storage, Structural Racking, Video | Comments Off on Pallet Rack: Structural vs Roll Form

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.