Cantilever Shelves

By Camille Howe

Cantilever shelves enable you to store any awkwardly proportioned or exceptionally lengthy materials safely and conveniently. They are extremely beneficial when it comes to converting what you may perceive to be an unusable section of floor space into functional storage space. Cantilever shelving also helps maintain a safer, less cluttered work environment. You will no longer have use the floor to store things like sheet rock, metal sheets, or piping that can create trip hazards and present obstructions to people and vehicles. Another advantage you can obtain from cantilever shelves is the organizational power they can add to your process flow. With the appropriately sized cantilever racks, any number of products that normally defy categorization and easy access storage can be segregated and compartmentalized for inventory and retrieval on demand. The improvements that cantilever shelving will add to your organization will recover funds often lost by needless overtime hours and errors in inventory and stock selection. Although these returns on investment may appear at face value intangible and nebulous, they are absolutely real and will over the course of time pay for the equipment itself.

Cantilever shelves are different from traditional shelving systems and pallet racking systems. Rather than supporting a flat surface with a traditionally designed frame, cantilever shelves uses vertical uprights and adjustable arms that extend outward. Cantilever arms will either extend outward horizontally at a straight 90 degree angle to the upright, or they will angle slightly upward. Generally speaking, flat items like dry wall are stored on the horizontal arms, and longer, cylindrical materials are stored on arms that angle upward to act as a supportive cradle that prevents roll offs. Knowing which type of uprights and arms to use in your cantilever rack requires first determining exactly what you plan to use it for. It also requires some calculation of weight load and distribution which either simple math or a phone call to an material handling consultant can help you quickly determine.

Because uprights and arms are sold individually, most cantilever shelves are actually custom creations of our clients. There are preconfigured systems we have available that are designed for light and general storage needs. Details of these units can be obtained by clicking here, or by calling your material handling vendor.

If you are going to build your own custom shelving out of cantilever supports and arms, it is important to follow four general principles in determining exactly which items you will need to create a medium duty or heavy duty storage system for your warehouse or factory.


1. First, determine load capacitance by dividing the total amount of weight you will store by the number of arms you plan to order. You must procure enough arms to evenly divide individual proportions of the load that are equal to or less than the total weight capacitance of an individual cantilever shelving arm.

2. To determine the strength and number of uprights to order, again divide your total weight by the projected number of vertical support to ensure that the divided weight is equal to or less than the total capacity of the piece. Never allow the weight on a single cantilever arm to exceed the weight capacity of a vertical upright. To do so would put stress on the entire system.

3. Make certain too that the depth of the load never exceeds the length of the cantilever arm. If it does, the cantilever arms are pulled forward and the shelving unit can potentially tip forward.

4. Divide the total product length by the total number of arms, and then divide the product again by two. This will determine the total overhang of your equipment on either side of each arm. Without the proper degree of overhang, the arms will be stressed or the cantilever shelf will become horizontally imbalanced.

If you do not have time to do all these calculations, or simply do not working out math yourself, call us and let us do it for you. We specialize in building custom cantilever shelves for virtually any storage need including, but not limited to:

* Tubing and pipe storage

* Metal bar stock and rods * Appliances. * Rugs and rolls of fabric * Furniture * Merchandise in large boxes. * Lumber and wood products * TV’s, stereos and electronic components. * Poles * Aluminum Sheets * Wooden Crates * Plywood * Plumbing pipe cantilever shelves racks. * Dry wall * Metal Crates * Sheet Metal. * Fabricated long parts * Flake boards * Masonite sheets * Marble * Granite and other stone products

Organizing a warehouse or manufacturing facility is easy with cantilever shelves. They make your environment more efficient and more organized, and the also make it safer by presenting no vertical obstructions. We help our clients build cantilever shelving systems according to precise load size and weight, and we ensure the correct allowance for vertical clearance. We will also advise you on when it may be necessary to add guide rails and entrance guards to protect equipment and materials from damage. Ordering cantilever racks online is a simple, safe and secure procedure. Our internet staff of shelving associates will not ship an order until it meets all functional and safety requirements mandated by principles of excellence and industry regulations.

About the Author: Easy Rack. For more information on Cantilever Shelving and Cantilever Racking visit us online.


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