Which Type Of Pallet Racking Is Right For You?

When setting up or relocating to a new warehouse, one of the key decisions you’ll face is selecting the appropriate pallet racking system. The right choice depends on the type of inventory you’ll be storing, and getting it right is essential for maximizing the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of your warehouse operations.

At its core, pallet racking consists of upright steel frames connected by horizontal steel beams. Each bay comprises two frames and the requisite beams, providing support for the pallets. While this sounds straightforward, there are several factors to consider.

The storage capacity of a racking bay depends on factors such as the height of the frames and the number of beams. Upright frames typically range from 20 to 25 feet in height, with high-rise systems reaching up to 100 feet. The frames are reinforced with cross braces, which can be horizontal, diagonal, or a combination of both. Additionally, they may be welded or bolted together, with the bolted method being preferred in the UK.

Similar options apply to the crossbeams, which can be bolted to the frames or connected using a slot system.

Low and High Density Systems

Pallet racking systems can be categorized as low density or high density, each offering distinct advantages.

Low density systems, such as single-deep racks, provide easy access to inventory but require more aisle space. Double-deep racks allow for pallets to be stored behind one another, reducing the number of aisles needed. However, accessing rear pallets may require specialized equipment.

Drive-In and Drive-Through Racks

High-density options include drive-in racks, designed to hold multiple pallets deep. Forklifts enter the bay to place and retrieve pallets, making them suitable for “last in, first out” (LIFO) operations. Drive-through racks offer similar functionality but allow access from both ends, enabling “first in, first out” (FIFO) operations.

Flow Rack Systems

For products with expiration dates, flow rack systems are ideal. Pallets are loaded at one end and roll down a slight incline, facilitating easy retrieval. These systems are typically used for single products.

Ultimately, selecting the right pallet racking system requires careful consideration of your warehouse layout, inventory, and operational requirements. Consult with your pallet racking supplier to determine the most efficient solution for your business.