Business is growing, companies are expanding, and vertical space is in high demand

As 2015 nears a close, we at Warehouse Solutions Inc. have been seeing a trend all year long: business is growing, companies are expanding, and vertical space is in high demand.

If your company has felt this, then you already know that pallet racking is your warehouse solution!

The question now becomes: What style best suites your needs?

The best place to start, is to consider these factors:

  1. How much floor space is available in your facility for pallet storage?
  2. How high are your ceilings?
  3. What type of pallets do you use and what are the sizes and weights?
  4. How many different SKUs will be stored in the racks?
  5. How often do you need to access the pallets?
  6. Does your product have a shelf life? Do you require FIFO (first in, first out) or LIFO (last in, first out) for your product?
  7. How many pallets do you need to store?
  8. What type of fork truck will you use to access the racks? What is the lift height of these fork trucks?
  9. What is your budget for a racking solution?

Now that you better understand your requirements, let’s take a quick look at the common types of pallet storage and the advantages/disadvantages of each.

Selective Pallet Rack

Selective pallet racking is the most common type of pallet storage used today. Selective rack uses uprights and a pair of cross beams to create a “shelf” for storing a pallet. Depending on the height of your pallet and ceiling, selective rack systems typically have multiple levels (shelves) per bay. A bay is typically only one pallet deep, although two-deep systems are also a possibility.

Advantages:

  • Low investment compared to more dense storage solutions
  • Accessibility to all pallets
  • FIFO or LIFO

Disadvantages:

Low storage density due to aisles between rows of rack

Drive-In and Drive-Through Pallet Rack

Drive-in racking is a type of storage system that allows fork trucks to drive directly into a bay. Pallets rest on side rails rather than cross beams, which leaves the face of the bay open. The uprights are typically tied together at the top of the upright to add rigidity to the system. The only difference between drive-in and drive-through racks is whether there is an entrance at only one end (drive-in) or both ends (drive-through).

This style of rack is commonly 6-8 pallets deep per bay. Fork trucks elevate a load to the proper level and load it in the back of the system first. The second pallet will be placed in the second position from the back and continue until a lane is full. Drive-in racks are LIFO, while drive-through racks are typically FIFO. This type of system is best suited for storing a large quantity of pallets of the same product.

Advantages:

  • High storage density
  • Lower cost than a flow rack system

Disadvantages:

  • Low accessibility to all pallets
  • Rack often gets damaged since fork trucks drive inside the system

Pallet Flow Rack System

This type of racking uses uprights and cross beams to support a gravity roller conveyor within the rack. The rollers are pitched slightly, so pallets will naturally flow toward the front of the system. When a pallet is unloaded from the front of the system, the next pallet in line moves forward to the exit position. Similar to drive-in racks, this type of system is best suited for storing a large quantity of pallets of the same product. Pallet flow rack systems are FIFO.

Advantages:

  • High storage density
  • Can be stored 20+ pallets deep
  • No need to drive inside the racking system

Disadvantages:

  • Low accessibility to all pallets
  • Can only be stored 4-5 lanes deep

Now that you have a basic understanding of some of the common types of storage systems and how they can improve your company’s efficiency, the next step is an onsite consult.

Contact WSI directly to schedule a consult with one of our specialists to discover what options best suit your company’s needs and goals for this year and the years to come!