Rack Codes & StandardsRack Design & Installation

Understanding End Caps: Why They Might Be Used On Cantilevered Rack Arms And Bases

Whether they’re constructed from roll-formed steel or structural steel, cantilevered storage rack incorporates central, vertical columns from which horizontal arms project perpendicularly on one or both sides. Because the ends of the arms and bases are exposed, an optional steel end cap can be welded on to the aisle facing end of those components. End caps are typically sized to match the exact height and width of the exposed end of each base or arm to avoid creating a catch point that might snag a load as it is moved into or out of the racking.

Adding these end caps does not increase the structural strength of the cantilevered racking, however, they do protect the exposed flanges of structural steel or roll-formed C-channel steel from a potential impact by the forks of a lift truck as an operator places or removes a load from the rack. At the base, end caps also prevent the tip of a fork from being caught on a flange, causing the flange to bend up if the forklift operator does not notice and raises the forks. The potential also exists for the forklift to lift the base up from its anchors in the floor, which would likewise cause the column to be lifted and result in significant damage to the rack structure.

As an additional benefit, adding end caps to the bases and arms of cantilevered storage rack provides a flat surface upon which labels can be placed. This may be particularly helpful as a means to give forklift operators a visual way to identify the proper storage location for individual loads if a system has been designed to hold different products in specific bays of the system.

Finally, some cantilevered storage rack owners specify the addition of end caps to bases and arms because of the aesthetics. They simply prefer how the completed system looks with covered ends facing the aisle.

Want to learn more about the safe design, manufacture, and installation of cantilevered rack systems? Download RMI’s ANSI MH16.3 Specification for the Design, Testing and Utilization of Industrial Steel Cantilevered Storage Racks.