Does Your Wire Deck Do The Work?
Liabilities May Be Yours Unless You Quote Correctly!


Gunner Pendleberry
Regional Sales Manager


Most of the folks that know me know what I sell: wire mesh decking for pallet rack systems. Wire decks have become part of the warehouse storage equation as much as uprights and beams. But what a lot of people who sell decks are missing is the definition of what a wire deck does exactly. A deck does two things: (1) it fits the rack upon which it is installed and (2) it carries the load at which it has been rated. Since the first function is obvious to even the least informed among us, it is the second function that I want to discuss further.


When it comes to the load capacity of a wire deck, there should be no mystery. However, depending on how the capacity of the deck is defined on a quote could mean the difference in a well-placed solution and a failure. And the number one discrepancy when reviewing a deck capacity is how the “uniformly distributed load” (UDL) is defined by the manufacturer. If you Google “uniformly distributed load” you will see a multitude of different definitions from many sources. But when it comes to wire mesh decks, the true UDL is defined by the ANSI MH26.2 standard as stated in their work with R-Mark. Where a wire deck is concerned, it should do some work. As defined by ANSI 26.2, UDL is “Any static load which is evenly distributed over the entire surface on the rack deck independent of the support system.” While this is a bit of a “perfect world” scenario, we interpret this to mean the load needs to rest over all the support channels and the majority of the deck surface and come within 2” of the front and rear load beams. A common misconception in our industry is that the load must be resting over one of more of the beams to achieve the full capacity rating of the deck. This is not true of an ANSI rated deck! Under ANSI a deck is designed and rated to bear 100% of the load “independent of the support system.” In other words not relying on the rack beams at all.  For example: A 38” deep pallet can rest centered on a 42” deep deck, with a width that will cover all the deck channels, and that deck should be rated to hold the load. This is a true UDL for wire decks. If you are quoting a deck capacity that requires the pallet to be resting on the load beams, are you really quoting a deck capacity? And if indeed you are quoting a deck that requires the load to be on the beams, are you conveying that to your customer at time of quote? A deck that is under-designed and won’t do work has potential for issues. And if a deck being used in true UDL situation is not rated for such, and that info has not been clearly disclosed during the quote process, who do you think is liable if the deck fails? I think you know.


The moral of the story is this… If you are selling wire mesh decks that require some part of the load to be on the beams at all times, then why are you selling wire decks that need to have a specific load rating at all? Perception is reality, and if a customer sees a deck rated for X, what are their expectations for loading? Situations like this are more common than you may think. The opportunity to educate the customer and become their “deck expert” adds more value to your offering. Decks are more than a commodity, and when treated as such can become a profitable part of your full warehouse rack proposal.


Be aware, be safe, and always pay close attention to how the manufacturer defines load capacity (pay attention to the fine print!). Make sure you understand it yourself and make sure, no matter what it is, that you communicate it clearly to your customer when you are quoting. Protect yourself and your company. And most importantly, protect the people that will make a living loading and unloading the rack.


Questions for Gunner? or 502-682-5946