Protection Solutions for Seismic Base Plates

Have you ever struggled with a solution to protect your pallet racking because the footplates are wider than the upright? Most pallet rack uprights are 3’’ x 3’’ columns with a base plate that is set inside the upright. The most standard solution for this is to put a 12’’ high post protector in front of the upright. The inside opening is usually 4-4.5’’ wide so that it wraps around the sides of the upright. (insert image or link)

What happens if the footplate is wider than the upright? In some geographic areas the probability that an earthquake can occur is higher than others. If the probability is high enough, that area is considered seismic. The most common seismic areas in the United States are on the West Coast. In these areas, the rule for pallet racking is to have a “seismic” base plate to add extra stability. The most common seismic base plate is a 5’’ deep x 8’’ wide base plate. Since the base plate is 8’’ wide a standard post protector will not fit around it. Here are a few options on how to protect it.

  1. Wider Post Protectors – Although not as common, post protectors are made wider with up to an 8.5’’ opening. They are made for these types of base plates. The benefit of this solution is that it covers all 3 sides of the upright that have exposure to lift truck impact. It also has 4 anchor points so it offers very durable protection. The downside to this solution is that width of the protector eats into the aisle space. This leaves less room for pallet storage.
  2. Raised Post Protectors – In this application the post protector is raised up 3/8’’ of an inch so that the base plate of the protector sits in front of and flush with the pallet rack base plate. The guard has a 3.25’’ opening so that it wraps around the 3’’upright. The benefit of this solution is that it will not eat up space in the aisles. This allows more space for pallet placement. It’s also a cheaper solution than the wider protector because there is less material. The downside is that there are only 2 anchor points, resulting in less durability.
  3. Bolt on Protectors – In this application the post protector bolts onto the pallet rack upright. It does not anchor into the surface. The protector is 3.25’’ so if fits around the 3’’ upright. The benefit to this solution is that its an easy install and is the least expensive. It offers a buffer between the upright and direct impact from forklift traffic. If you expect frequent impact, this is not the best solution for an obvious reason. The protector is attached to the upright so the upright is still taking a majority of the impact.

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