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Calculation of an Adjustable Pallet Racking structure: EN 15512 standard


Industrial Racking is an essential element in warehouses and distribution centres. The purpose of racking is to store the load efficiently and positively impact the company’s activity. However, industrial racking must be reliable above all else. Thus, it must be stable, resistant and protect the safety of the load, structure and warehouse workers too.

For this reason, industrial racking systems must follow specific structural design criteria. The EN 15512 European standard defines the requirements to be considered in calculating the structure. In this post we will look at some of the key aspects and questions of this recently updated regulation.

What standards must be considered for storage systems?

EN 15512 is not the only standard that must be considered with respect to the design and manufacture of industrial racking systems. In Europe, there are 4 main standards that are considered and used jointly:

EN 15629: Industrial racking storage. Specification of the storage equipment:

This European standard provides guidelines for the technical specification that allows the design of different types of industrial racking (Adjustable Pallet Racking, Drive in Racking systems, Cantilever Racking and Longspan Shelving), including its different forms of construction, using both manual and automatic mechanical handling systems.

EN 15620: Industrial racking storage. Tolerances, deflections and clearances.

In this case, the tolerances, deflections and clearances applicable in the production, assembly and installation of pallet racking systems including interaction with the floor. The standard is limited to single-deep adjustable pallet racking systems.

EN 15635: Industrial racking storage. Use and maintenance of storage equipment.

The standard provides the guidelines for the structural safety of storage systems that work with handling equipment operating very close to the storage equipment, to minimise the risk and consequences of unsafe operation or damage to the structure.
Click here for more information on maintenance of industrial racking.

EN 15512: Industrial racking storage. Adjustable pallet racking systems. Structural design principles.

This standard specifies how the adjustable pallet racking structure should be calculated, with and without bracing.


What are the details and scope of the EN 15512 standard and its update?

  • Scope: the EN 15512 European standard refers to the design and calculation of the structure. The basic details of this standard are:
  • Official publication date: 25 November 2020.
  • Standard that it replaces: EN 15512:2009 (UNE EN 15512:2010).
  • Exclusive application date: 30 November 2021. 6 months of coexistence with the old standard have been permitted up until this date. From that date, 30 November 2021, it will be the only standard in force for the structural design of storage systems.

What industrial racking is affected by this new regulation?

This standard only applies to Adjustable Pallet Racking. It partially affects Clad-Rack Warehouses. Why only partially? Because clad-rack warehouses, being a construction, are governed by higher regulations, so these regulations must be referred to first, such as for example in Europe with the CE Marking (EN 1090).

What does the EN 15512:2020 standard provide on structural calculation compared to the previous standard?

With regard to the previous standard, the EN 15512:2020 includes two significant new developments:

  • It is a more conservative standard, meaning a more secure design of the racking, as a reliability analysis has been performed. The material reduction factor has changed from 1 to 1.1, which in principle means that racking structures are more secure.
  • The updating of the standard is more consistent with Eurocode 3, which is a set of European standards that encompasses the rules and principles for calculating steel structures.

There are also other noteworthy aspects of the EN 15512:2020 standard. It will mean a more uniform design for all European countries, with only the Netherlands deviating from the standard. It also offers a more conservative evaluation of test results. In fact, the updating of this standard for the structural design of adjustable pallet racking systems is strongly based on testing.

The determination of profiles and spacers through simulation formulas and models is very complicated, which is why the new standard has been based on actual tests, such as those performed by AR Racking in its AR Lab for racking research and real-life testing.