Floor Loading Calculations Make Better Racking Decisions

Every warehouse floor has a limitation of maximum pounds per square foot. Sadly, too often that maximum floor loading is exceeded causing warehouse floors to crumble. It is an expensive repair proposition.

A floor loading assessment is the evaluation of the concrete subfloor, not the raised floor. The weight of the raised floor, however, is considered in the floor loading formula. 

Floor Loading is: (machine weight + (15 lb/ft2 x 0.5 svc clear) + (10 lb/ft2 x total area)/ total area

The floor loading should not exceed 240 kg/m2 (50 lb/ft2) with a partition allowance of 100 kg/m2 (20 lb/ft2) for a total floor load rating of 340 kg/m2 (70 lb/ft2).

When implementing an industrial equipment platform (mezzanine) many inexperienced vendors are focused on selling equipment without ensuring warehouse owners are not overloading the building floor. Too much weight causes the floor to crack or create dangerous OSHA violations, even employee injury or death. Experienced materials handling experts, like HOJ Innovations, have seen disasters when the floor is improperly built; when the weight of both the platform and its load is not considered.

The typical floor is often made of half-foot thick concrete and has a capacity of 25,000 pounds. When loading a floor with tons of equipment, the actual capacity per square foot must be known in advance. No distribution center or warehouse should be allowed to install a mezzanine or other heavy equipment, without knowing the exact floor and ground specifications of the facility.

Floor capacity depends on the thickness of the concrete as well as the compression rate of the soil underneath the slab. Knowing the load rating of the platform and the column spacing of the platform are two critical metrics. The interior columns of the platform will always bear the most weight since they support most of square footage of the platform. If the slab can support interior column loads, then the exterior columns should be sufficiently strong.

In warehouses and distribution centers the ground-floor slab is critical to the effective functioning of the facility, but there remains considerable misunderstanding concerning the specification, design, and construction. Specifications are still often too onerous for appropriate cost-effective construction, or too vague, with conflicting requirements, resulting in unsatisfactory floor performance.

Although construction quality has shown some improvement in recent years with the advent of new techniques and materials, the floor is often still considered to be part of the groundworks. Those constructing the floor are in a notoriously low-skilled, highly competitive sector of the industry.. The new techniques themselves have resulted in some difficulties, with poor planning, and lack of understanding of concrete characteristics.

Before capturing an accurate pallet rack capacity, a consideration of the flooring always begins the conversation. Consulting with a qualified engineering team is essential to making the right design and material handling choices.

Tube Racking vs. Conventional Racking

One recent solution that is solving a number of material handling challenges is the Tube Rack system. This approach provides a stronger, safer, and smarter alternative to conventional racking systems. It’s an engineering improvement that results in as much as 50 percent reduction in uplift on the footplate to slab calculation. This significantly lessens slab uplift design requirements in all facilities, including public installations. Tube Racking can be used for all storage solutions such as AS/RS systems.