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A Quick Guide to Pallet Racking Terminology

A Quick Guide to Pallet Racking Terminology

When discussing projects with our clients, we have found that there is often confusion regarding the names of various pallet racking and shelving components. That’s why we’ve put together a glossary of some of the most common used terms. Being familiar with these terms will allow you to explain your requirements to us and ensure that you receive prompt assistance.


Description: A bay is the basic unit or structure of pallet racking or shelving. A single, stand-alone bay is called a starter bay, (made up of 2 x frames joined together with beams). These can be extended to create longer rows of shelving by connecting add-on bays. An add-on bay has only one frame, meaning it needs to be connected to the starter bay to form a complete unit.


Description: A frame is the vertical component of a pallet racking or shelving structure. Each frame has two ‘posts’ which are joined together with horizontal and diagonal bracing. Another common term for frames is ‘uprights’.

Other Information: Pallet racking frames should always be securely bolted to a concrete floor to ensure structural integrity and reduce the risk of catastrophic failure.


Description: Beams are the horizontal metal rails that run between the two frames of a bay. A pair of beams make up one level. Beams directly support your pallets/shelf board/mesh deck.

Other Information: Selecting the right beam for your application is essential. You should consider the weight and dimensions of your pallets and ensure that the beams you purchase are fit-for-purpose. For lower weight loadings, such as shelving levels, it is a good idea to choose thinner beams as these will take up less vertical space and improve accessibility.

Pallet Racking / Shelving Mesh

Description: Mesh shelves/decks are constructed from metal wire in a grid and are designed to sit on top of beams.

Other Information: These are often used instead of shelf board. The grid construction provides a sturdy shelf for your stock while improving lighting and allowing dust, liquid spills, and other detritus to run off onto the floor.

Row Spacers

Description: Also known as back-ties, these bolt onto two back-to-back frames and ensure that the gap between the racks is maintained.

Other Information: Row spacers are not critical to the racking structure but do improve structural rigidity. Installing row spacers also helps you to get your runs of racking straight when you initially install.

Anchor Bolts

Description: Anchor bolts are used to secure pallet racking and shelving frames to the concrete floor. These screw into the concrete and hold the racking structure in place.

Other Information: Does your racking need to be bolted down? Click here to check out our other blog for more details and advice on which type of anchor bolts to use.

Pallet Support Bars

Description: Pallet support bars are manufactured using metal box-section and hook over pallet racking beams to create front-to-back support for pallets.

Other Information: Pallet support bars are often used to offer extra support to weaker pallets. If you are looking for a solution to store undersize/odd-size pallets, pallet racking mesh is a better option.

Shelf Support Bars

Description: Shelf support bars are manufactured using metal box-section and sit flush with the top of the beam to offer support to shelf boards. This front-to-back support reduces sagging in the shelf board and improves weight distribution.

Other Information: When used on box beams, shelf support bars are often used with Z-Clips.


Description: Small folded piece of metal which is used to hold shelf board in place without using screws or bolts. Z-clips sit on the top of the beam and create an edge for the board to sit within.

Other Information: A minimum of 4 x Z-clips are required per shelf level to be effective. When ordering Z-clips, be sure to note the thickness of your beams. There are various sizes available to suit beams of the following thicknesses: 40mm/50mm/60mm.


Description: An aisle is the space between rows that allows movement of personnel and vehicles, like the aisle in a grocery store.

Other Information: The aisles in your warehouse should be wide enough to comfortably allow passage of your handling equipment. Also consider whether additional space should be allowed for pedestrians to pass when your forklift is in operation.

How Shelving Depot Can Help 

At the Shelving Depot, we specialise in the planning, design, and delivery of bespoke shelving solutions. Our commitment to providing practical, safe, and reliable solutions to our customers’ shelving challenges has made us the supplier of choice for warehousing professionals throughout NZ.

To speak to someone about your shelving project or for more information on any of our products or services, get in touch by phone or email today.