Case study

High density storage: Why the drive-in racking option should always be considered

Jan 11, 2022 | Pallet Racking

A high density storage system is characterised by its ability to meet a very significant primary requirement, and that is to maximise all available space within the warehouse. The purpose of high density storage is to convert vacant space into practical inventory accommodation and to provide greater storage volume within the same surface area through its highly compact configuration. Such rationalisation will promote better organisation with increased productivity therefore it’s honestly telling that high density storage is more than just a space saver; it saves time, money and effort, helping you create a successful warehouse operation.

Grouped within the high density storage category are various pallet racking solutions, all of which have the capacity to provide optimal space usage, however it’s their individual built in features which differentiate their incremental advantages…….

Take the pallet live racking system for example. Its highly compact, is suited to most fork lift truck (FLT) types and is ideal for fast moving perishable goods. The pallets travelling the deep running lanes are powered by gravity arising from the slightly tilted frame and fitted rollers, producing pallet movement. Once the pallets enter the lane, they journey to the opposing side where they are subsequently picked in the order they were loaded. This is known as the First-in First-out (FIFO) method which in practical terms means that stock is systematically rotated throughout the process.

The similarly configured push back racking system permits access from one side only, so as a new pallet is loaded the previous one is pushed further back. As the pallets are picked from the same side they were loaded the method used here is the First-in Last-out (FILO) making this system ideal for none-dated goods.

Push back Pallet Racking System

There’s also the shuttle racking system through which automatic control reduces the need for as much manual labour. Pallets are carried along the deep running lanes on a radio-controlled shuttle once loaded using the FLT, however time must be given for the shuttle to make each journey for which speed can only be improved with additional shuttles. The FIFO method is optional with this system and simple to incorporate through two paralleled access areas on opposing sides rather than just one.

Shuttle Racking - view of shuttle waiting to be loaded

In the instance of low turnover, high volume inventory the mobile racking system is another high density solution to consider. Made up of standard racking placed on a mobile base on guided tracks the racking can be closed together to form single, large compact unit. Pallets can be accessed by moving the racks to create a temporary aisle which is closed again by bringing the mobile racks back together once access is no longer needed. The moving racks are controlled by either an electronic or manual mechanism, however given that the system is designed to maximise storage capacity, only one aisle can be created at any given time. Mobile racking does have an extra security advantage given that it can be used to envelope high value or fragile goods protecting them from unnecessarily easy access, light and dust.

There’s Also The Drive-in Racking Option………

If you are considering one of the above solutions, don’t decide just yet, because there’s still one more ultra-high density racking option worth examining particularly if budget is limited and time-scales are tight, and that’s the drive-in racking system. Here’s why…..

Capital outlay is significantly lower

Drive-in racking is extremely dense, sturdy and versatile but that’s not all. It’s also the most affordable because the total number of components required to pull an entire system together is far less than that of the other systems mentioned. It’s a remarkable design without all the fuss. There’s no shuttle, no specialist mechanisms, no rollers and most notably, there are no horizontal beams. Rather than the usual gridded frontal view appearance, the drive-in racking consists of multiple lanes in which the FLT can be driven. These are formed using frames and vertical uprights with narrow ledge-like rails running the length of the lane on which the pallets are placed. The truck which doesn’t have to be specialist will travel forward as it makes its way into the lane to access the pallet location, and then reverse as it makes is way out. Drive-in racking is an impressive looking structure incorporating simplicity and sophistication whilst being a real money saver.

Drive-in racking

Density is less restricted

The drive-in racking system can run the length of the warehouse without the need to consider complex restricting factors, unlike the push-back racking system which can only adopt extreme density if the FLT has adequate power to push a lengthy row of multiple heavy pallets further back.

It too can operate on either the FIFO or FILO method

Although the drive-in racking lanes are accessed from a single side, the drive-through configuration incorporates double sided lane access allowing one side to be used to load the pallets and the other side to pick them. Not only does this enforce the FIFO method to allow stock rotation to be prioritised, but the two sides working together will enhance speed.

Quicker to build

With fewer components there’s less to construct making the fit-out process uncomplicated and swift. The time saved will enable you to bring the utilisation plans of your new system forward and begin operating sooner than first anticipated.

Drive in racking Rail Joints

Core components readily available at WSL

Whilst on the subject of time-scales, did you know that whilst demand for the drive-in racking has rapidly grown, a disconnected supply chain is adding weeks, if not months to the project lead times, unless of course; you choose WSL as your drive-in pallet racking solution provider.

WSL recently announced our entry into stocking, an additional service to go hand in hand with the design, manufacture and supply services we already provide. This is a huge step towards ensuring a swift service despite the network difficulties faced by the industry and whilst plans for a new 24,650sqft distribution warehouse at our site are underway, our current on-site warehouse space has enabled us to launch our new ex-stock service successfully.

With the core components required for your drive-in racking system in stock, countless happy house trying to source such components are eliminated so we can focus on delivering your project effectively and in a timely manner.

drive in racking

Your drive-in racking delivered safely and swiftly by WSL’s expert team

The ability to design a bespoke solution which can be delivered without delay has already eliminated anguish for many of our clients including one who required 30,000 new pallet locations in time for Christmas, and another for whom WSL was able to complete a full warehouse fit out within two weeks of the initial enquiry.

But this isn’t the only advantage of using Yorkshires largest racking provider to design and implement your drive-in racking solution. WSL is a Full SEMA Member as a storage solutions provider and manufacturer. For WSL this means more than just following quality and safety standards, we participate in setting those standards. And for you as our client, this means assurances that your project is guaranteed to be centred on the very highest levels of quality and safety.

Drive in drive through pallet racking

For your perfect drive-in racking solution, call the WSL team today on 0113 2045350 or email for an immediate discussion followed by a free site survey, design and quotation.

Get started

Discuss Your Project

Our service is completely client-centric. We provide all manufacturer types, as well as fitters, engineers and inspectors; which means that not only can we deliver your entire project from start to finish, but that we can provide a fully bespoke solution for your individual needs. Get in touch to find out more.