Warehouse Storage Rack: Choosing the Right Types

Warehouse storage racking systems are crucial in order to maximize your floor space. Your storage capacity is vital to how much stock you can hold and how quickly you can fulfill client orders. If you have insufficient capacity, your output decreases, and customers may seek more efficient suppliers.

Trying to fit too much inventory into your warehouse also comes with the problem of accessibility. Staff need to access stock without moving other items out of the way first. You are likely using your warehouse to store merchandise of many shapes and sizes, and therefore using multiple storage racks in various areas of your facility is probably your best option.

It is essential to know the advantages of each type of rack so you can choose the right option for storing your goods correctly and safely.

Push Back Rack

Many distribution centers favor using a push back racking system. Also known as a high-density storage setup, these units accommodate a large amount of stock in a small amount of space. The warehouse manager must have excellent organizational skills when utilizing a push back rack as they operate on a first-on-last-off basis. This method means that the first pallet the forklift operator loads onto the shelf will be the last one they can take off.

The steel frames hold a system of inclined rails, on which they hold carts. Once the forklift driver places his first pallet on the cart, the tracks allow gravity to move the goods toward the back of the rack.

This process continues until the rack is full, and the systems usually have a depth accommodating between two to six pallets. As a pallet flow rack method of storage, this technique is beneficial for maximizing space, although there is the downside that goods at the back are inaccessible without first moving the items stored in front.

Carton Flow Racks

Warehouse managers can use carton flow racks to help improve workplace efficiency. An employee can place an item on one end of the rack, and an employee at the other end can remove the object. This technique is an excellent system for moving inventory around a warehouse as it saves the employee from having to walk from one location to another. While this method helps to reduce the time spent moving items, it is also beneficial for your staff.

One of the leading causes of workplace accidents is due to staff using improper lifting techniques. Although you will have provided manual handling training for each worker on the factory floor, accidents can still happen.

Accidents can both cause harm to your employee, and lead to a lengthy lay-off from work. You may need to reallocate staff or hire new staff. All these problems can be costly and certainly do not help efficiency on the warehouse floor.

As carton flow racking systems are modular, you can design a shape that fits into your current structure. Some methods will already work very smoothly in an operation, by building around those structures, carton flow racking helps to support your working practices, rather than forcing you to change them.

Cantilever Racking System

While many types of racking systems can support large and hefty items, cantilever racks are often the choice of many warehouse managers. These systems are versatile, and you can use them to support small and light pieces. However, typically managers utilize cantilever racks for supporting weighty items such as timber of steel poles.

The racks are studied, with steel supporting feet. The supporting arms come out horizontally from the frame, and these can have a slight angle to help keep the cargo secure.

You can vertically build these racks to help maximize warehouse storage space. As the frames are modular, you can add as many as you can accommodate. Each level can store a different type of merchandise, and the forklift drivers will have a clear view of which materials are in each rack.

Easy to construct and able to hold large and unwieldy loads, cantilever racking systems are popular for lighter items and for those that require heavy-duty support.

Selective Pallet Rack

In contrast to first-on-last-off systems, selective pallet racks allow access to any pallet at any time. They are the most commonly-used form of racking, and you can purchase them quite cheaply. As they offer easy access to each pallet, they can help when orders are unpredictable, and planning which items will be needed first is challenging.

These types of racks can be double-sided so forklift drivers can access the pallets from different aisles. Although they are popular for providing ease of access, they are not as useful when it comes to saving space as a high-density option such as push back racking.

However, fast-moving distribution centers can benefit from their open-plan design, and it is up to each manager to decide if they value space-saving or ease of access the most.

Roll-Formed Racking Systems

Roll-formed systems are different more for their construction rather than any change in design. Most racking is made from heavy-duty steel, as they often need to support very substantial weights. However, not every situation requires this facility, and if you need to store lighter goods, then roll-formed steel may be an excellent choice.

Manufacturers produce roll-formed frames by continuously bending a long sheet of metal until they make the required cross-section. They can provide many identical structures quickly, which helps to make it cost-efficient. Also, the steel tends to be lighter than 12 gauge structures, and so it is cheaper to purchase.

The process of producing roll-formed frames is very flexible, and manufacturers can shape the steel to accommodate many different sizes of holes and supporting arms. Due to the reduced weight, they are easy to construct on-site, and again, these are modular in design. Managers can take advantage of the vertical space in their factories and build up as high as their ceiling will allow.

Stacking Rack Carts

Sometimes there isn’t a suitable place to keep certain goods. Perhaps every last space has been allocated, or maybe you require the items on an irregular basis. In these cases, you may want to use stacking rack carts.

By placing racks on top of these carts, which run on casters, you can move the goods from one place to another. If staff need access to particular items, then they can quickly move the cart out of the way, and then put it back again when they have completed the work.

If a warehouse floor is busy, carts can even be moved outside and then wheeled back in at the end of the day. Every warehouse facility experiences busier times than others, and this type of pallet racking system makes material handling simple, while also being inexpensive.

Final Thoughts

Warehouse racking systems are an essential tool for all warehouse managers. Storage solutions come in many shapes and sizes and can help to make the most of every square foot of space in your facility.

Warehouse managers main priorities are keeping their staff safe, helping them to work at maximum efficiency, and ensuring boosting profitability. Choosing the correct storage system for each area of the warehouse can help to ensure you can meet these targets.

For professional advice, please contact one of our project managers at Shelving+Rack Supply, Inc. We’ll use our experience to help you choose the right storage solution for your warehouse.