For warehouses, factories, and large stores, managing inventory can be an incredible challenge. Making the most of available floor space is difficult enough as it is without having to worry about inventory flow.
The best storage racks for a warehouse will depend on floor space, product type and size, and product turnover rates. High density storage options, like pallet flow racks, can be a great option for busy warehouses. Warehouses with specialized products or a large variety of products may need a different type of pallet racking. Plus, health and safety regulations, including safe aisle space, must be considered at all times.
Pallet Flow Racks
Pallet flow racks are a first-in, first-out storage system that utilizes rollers to move the pallets. These racks use slight inclines to move pallets to the bottom of a gravity-fed system. Since pallets are loaded at one end and unloaded at the other, the risk of human error and forklift accidents can be lower than with other storage types.
Pallet flow racks maximize storage space by minimizing the number of aisles needed. A well-designed rack can store up to 20 pallets in a single row. It’s a good industrial rack option for businesses with high product turnover.
Push Back Racks
Push back racks use carts to allow pallets to be pushed around the racking system. They are designed for last-in, first-out storage, and are a good option for non-perishable goods.
Push back racks typically require more aisles than pallet flow racks, making it difficult to make the most of limited floor space. However, they are a wiser option for warehouses that store a large variety of goods that may need to be accessed at any time. The closer a pallet is stored to an aisle, the more quickly it can typically be retrieved.
Drive-in pallet racks are large enough to allow forklifts to drive into and through them. They can be designed for first-in, first out or last-in, first-out storage. Since this type of storage relies heavily on forklift maneuverability, it’s mainly an option for goods that will be stored for long periods of time.
One of the major downsides is that drive-in racks can result in more forklift accidents than other types of racking. However, they are still a viable option for warehouses with well-trained forklift operators, good lighting, and appropriate safety devices.
Cantilever racks are designed for long objects, especially pipes or lumber. They eliminate the front pallet uprights in order to store long horizontal objects. They can be very easy to load and unload with the right forklift.
In some cases, cantilever racks can also be a good option for long furniture, like benches or couches. Specialized cantilever racks can be made with wire decking or other support underneath, so that goods don’t just rest on the beams.
Improvements in technology allow warehouses to use automated picking software to move goods. While updating a warehouse’s infrastructure and programming the software can take some time, it’s a worthwhile investment. Forklift accidents, workplace injuries, and human error can be reduced dramatically when technology is used.
Vertical lift modules, package handling lifts, and other systems can also help maximize floor space. Password-protected systems and other security measures can keep products safe and increase employee accountability.
Whether you’re using automated systems or forklifts, safety is important. Most pallet racking is designed to accommodate safety barriers, additional lighting, and other optional attachments.
Of course, additional safety features don’t matter if a rack is improperly supported or is overloaded. Even the best racking can begin to lean, especially if it takes damage from a forklift. Racking can also become overloaded easily, if the weight placed on it is not carefully tracked and checked by a manager.
Inspect all shelving regularly, and don’t combine parts from different types of racking unless the manufacturer says it’s safe. If a pin or bolt is missing, immediately unload the rack until a replacement can be installed.
Used or New?
Used pallet racking can be just as safe as new racking, even for heavy duty loads. In some cases, used store shelving can also be a good option for storing non-palletized goods.
It’s wise to check with a reliable used shelving dealer to see what options are available for your warehouse. Used pallet racking should be free of any damage, and be made of modern structural steel for longevity. Many used racks are available with teardrop style racking, which has been popular for decades thanks to being safe and easy to use.
Shelving, Rack + Systems, Inc carries a wide range of used and new pallet racking, shelving units, and other industrial storage equipment. Whether you’re a small business or an international corporation, our material handling equipment can be customized to help you grow. Contact us for pallet rack systems and all your storage solutions needs.