Storing any kind of material properly is always easier said than done. Just ask anybody with an attic or storage room at home. It doesn’t take long for the place to become enveloped in dust, with items being scattered around with very little organization whatsoever. Worse, you may later find that some mishandled items that have been rendered broken and useless.
Imagine, then, how much more difficult it is for warehouses that must deal with properly storing hundreds of thousands of items in a fixed, enclosed space. This is the perennial challenge facing the warehousing industry. Given that these items may also need to be retrieved at a moment’s notice, warehouses need to use the proper storage equipment to ensure that they can be trusted with their responsibility of storing items.
One of the most reliable solutions is the pallet racking system. This involves storing materials on pallets that are stacked on top of one another and supported by cross beams, similar to a shelving system. The biggest advantage this offers is allowing the warehouse to maximize its floor space by enabling items to be stored vertically as well. Furthermore, the pallets are built to be strong enough to support all kinds of materials, thus offering security that the items will not be damaged while in storage.
This makes pallet racking one of the most common storage systems used by warehouses. Here are some of the different ways pallet racking can work:
Selective pallet rack
The selective pallet racking system is the most basic and common one used by warehouses today. The pallets are supported by horizontal beams, which are also adjustable to enable fewer or more racks to be placed on the same vertical uprights or to accommodate different sizes of materials.
The ease of access to the products stored and versatility offered by selective pallet racking makes it a convenient and widely used option. However, it also has the lowest storage density among all pallet rack types. Hence, it is best used in conditions where space is not a problem, and convenience is paramount.
Drive-in pallet rack
Drive-in pallet racks, on the other hand, allow a forklift to enter the rack in order to pick up items. A variation of this, the drive-through pallet rack, allows the forklift to enter the rack from multiple sides. The use of a forklift makes it ideal for picking up heavy materials that would require multiple workers to lift.
Because of the use of a forklift, drive-in and drive-through pallet racks offer a much greater storage density compared with a selective pallet rack. Although there are dangers of product damage due to possible collisions between the forklift and the rack, these are still the preferred options when storage space is limited and large amounts of product are routinely moved in and out of the warehouse.
A motorized mobile pallet rack is a new innovation that places the shelves on mobile systems. This allows aisles to be opened and closed depending on the shelf to be accessed, thus eliminating the need to have an aisle between each shelf, while keeping all racks accessible.
This makes mobile pallet racking the best way to maximize storage space. It enables very compact storage and multiple racks to fit in a limited space. Aside from saving much on floor space, it also generates great savings in warehouse operational costs like lighting, heating, and cooling. As a result, it is also best for warehouses operating on a smaller budget, and whose conditions entail items not being regularly retrieved or handled.