In pallet racking, wire mesh decking is typically used as a safety device on beam levels located above pedestrian and forklift traffic. It is installed at these levels to stop pallets from falling through the beams if they are accidentally misplaced. These are generally located in tunnel bays, above shipping docks, and above emergency exits or doorways. Another use for wire mesh decking is on handpicking rack systems where lighter loads may be stored directly on the decking.
The load capacity of wire mesh decking varies but generally ranges between 1,500 lb and 3,000 lb. These values are calculated by the manufacturer and typically allow for some permanent deformation. The maximum applicable load depends on factors such as the shape and number of bars, their thickness, span, gauge, etc.
Pallet loads should be directly supported by both the front and back beams. When a pallet’s depth is less than the rack’s, the load will either be partially or entirely supported by the decking. This type of loading should be avoided as wire mesh decking is not typically designed to support pallet loads for a sustained period. We recommend ensuring that the pallets sit on both beams simultaneously with a 2" to 4" overhang over the front and back. For example, a 48" deep rack system should use pallets that are 52" to 56" deep to ensure the pallets are resting on and directly loading both front and back beams.
At Damotech, our load capacity reports evaluate the structural elements of the rack systems. Since wire mesh decking, plywood decking, and other types placed over the beams are typically designed as safety devices, their capacities are not evaluated in our assessments. If these devices are being used to permanently store loads, it is the owner’s responsibility to ensure the decking has sufficient capacity for what is stored. It is recommended to reach out to the original equipment manufacturer to determine this capacity if it is unknown.