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Understanding the Damage Tolerances of Pallet Racking



SEMA provides classifications to help you visually inspect damage components, and classify the severity of damage and how immediately its repair is required. These classifications utilise SEMA, FEM, and EN15635 standards and tolerances. There are different tolerance levels for every piece of racking equipment, and the manner in which it has been damaged. This information will help you understand what these tolerances are, and how the damage will affect your warehouse operation. Classifications range between green, amber, and red, based on the damage tolerance of each piece of equipment.


The classification chart below will help you understand how damage tolerances work in action.


Damage tolerances for uprights and bracing:


Damage tolerances should be measured over one metre using a straight edge, and these rules apply to any part of the component that has resulted in a bend of the manufactured form. If uprights or bracing are torn or split, it must be treated immediately as a red classification and offloaded and repaired.


If an upright has undergone left to right impact, the maximum gap between the upright’s dent and its original location in the direction of the beams is +/- 5.0mm. As depicted below.




If an upright has undergone front to back impact, the maximum gap between the upright’s dent and its original location in the direction of the bracing, is +/- 3.0mm. As depicted below.




If bracing has been impacted by damage, the maximum gap created by its dent in any direction is +/- 10.0mm. As depicted below.




Damage tolerances for beams:


Beams will deflect under loading. Beam deflection is caused by overloading or incorrectly positioned loads, and results in a visible dipping or sagging of the beam at its mid point.


The maximum permissible beam deflection is ‘length of the beam / 200’.


Residual vertical deformation should not exceed ‘length of the beam / 1000’ with the beam unloaded.


Residual lateral deformation in the crossaisle direction should not exceed ‘length of the beam / 500’ with the beam unloaded.


As depicted below.


Damage tolerances for baseplates:


If any part of the upright twists over its baseplate, or the baseplate no longer sits squarely on its shims it is at minimum an amber damage classification.


The upright or baseplate must not twist out in any direction at more than 10% of the width of the upright.


Here at DC Space and Storage Solutions, we are Altius Assured, Safe Contractor Approved, a SEMA Approved Installation Company and a SEMA Approved Distributor, and have 3 ISO Accreditations (ISO 14001, ISO 45001 & ISO 9001), meaning you can rest assured that by choosing to work with DC you are putting safety at your core and working to the highest industry standards. We offer SARI racking inspection, and training courses, to make sure your racking is not overly damaged, and you are able to understand damage tolerances.




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