Complete Cantilever Racks Guide

What Are Cantilever Racks & How Can They Be Useful?

Cantilever racks are essentially a steel frame with extended tubes in the center for the parts to rest on. Due to the simple holding mechanism, these unique style racks can hold a high quantity of products in one frame, which ultimately reduces costs. In fact, each product can rest safely and securely on the extruded tubes as these cantilever racks are durable and reliable for everyday use.

In the packaging industry, custom cantilever racks are a common method utilized to enhance product safety and lower overall costs. The reason for this is because this option utilizes less steel structure in comparison to other complex steel racks. Also, as time goes on, the robust structure build on these cantilever racks will save time and capital for any size company.

Our packaging design team can design a unique cantilever rack solution for any company to ensure they receive the best price for their packaging needs. Since cost savings are crucial for any size company, take advantage of the optimal and feasible solutions that we can provide that will instantly impact the overall logistics price. In this article, we will discuss different styles of custom cantilever racks and explain how they can be beneficial to your company.

1. Steel Plate Cantilever Rack

Steel plate cantilever racks are simply extruded center tubes with an attached custom steel plate to hold the parts. Usually, a steel plate is laser cut to the exact contour of the required packaging product and welded on top of the cantilever tubes. The way this works is simple, an experienced design engineer will trace the exact shape of the part onto a steel plate in a 3D software, and later it will be laser cut and welded onto the frame for an accurate holding mechanism. For this reason, an operator can load and unload products onto the steel plate due to the precise cut out.

Products can be creatively packaged in this cantilever rack style as the packaging engineer can utilize multiple orientations. As a result, a high quantity of the particular part can be transported safely between locations, as they can be loaded and unloaded into the precise cut outs with ease. To conclude, the main goal is to ensure the product will remain rigid and safe at all times, and this steel plate cantilever rack is a great solution to serve this purpose.

Cantilever Racks Guide 1
2. Foam Rail Cantilever Rack

The next style commonly used in the packaging world is the foam rail cantilever rack. Similar to the steel plate cantilever rack, this rack style will also have center extruding tubes, except softer foam rails will be assembled onto them instead of welded steel plates. Essentially, a custom foam rail dunnage is cut to the contour of the product and assembled on top of the cantilever tubes. That being said, the part will rest firmly inside of the cut outs on multiple cross link foam rails.

In general, cross link foams are frequently utilized for the interior dunnage for packaging. To explain, the design engineer will once again trace the shape of the product into a foam rail on a 3D software, and it will later be cut on a waterjet machine and assembled into the frame. Also, the advantage this style provides is that the holding mechanism (or dunnage) is a lot softer and it helps accommodate for delicate products. After all, foam rail cantilever racks are a remarkable packaging solution as they enable a high quantity of parts to be packaged at a cost-effective rate.

Cantilever Racks Guide 2
3. Steel Tube Cantilever Rack

The last style commonly utilized is the steel tube cantilever rack. This plain steel tube cantilever rack will be the viable solution when the product requires no precise cut out to hold the part. Certainly, this robust option will be the most cost-efficient solution since there are no steel plates or foam rails being assembled or welded on top of the cantilever tubes. Basically, the parts can be stacked together during the loading process, consequently allowing a higher density and for optimizing logistics.

The cantilever tubes will be the holding mechanism for these racks as they will penetrate through the open surfaces on the product (if the product indeed contains open surfaces on each side). Ultimately, the operator will slide the products on the cantilever tubes until the rack is fully loaded. In addition, there are end caps located on the front of the tubes that capture the parts and prevent them from sliding out. This cantilever rack method is favored when the parts are permitted to touch one another during the loading and unloading process. In contrast, if the part are not permitted to contact one another, then either the foam rail or steel plate cantilever racks will suit best.


The best option to choose from will depend on the application of the product being packaged. For parts that require separation and space between one another, the foam rail and steel plate cantilever racks will be the best options. For parts that are allowed to come in contact will one another, the steel tube cantilever rack method will work best. To clarify, these racks are designed to enable a forklift to lift, move and stack on one another as these features are vital for all racks.

Generally speaking, any shape or size product can be successfully packaged with precise design engineering. In order to help facilitate the process, a 3D model of the part is essential to accurately and efficiently design a functional packaging product to accommodate it. In summary, all three of these options are fully capable of safely transporting and handling all products as they’re designed and built to protect objects from damage. Lastly, if you are unsure which option to choose from or where to start, then please contact a packaging professional to guide you and to provide you the best optimal solution.





Plexform specializes in returnable packaging and material handling solutions such as custom steel racks and interior bulk container/tote dunnage. Our mission is to reduce transportation costs and product damage by producing custom packaging specifically tailored to each unique part.

Rack Repair

Fixing All Racks…

Design Engineering...

Innovative Design Concepts…


From Design To Build…

Need A Quote?

Contact Us Now For A Free Quote On Any Custom Packaging Product


Design engineer cost effective and robust products


Produce custom designed builds specific to each part

Design Gallery

View Our Design Gallery

Thumbs Up Clear