Pallet racking is essential for a modern warehouse, allowing your business to keep palletized inventory safe, protected, and accessible. There are several pallet racking options available to warehouse managers, depending on the company’s specific storage requirements. However, whether you’re starting or expanding a business, you will need to decide whether to buy used or new pallet racks.
Should I Buy Used Racking?
Whether you should buy used racking depends on your budget. Used pallet racking can be an affordable and cost-effective warehouse storage alternative to buying new pallet racks, especially for the budget-conscious manager or startup business.
If you’re new to the industry, used storage racks allow you to invest more money into the other aspects of your operation, from material handling equipment and conveyor systems to supplemental cantilever racks and shelving units.
Used Pallet Racks — What to Look For
When purchasing used pallet racking, it’s important to find a reputable rack manufacturer or reseller that conducts thorough inspections of its products.
As you’re searching for suitable racking systems, you’ll also need to decide on the assembly method. Racks that use a boltless assembly method are cheaper and easier to install. Racks that use structural steel are welded or bolted together already and offer higher load capacities.
These systems are more expensive and heavier — increasing shipping costs — but they’re also stronger and more durable. If you intend to install racks in environments where the risk of forklift collision is high, a structural rack offers a more cost-effective long-term solution.
When the racking system arrives, conduct your own inspection. Check the beams, uprights, fasteners, and decking (if applicable) for signs of damage and deformation. It’s also a good idea to conduct monthly inspections to ensure your racks are functionally sound and address any needs for repair or replacement as early as possible.
You also need to have the entire racking system professionally inspected once a year to comply with OSHA safety standards.
Types of Pallet Racks
When you’ve decided that buying used pallet racking is a cost-effective option for your warehouse, you’ll need to decide which kind of warehouse racking you need.
Selectivity determines the extent to which a warehouse worker can choose pallets or products individually for picking. In FIFO (first in, first out) systems, selectivity tends to be high, and the worker doesn’t have to remove one product to access another.
High selectivity is generally ideal for warehouses that store a varied number of SKUs (stock-keeping units), have enough space, and have high turnover rates.
The most common type of pallet rack is the selective rack, which allows forklift drivers to unload multiple pallets simultaneously, if necessary. Unfortunately, this level of selectivity can reduce the system’s storage capacity and occupy more floor space. Selective pallet racks are generally the least expensive racking system per pallet position.
Consider racking systems that maximize storage density when selectivity is less important to your business than saving space. Racks that store more products using less space can allow you to increase the space between aisles and for forklift trucks to maneuver inside your warehouse safely. When you need to start placing pallets on the floor, you need to re-evaluate your storage requirements and plan accordingly.
High-density storage systems are available in several different configurations. These include:
Pallet flow racks
Pallet flow racks are high-density systems designed to minimize the footprint of your pallet racks, increasing storage space. Like selective racks, pallet flow racks are assembled using vertical upright frames and horizontal beams.
The beams support roller lanes, which are inclined for gravity assistance. A worker loads pallets into the rack from the rear face or charging side, assisted by entry guides. The pallets flow on the roller lanes to the front face until they meet the pallet stop.
Push-back racks balance selectivity and density. In a push-back rack, a worker loads pallets on nested carts that run on inclined rails. As one pallet enters the system, it pushes back the first pallet and cart, exposing the second cart for loading.
When a worker retrieves the pallet at the front of the system, the cart and pallet behind it moves one position forward. This system is one of the most expensive.
If you need to store non-palletized inventory items, there are generally three options available to you. The first is to use a shelving system.
Heavy-duty steel shelving systems can safeguard your products, keeping them organized and elevated. For example, our All-Welded Heavy-Duty Steel Shelving by Little Giant uses reinforced 12-gauge shelves to provide weight capacity, per shelf, of 2,000 lb. You can also anchor the footpads to the floor for additional stability.
Pallet racking systems use horizontal beams connected to uprights to form storage bays. These bays are designed to support palletized inventory, so products that vary in size and packaging type may fall between the beams. The solution to this problem is to use decking.
Find the Right Used Pallet Racks
Used pallet racking can provide a cost-effective alternative to buying pallet racks for new warehouses, businesses operating on a strict budget, or companies that need to expand At Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc., we offer both used and new pallet rack solutions and other storage products to meet your current needs and future goals in a warehouse setting. Give us a call at (800) 589-7225, and we’ll help you choose the right type of used pallet racking for your business.