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Pallet Racking System

What is Pallet racking System?

Pallet racking is a system used to organize goods on pallets or similar supports, making them easier to store and transport throughout the supply chain. Initially developed during the Second World War to improve transport efficiency, it was originally constructed mainly from wood.

Today, pallet racking primarily involves grouping frequently used items in warehouses and logistics operations, with the racking designed to accommodate heavy loads specifically intended for pallet storage. Pallet loads are essential across various logistical stages, from internal handling within warehouses to transportation.

Various types of pallets exist, differing in dimensions and materials used for manufacturing. However, most adhere to standard measurements, ensuring compatibility with industrial racking, forklifts, and other machinery involved in their handling.

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Key benefits of pallet racking

Palletising goods for storage on industrial racks offers several advantages, including:

  • Streamlining loading and unloading times
  • Efficient use of space through compacting goods
  • Enhanced safety during product transport
  • Increased flexibility for handling and transportation
  • Simplified stock and inventory management
  • Decreased costs associated with handling, transportation, and storage

Choosing between selective and compact pallet storage systems

Within the array of pallet storage systems outlined below, two primary types of racking stand out: selective storage systems (or those offering direct access) and compact storage systems, designed to maximise rack density for increased warehouse capacity.

Before determining the most suitable pallet racking option, the company needs to assess its storage requirements and current circumstances. During this phase, consideration should be given to whether prioritising a system that fully utilises available space is necessary, particularly if the warehouse has limited surface area or a high per square metre floor cost. Alternatively, if space availability isn't a concern and the priority lies in ensuring easy and swift access to unit loads.

Factors such as the type of products to be stored, inventory management needs, and stock rotation frequency should also be taken into account.

The most compact storage systems include automated or semi-automated solutions, which won't be discussed in this list, as the focus is on non-automated pallet racking options.

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Types of Pallet Racking

Various systems of pallet racking are available, including:

Adjustable Pallet Racking

This system, the most prevalent and straightforward, is engineered to store pallets using forklifts that operate alongside the rows of racking. It isn't a compact system, thus necessitating a relatively broad surface for installation. Its primary benefits include direct and swift access to all stored unit loads, alongside its versatility and flexibility.

Very Narrow Aisle (VNA) racking

VNA pallet racking is a modification of the adjustable pallet racking system, designed to maximise warehouse space utilisation. By reducing the width of the work aisles, less floor space is required for installation while retaining direct access to all stored pallets.

Special narrow aisle forklifts are required to navigate and operate within the warehouse.

Double Deep Pallet Racking

Double deep pallet racking is a further development of the adjustable pallet racking system, designed to enhance storage capacity.

In this setup, efficiency is improved by incorporating an additional pallet position at the rear of the racking, allowing for unit loads to be stored at two depths. While the benefit lies in increased storage capacity, the drawback is a reduction in selectivity or direct access to each individual unit load.

Drive In and Drive Through Compact Systems

Both Drive In and Drive Through Compact Racking represent a form of high-density pallet racking system designed to maximise warehouse space utilisation.

In these systems, work aisles are eliminated, and forklifts enter the racking structure for loading and unloading operations.

Drive In racking operates on the Last-In-First-Out (LIFO) principle, featuring a single entry and exit aisle for the forklift. Conversely, the Drive Through system follows the First-In-First-Out (FIFO) method, with an access aisle for loading and an opposite aisle for pallet unloading.

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Live Storage for Pallets (FIFO)

FIFO Live Storage Pallet Racking is a storage solution characterised by its compact design and rows of rollers set at a downward angle, facilitating the movement of pallets from one end of the racking to the other.

Operating on a FIFO basis, whereby the first pallet to be loaded is the first to be removed, this system ensures optimal stock rotation within the warehouse.

Push-Back Pallet Racking

Push-Back Pallet Racking shares a similar design to FIFO live storage systems, but it operates on the LIFO (Last in, First out) principle.

In this system, when a forklift loads a new pallet, it pushes the preceding pallet further back. Utilising beds of rollers or trolleys, the Push-Back system enables pallet displacement through pushing.

Mobile Pallet Racking

In Mobile Pallet Racking systems, the structure is positioned alongside chassis guided by rails on the floor, facilitating lateral movement of the racking modules.

This compact arrangement allows forklift operation by creating open work aisles through the displacement of the racking blocks.