Storage is often an issue in both warehouses and large-scale stockrooms. Pallet racking is widely employed as a means to maximise both space and efficiency. But what is a pallet racking system, and how is it used?
Understanding Pallet Racks
Pallet racking systems involve three main components. Shelving is used to provide vertical storage, and ranges from support beams to rollers or rails, depending on the type of system being used. Second, a vehicle such as a forklift is used to access the goods being stored. The third component is a pallet, or skid. Traditionally made of wood, they are also available in plastic or metal, depending on the goods that will be stored upon them. They are also available in a variety of sizes and are stored on the shelves as mobile storage platforms.
Five Uses for Pallet Racking Systems
Prior to a pallet racking installation, the size and shape of the storage area must be considered, followed by the number and location of access points. This will help determine the type of system best used for the space available. For example, a spacious warehouse will use a different system than a large food supplier. The types of goods being stored will also affect which systems will work.
Drive-In and Drive-Through Storage
Drive-in pallet racking typically involves a space with only one entrance. A forklift brings in pallets and stacks them from the far end to the entrance. This method is known as LIFO, or “Last In, First Out”. It is most commonly used for non-perishables and is often employed when transporting goods.
A similar system, the drive-through, has a secondary entrance at the far end. This allows perishables to be removed in the order they arrived. As such, it is commonly referred to as a FIFO, or “First In, First Out” system.
Narrow Aisle Racking
Well-suited to the limited space of a large store’s stockroom, narrow aisle racking makes the most of limited space by employing a special narrow forklift. The pallets are stored in either single or double layer depths. In many cases, the lift may be guided by a wire or beam added during the pallet racking installation to avoid accidents.
Gravity Flow System
This is a form of FIFO system which uses a gravity roller and braking system which guides the pallets down a sloped plane. As a pallet is removed from the bottom of the lane, the pallets slide down via gravity to fill the gap. Push back systems are best used for high-density storage.
Mobilised Compact Pallet Racks
Designed to maximise the amount of storage space, this system mounts pallet rows onto motorised tracks. As a result, an aisle may be created for forklift access at any time by shifting entire rows at the press of a button.
Push Back System
This is another high-density type of pallet racking which utilises LIFO. Rails capable of holding up to six pallets are placed at a slight incline from the loading space and fitted with rollers. As the forklift adds a pallet, it gently pushes back the others in that lane. When removing a pallet, the others slide forward to take its place.
Pallet racking systems are versatile and may be customised for a variety of industrial or commercial storage needs. However, the cost for installation of a system depends greatly upon the type of system used, the materials employed, and the size of the storage area. As such, they are not well-suited for small storage spaces and specific types may not be within the company’s budget. For a no-obligation consultation, you can speak to our experts by calling 0800 345 7088 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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