What are Pallet Rack Row Spacers?

With WPRP University, our goal is to help you by getting back to the basics. We’ve found that, a lot of the time, delivering value to your customer lies in being knowledgeable about the foundational parts of warehouse storage. It’s impossible to become a true expert without first having a firm grasp of things like how to measure frame depth, calculating height-to-depth ratio, and, as we’ll cover in this article, the “when,” “how” and “why” of using pallet rack row spacers.

Even though the products, methods and ideas we discuss in WPRP University are simple and straightforward, there are often deeper reasons for using them that are worth learning about in order to better understand that product and its function.

What is a Row Spacer?

Row spacers are aptly named because their primary function is to keep a consistent horizontal distance between two rows of pallet racking. Row spacers come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors, depending on who the manufacturer is. At WPRP, we stock a galvanized-finish row spacer, but they can be found in orange, green, yellow, and practically any other color. The flat part in the middle of the row spacer is what is usually being referred to when referencing its length. Many row spacers have flanges that are screwed into the sides of the upright frames, and so this part of the row spacer can’t be included in the actual space between space between rows. See the image below for an example.

pallet rack row spacers

An example of a Ridg-U-Rak pallet rack row spacer. This particular model is compatible with both teardrop and slotted pallet rack.

While pallet rack row spacers are found on the market in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, all of them share a common reason for existing: maintaining a certain amount of space between rows of pallet racking. But why would this be important to begin with? As it turns out, there are a few reasons why row spacers are more important than many of us realize.

Why would You Need Row Spacers?

Does every pallet rack application call for pallet rack row spacers? The short answer is “no.” An obvious example of an application without a need for row spacers is one with a single row of pallet rack. An job like this might require wall ties, but not row spacers, since there’s only one row to begin with. Shorter racking systems that are bolted to the floor may also not call for row spacers, since there’s less of an opportunity for the uprights to move. And although there are a lot of jobs in which row spacers would be unnecessary, there are also many warehouse storage applications out there that would benefit greatly from having them. There are a few main reasons why:

1. Row Spacers help keep longitudinal flue spaces clear.

If you or your client owns or operates a warehouse, odds are you want to be code compliant. Not only does being code compliant generally improve the overall safety of the workplace, but it’s the best way to avoid being stung by a violation fine. By keeping pallet rack rows a minimum distance apart from one another, row spacers eliminate the need to worry about longitudinal flue spaces. Note: Be sure to install row spacers that are long enough. If codes mandate 6” longitudinal flue spaces, a 6” row spacer isn’t likely to cut it, because the 3” of pallet overhang on each side will fully eclipse the 6”, leaving your flue space at roughly 0”.

Longitudinal flue space

Longitudinal flue space

2. Row spacers can effectively double the depth of the uprights.

We’ve discussed the importance of having a safe height-to-depth ratio. ANSI/RMI recommends normal anchoring for racks with a height-to-depth ratio of 6 to 1 or less. If higher than that, anchoring that resists at least 350# of force at the top level is required. However, row spacers can also be used to connect two rows of racking that would otherwise have height-to-depth ratios over 6 to 1, effectively lowering their height-to-depth ratio and stabilizing the system.

pallet rack row spacers

Formula to calculate pallet rack height-to-depth ratio

3. Row spacers keep pallet rack rows aligned.

If it’s particularly important to keep a consistent space between back-to-back rows of pallet racking in a warehouse, row spacers are often the easiest and most cost effective way of doing it. By adding one or two row spacers per upright column, it’s possible to keep both rows plumb throughout the distance of the racking system.

Where to Find Pallet Rack Row Spacers

If you find yourself or your customer in need of pallet rack row spacers, you won’t have to look far. The often-overlooked pallet rack row spacer is still an important facet of warehouses around the globe, and it’s common to find it in the inventory of material handling equipment distributors. That’s why we stock it as part of our 48 Hour Quick Ship program, and why we encourage our customers to keep row spacers in mind. You never know when your customer will need a cost effective way to meet safety codes, improve the stability of their racking, or just keep everything in line.

If you’d like to learn more about row spacers, please give us a call or send us an email and ask away.

Remember, our goal is to help you!