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Guide > Pallet Jacks

Choosing a Pallet Jack

Pallet JacksPallet jacks are truly the unsung workhorses of the warehouse.  These pallet transporters get used and abused on a daily basis, but as a testament of their usefulness, dock workers and warehouse employees return to them over and over again, day in and day out.

Choosing a pallet jack is a relatively straight forwarded process that can be summed up in 3 easy steps.

Step 1: Decide on the Pallet Jack Type

Low profile pallet jacks have the same basic features of the standard pallet jacks but with a lowered fork height of 2” and a raised fork height of 5¼”. Low profile models were designed for use with low clearance or disposable pallets. The capacity of the standard units is an industry standard 5500# while the low profile models can hold up to 4400#.

Pallet Jack Diagram

Pallet Jack Measurements

Step 2: Determine the Width Required

Measure inside to inside of the outer pallet stringers of your pallets. Select the width that gives you at least 1” clearance on either side of the forks.

Step 3: Determine the Fork Length Required

If pallets are all one size select the pallet truck fork length which matches the stringer length. If pallet sizes vary, select the longest fork length to accommodate the longest pallet.

Other special pallet jack types are also available for additional utility and functionality.
(see below)

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Guide > Pallet Rack Basics

Pallet Rack Basics

At its most basic, pallet racking can be priced out in three easy steps.  There are of course, many more steps involved if you want to understand much of the subtler rack types and configurations, but if you’re only configuring a simple pallet rack system, these three step process will get you up and running.  If you’d like to learn more, please read the Advanced Pallet Rack Guide.

Measuring a PalletStep 1: Size the Product

Start by measuring the width, depth and height of your pallets*.  You’ll also want to keep a little room between pallets to give yourself leeway when loading and unloading the rack.  Keep note of this measurement as the rest of the steps will rely on these figures.  Also important is the weight of the heaviest load you will be storing.  Keep in mind, you must also account for the weight of the pallet.

* Typical pallets are 40 ” Wide x 48″ Deep

Step 2: Select Beam and Upright Sizes

Pallets on a ShelfNow you will determine (based on the previous measurements) how wide your shelves need to be.  For example – if you have a typical pallet, you have 80″ of load on your shelf (based on two pallets per shelf) and with 4″ on each side of each pallet, you’ll need at minimum a 96″ beam.  Once you have the width established, you’ll need to select the correct capacity beams for your load. Each shelf level will require two beams.

Choosing the uprights is as simple as figuring out how many shelf levels you want to have and using your pallet height to determine the needed upright height.  Also keep in mind both load and total shelf capacities when choosing the correct upright.  Upright depths will be strictly based on the depth of your pallets.  You must keep the entire pallet load balanced on the front and rear rack beams.

Step 3: Add It Up

Now you can determine the total number of beams and uprights you’ll need for your planned storage system.  Remember, you can use one upright as a connecter for multiple bays of rack.  Two racks in a row can share a center upright as long as total shelf and upright capacities are within range.

Below you can see profile views of three separate pallet rack layout styles.  At left is a single row of free standing pallet rack.  Center is two rows of pallet rack setup back to back and tied together in the center.  At right is a single row of pallet rack placed against a wall and tied to the wall using wall supports.

Pallet Rack Layouts

Sample Pallet Rack Layouts

Features & Benefits of Pallet Racking

  • Standard color is green uprights & orange beams, but other colors are available by special order
  • Beams and uprights are constructed of prime, U.S. made high-strength steel
  • Beam load ratings based on uniformly distributed load per pair of beams.
  • Uprights have 1 ½” wide bottom horizontal brace placed 8” from the floor to help resist impact damage
  • Precision manufacturing procedures ensure uniformity of appearance


Guide > Boltless Shelving

Boltless Shelving Guide

Boltless Storage ShelvingBoltless Shelving is a great product for general purpose storage of all kinds.  This industrial bulk shelving system is more closely related to pallet racking than to traditional steel shelving as it’s fully self-contained; in other words, you don’t need any hardware to assemble it.  Boltless shelving consists of the rails and upright posts and the unique “buttons” on the shelf rails snap directly into the post holes – No nuts & bolts!

This shelving comes in two main flavors – longspan boltless shelving and regular boltless shelving.  Longspan is typically a little more rugged – featuring higher weight capacities and longer span shelves.  The regular boltless shelving has lower capacities and doesn’t have the size advantage that boltless does, although this is still a more convenient and sturdier solution than traditional metal shelving.

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Guide > Steel Shelving

Steel Shelving Guide

Steel ShelvingSteel shelving (also known as clip shelving) is one of the most ubiquitous storage products on the market.  This shelving is a simple yet effective storage solution for light to medium weight loads and can be reconfigured and moved around very easily.  You’ll find this shelving solution in warehouses, offices, garages and backrooms across the entire country – if not the world.

This steel shelving utilizes clips to connect the individual shelves to the uprights.  The clips slip into holes in the uprights to provide support for the shelves.

Unfortunately, because this shelving is such a popular storage solution, there are many different clip styles and clip types that must match to assemble a working shelf unit.  In other words, not all clip shelving is interchangeable.

There are also several add-ons and components available for steel shelving – including shelf dividers, side and rear panels, label holders, etc.  Please call SJF [800-598-5532] for more information or pricing.

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Guide > Carousels

Industrial Carousel Guide

What is a carousel?

A carousel is an automated storage device that can be used to store many parts in a very small footprint.  Carousels come in two main configurations, Vertical and Horizontal.

Vertical Carousels

Vertical CarouselVertical carousels take full advantage of overhead space. These carousels can save you up to 70% more floor space when compared to conventional static storage. Operator productivity is increased by up to two-thirds by eliminating the old “walk, search, stock, store” method of material handling. These carousels bring items to the picker via the shortest route possible. Verticals provide well lit work areas reducing worker fatigue and error. You’ll enjoy added security and safety as items are kept out of sight within the carousel. You won’t have to climb, stretch or bend to retrieve items ever again. Verticals deliver items conveniently to the carousel’s pick station providing one of the most efficient and productive means of storage retrieval on the market today.

Not all vertical carousels are open, however.  If you’ve been to a home improvement store recently, you’ll know that they have installed carousels to hold carpets, vinyl rolls and other large rolled goods.  This type of unit is called a spool or carpet carousel.

Below is a short video to understand how a vertical carousel works and how it can help you.

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Guide > Drive-in Rack Basics

Drive In Rack Basics

Drive-in Rack System

Drive-in Pallet Rack System

Both drive-in and drive thru systems allow more efficient use of available space than traditional multi-aisle selective rack. In fact, when compared to a conventional selective system, the same amount of storage can be achieved with a high density system in 80% less space. These systems decrease storage and retrieval time while increasing efficiency and productivity among workers. Not only do they benefit your operations, they can also decrease your bottom line — you get more storage room per dollar spent on racking!

The ways these systems achieve such high efficiency are deceptively easy. They (a) create a more uniform load (b) in a confined storage area while (c) forklift operators working in the system become more skillful drivers. In addition to the above benefits, one more thing can be said about this type of system: energy efficiency. Since the product is so densely loaded in this type of system, there is less air around it to be heated or cooled.

Drive-In Rack

Drive-in Rack is the ultimate in high-density storage. No other form provides more storage capacity per square foot of room than drive-in. A viable alternative to expanding one’s facility, drive-in provides a very low cost yet efficient means of high volume storage.

One Way Drive In – Last in First Out (LIFO)
Material is both stored and retrieved from the same side (entry point) in several aisles. For this reason, the first material put in this system is the last to come out. This works well where shelf life is at a minimum or not a major concern. This system also works well in cold storage environments or warehouse freezers.

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Guide > Forklift Trucks

Types of Forklift Trucks & Their Applications

There are several type of forklift trucks available on the market today. All forklifts perform the same basic functions of lifting, lowering and transporting materials however, some are better suited for certain applications than others.

All Terrain & Rough Terrain Forklifts

All Terrain Forklift

All Terrain Forklift

All terrain and rough terrain forklifts are the preferred forklift type for construction sites, ranches, farms and other outdoor environments. These all terrain forklifts excel at taking steep slopes and transitioning from gravel or another uneven surface to smooth and even surfaces. All terrain & rough terrain forklifts are typically lower to the ground than other lift types and they appear to have a regular truck chassis rather than a typical forklift frame. In addition, these forklift trucks also usually have a larger wheelbase (width + length) and articulating forks, oftentimes on a hydraulic boom. Where typical forklifts need to approach a load head on, on a flat even surface, an all terrain or rough terrain forklift can pick up a load even when the load is on a slope or otherwise unusually positioned. All terrain forklifts are great for factories or warehouses that have inventory located outdoors on rough surfaces.

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Guide > Sortation Conveyor

Sortation Conveyor Diagram

Sample Sortation System (click to enlarge)

Sortation Conveyor Systems

Several types of sortation conveyor are available for different applications. Below are some sample images and information on the different types of sortation conveyor. If you have any questions about the best conveyor solution for your operation, please contact an SJF sales professional at 800-598-5532.  Sortation conveyor systems are large and very complicated systems and should only be installed by professional installers knowledgeable in conveyor and the tips & tricks of the trade.

Sortation systems complete with scanners, controls etc., often cost more than the average company can afford to spend. At SJF, we believe that you don’t need to invest a small fortune to incorporate one of these systems into your operation. We specialize in previously owned sortation systems that will do everything the new systems will do for you and more. You’ll have piece of mind knowing that we can provide you with everything from design, layout, programming and installation from one single source.

SJF has successfully put several systems just like the ones below into operation for customers just like you. They are all currently sorting product at a fraction of the cost than a new system would have set them back. Take a look at the different types of sortation conveyor systems we can provide.

Types of Sortation Conveyor Systems

Crossbelt Sortation

Cross Belt Sortation

Cross Belt Sortation

Advantages of cross-belt sorters include quietness, ability to have sort points close together, sorting to the right or left, and versatile layouts such as straight, “L” or oval paths with inclines and declines.

Tilt Tray Sorter

Tilt Tray Sortation

Tilt Tray Sortation

Trays, connected in a chain, tip to both sides, dumping into chutes or sides, Low noise levels and ability to sort small, flat or delicate items are advantages. This is a common type of sorter for the publishing industry.

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