Whatever industry you are in, one of the main priorities will be making your warehouse operate as efficiently as possible. There are many ways to approach this goal – having the right management team in place and ensuring staff have adequate training for their roles are both crucial.
However, how you store, locate, and distribute your goods is also critical to your warehouse efficiency. A cluttered or disorganized warehouse makes it more difficult for staff to move freely around the factory floor, slows them down when they need to find items, and cause your workflow to become clogged and ineffective.
There are many types of industrial warehouse storage racks which can help you to alleviate any storage issues, and contribute to making your warehouse a smooth and well-controlled operation. One of the most widely-used items in most warehouses is the pallet.
Types of Pallet Racking
Warehouses have different dimensions, and the needs of one business will be vastly different from that of another. One warehouse may have plenty of floor space, but a low ceiling. Another may need to store many items in a minimal space, yet still have quick access when a customer calls with an urgent order.
The solutions to such versatile problems come in a wide range of pallet racking systems that each meet a different need. Some can solve several different issues, and a combination of various methods in the same warehouse can help to overcome just about any warehouse storage demands.
Push Back Racking
A prevalent method of pallet racking is the push back system. In this configuration, the frames support inclined rails, which in turn, hold carts on which a forklift driver can place their goods. Upon receiving the stacked pallet, the tracks allow gravity to move the products toward the back of the frames gently.
Usually accommodating 2-6 pallets in-depth, the process is the same until the rack is full. Should a warehouse manager need to access one of the consignments, they can access the last pallet loaded.
To ensure they don’t have to clear an entire level of pallets to reach the one they need, a manager should be highly-organized and load the pallets so the pallet they will need next is the one that you place on to the rack last.
This method is called a first-in-last-off (FILO) system, and managers may favor it as it allows them to store many pallets in a confined space. Otherwise, as a high-density storage system, they are ideal if storage areas are at a premium.
As these frames are modular in nature, it is possible to build them up until you have reached the ceiling. If horizontal space is full, then the vertical space in a warehouse can be a great place to find extra storage capacity.
Also, a FILO and high-density form of racking, a drive-in system allows a warehouse manager to store a large number of pallets but also reduces the need for the number of aisles.
Managers need to carefully construct these systems to allow a forklift driver the ability to drive inside the upright frames. They can load pallets deep within the structures and unload other pallets without the need for outside aisles for access.
These designs are also suitable for vertical builds, and so forklift drivers can stack high as well as deep.
Forklift drivers need to be very careful as any damage to the frames could damage their structural integrity. For this reason, warehouse managers need to have a regular and thorough inspection process in place.
If a frame is damaged, you will need to get it fixed immediately. Significant damage could render the area unsafe for a driver to enter, leading to delays and possibly even making some pallets inaccessible until repairs are complete.
Carton Flow Racks
If you need to increase the speed with which you move items around the warehouse and protect the health and safety of your staff, then you’ll want to consider a carton flow rack.
With easy assembly and a modular system, managers can design these racks to fit around their existing warehouse format. An employee can load a package onto the conveyor belt style system at one end, and a colleague can then remove it at the destination point.
Not only is this an efficient method of transporting packages, but it is also useful for safeguarding employees. Warehouse floors are busy environments, and accidents can and do happen.
An employee who can load a package on a carton flow rack, rather than walking from one point in the factory to another, while also carrying a heavy item, is less likely to suffer injury than one always moving. Material handling can continually be improved, and this type of system can make a positive contribution to your workflow.
Cantilever Racking System
When you need a heavy-duty pallet system, then a cantilever rack is an excellent choice. Storage space for unusually heavy or unwieldy items can be challenging to find in the fluid and fast-paced setting of a warehouse floor. Cantilever racking beams are both sturdy and robust, often utilized for keeping heavy materials such as shipping or timber supplies.
As with many racks, they use a teardrop design system, which utilizes specially shaped holes punched into the frames. The teardrop racks then sit into the holes to create exceedingly robust style beams. For extra support, you can add wire decking to your poles. While it may not be required, this added security is useful when packages or items could potentially fall if mishandled.
Forklift drivers can add different loads into each level of racking to allow for the storage of various goods. Racks can be either single or double-sided, depending on the warehouse requirements.
Over Door Pallet Rack
One of the busiest areas in a warehouse is the loading dock door, yet this area is also ideal for pallet storage. Many warehouse managers use their vertical space, building a racking system toward the ceiling. However, many miss the chance to build a level of racking above their dock door.
While it is possible to use a system whereby pillars on the ground provide support for the pallet rack, often, this is impractical as employees need to use the space for maneuvering. In this scenario, it may be better to use a system you can attach to your roof trusses.
You can connect your rack to both the ceiling and the wall, so there is adequate support. Before installing this type of frame, you will need planning permission to ensure you are adhering to the relevant safety regulations.
Pallets are needed every day, but it can be the case that you have too many at any one time. It would be wasteful and inefficient to dispose of pallets that you will require at a later date.
As the loading dock door area is usually bustling, you won’t want to be continually using the area above the door as the forklift would get in the way of deliveries. This location is an ideal area for storing pallets that a driver can lift down or store away at the beginning and end of each day.
Warehouse pallet racking systems are essential when it comes to ensuring you are storing your goods efficiently. Small delays when retrieving items can add up over the day, leading to a substantial loss in efficiency and therefore a reduction in profits.
Pallet racks and pallet rack accessories such as wire decking are also vital for keeping staff and visitors safe. An organized warehouse allows employees to see where they are going, and help them to avoid collisions with colleagues, especially those operating heavy machinery such as a forklift truck.
At Shelving+Rack Systems, In.c, we have decades of experience providing the latest and most efficient pallet racks and pallet shelves on the market. For expert advice, contact us toll-free at (855)-573-6103. Our extensive range of pallet rack systems is sure to meet your needs.