Complete Warehouse Racking Buyer’s Guide

RED-Cantilever-JAN22

Pallet racking is a fundamental part of any warehouse space. Depending on the type of materials you store, product turnover rates, and inventory management systems, certain styles of pallet rack systems may be more effective than others.

Before investing in a new setup, warehouse managers must weigh all storage options to find the right system for your facility.

Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc. is a leading supplier of warehouse storage equipment. We carry new and used systems, replacement parts, and pallet rack accessories. Whether you need a complete warehouse overhaul or replacement wire decking, we have various options available on our online store.

Types of Pallet Racks

Pallet rack systems come in several standard styles, designs, and configurations. While some designs improve product flow within the facility, other industrial storage racks cater to bulky or awkward items. Some of the most popular and effective pallet racking systems include:

Cantilever racks

Cantilever racking is a unique, specialist storage option designed for heavy loads, bulky items, and non-palletized goods. Cantilever racks have four key components: bases, uprights, arms, and braces. The unique feature of this type of rack is that it doesn’t have front beams to obstruct access from forklifts or material handling equipment.

Although cantilever racks can store traditional standard pallets (one pallet deep per row), items are typically placed directly onto the supporting arms. This approach allows long, heavy, and irregularly shaped items to be positioned horizontally over multiple arms. Cantilever racks are frequently used to store lumber products, sheet metal, piping, machinery, and construction materials.

At Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc., we stock several cantilever racking options, including medium and heavy-duty racks. Our Series 2000 racks are perfect for storing heavy products like steel pipes or homeware goods. They are adjustable on 3-inch centers up and down the entire length of the upright. Configuring them with various arm lengths allows you to find the perfect solution for your warehouse.

We also stock individual cantilever components and accessories in various sizes and materials. Our online catalog displays the complete inventory list and includes cantilever arms, braces, and uprights. Our pallet rack guard nets can be installed on the back of the racks, protecting products and employees if materials fall after an accident. They are a cost-effective way to improve warehouse safety.

Carton flow racks

Carton flow racking systems are high-density storage options mainly used to stock lightweight products. Carton flow racks rely on gravity, rollers, trolleys, and tracks to move products around a warehouse as part of an inclined system. The flow design eliminates passage interference, allowing warehouse managers to separate loading and unloading aisles.

Flow racks can speed up picking and order preparation processes, essential for high-turnover goods. Each storage level typically handles one SKU in carton flow systems, shortening picking travel times and distances for warehouse operators. Carton flow racking systems are space-efficient and can increase the storage capacity of a facility.

Carton flow racks store a variety of products. However, they are used predominantly in distribution centers or warehouses that handle a high volume of homogenous goods. They are an excellent option for pharmaceutical plants or food and beverage storage.

At Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc., we stock a wide range of parts to help build a high-capacity carton flow rack system, including racking frames, conveyors, and wheels. One of the most critical parts of an effective gravity flow system is having high-quality conveyors. We carry a variety of conveyor options, including chain-driven live rollers and accordion-style conveyors.

Our extruded aluminum conveyors are durable and l0ng-lasting, ensuring they can stand up to wear and tear in a high-volume facility. Available in a selection of widths and lengths, you can find a conveyor that fits your storage space precisely, maximizing product visibility and system efficiency.

We supply wheels for skate-wheel conveyors, whether you need replacements or require a quality upgrade. Our skate wheels are available in standard, heavy-duty, aluminum, and black and white nylon varieties.

Drive-in racks

Drive-in and drive-through racking are popular high-capacity storage options. While different, both systems enable deep storage, maximizing storage capacity and improving efficiency in limited spaces. Drive-in and drive-through racks are set up similarly. They are modular by design and easy to assemble, configure, and maintain.

With both structures, the pallets are positioned on support rails. The rails attach to upright columns, creating forklift access aisles. Create multiple parallel aisles side-by-side, making use of all available space.

With drive-in racks, forklifts access pallets for loading and unloading by entering through the front of the aisle. Once the machine deposits or collects a pallet, it backs out of the aisle through the same route it entered. Drive-in racks are designed for last-in, first-out (LIFO) inventory management systems, typically featuring low inventory turnover rates.

Drive-through racks

A drive-through rack provides two aisle access points: one from the front and one from the rear of the aisle. Forklifts enter through one end to pick or deposit goods before exiting via the other end, passing through the entire aisle. This is a common system for first-in, first-out (FIFO) inventory retrieval methods. Facilities that process perishable goods, like food, beverages, or pharmaceuticals, often drive-through racks.

We stock pallet rack frames, uprights, beams, baseplates, and braces for drive-in and drive-through units. Pallet racks require protection since they are accessed predominantly by forklifts and material handling equipment. Contact with forklifts can diminish the structural integrity of the racks, making them vulnerable to collapse.

Pass warehouse safety inspections and enhance the upright column integrity with our column protectors. We provide short, slim, standard, and large column protectors. Made from durable plastic, the protectors are available in various widths, from 6 to 18 inches. They are easy to install and secure using nylon fasteners (longer lasting than velcro straps).

Warehouse Racking

Selective pallet racks

The most common type of warehouse storage system is selective racking. These systems allow forklift operators to pick any pallet from the rack without moving other pallets. A selective rack system is cost-effective and often the most affordable option per pallet.

Selective racks are easy to adjust and reconfigure. You can alter the beam level and beam location, finding the right height for the products you store. Customizability allows you to create additional storage space without expanding your facility.

We provide pallet rack starter kits to help you build the foundations for your custom selective racking system. We also stock high-quality Unirak frames for high-capacity warehouses. They are customizable and configurable with most teardrop-style racks. The beams are adjustable at 2-inch increments, allowing you to adapt your system to various product types.

Boltless racks

Boltless racks are configured without nuts or bolts, making them a versatile storage option for warehouses that handle high numbers of SKUs. A boltless rack is typically used to store light to medium-duty goods. However, steel racks that are boltless are often found in auto shops for storing machinery and engine components.

Our all-welded heavy-duty steel shelves are an excellent boltless rack option for warehouses, manufacturing plants, or home garages. Manufactured from reinforced 12 gauge steel, they are durable and suitable for storing heavy-duty goods. Each shelf has a 2,000-pound weight capacity.

Essential Considerations When Buying Warehouse Racking

If you’re in the market for industrial shelving systems like warehouse pallet racking, there are several key factors to consider before making a purchase, including:

Product type

Warehouse managers must choose an appropriate system according to the products they store. High-density industrial storage racks may work best if your facility handles limited SKUs or predominantly homogenous products, such as flow racks. If you handle mainly heavy-duty equipment, cantilever racking may be more effective.

Inventory management system

Inventory management systems are essential to an efficient storage facility. Ensure the pallet racking you install aligns with your inventory management process. If your food manufacturing plant uses a FIFO retrieval system, opt for a drive-through system or racks that facilitate high volume storage.

Vertical space

Using vertical space in a warehouse is an effective way to increase storage capacity. Cantilever, carton flow, drive-in, and selective racks can all stack vertically. However, warehouse managers must be aware of pallet rack load capacity when storing inventory vertically. Overloading racks jeopardizes the structural integrity of the system.

Consult with one of the warehousing professionals at Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc. to find a vertical storage option that fits your facility’s needs. Choosing the right equipment can also help your warehouse pass safety inspections and comply with OSHA regulations.

New vs. used

An important decision for warehouse managers is purchasing new or used storage equipment. Most pallet racking is made from heavy-duty steel, ensuring it can last for many years if maintained correctly. Many budget-oriented businesses opt for used storage as a cost-saving measure.

New storage equipment may give businesses the creative freedom to build the exact system they need. Consider your budget, storage needs, and the availability of high-quality used materials to determine whether to choose new or used equipment.

Visit Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc. For High-Quality Storage Equipment

Pallet racing can directly influence the efficiency, productivity, and ultimately, the profitability of your storage facility. If you need help planning your warehouse layout or determining the best warehouse storage options for your business, our experienced team can guide you through the process. Our Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc. turnkey services ensure we assist you at every step, from the initial planning stage to professional installation and follow-up services.

For more information on our services, give us a call today at (800) 589-7225. Explore our online catalog to browse our complete inventory.