Pallet racking is the core strength of any warehouse managing high volumes of palletised goods. It’s a system designed and built to enable the warehouse to safely handle and systematically store fully loaded pallets in multiple rows and on multiple levels.
Compact pallet racking systems are becoming increasingly popular because they lessen the need for numerous working aisles to maximise storage capacity. Space utilisation is a real necessity in today’s warehouses as businesses remodel their processes in order to stay abreast of our evolving industries. At a time where warehouse space has become limited due to a huge peak in demand, compact pallet racking offers a sustainable, cost effective solution for those looking to utilise their existing space. So what is a compact pallet racking system?
A standard pallet racking configuration consists of an aisle running between each row of pallets allowing access to every pallet which is loaded and picked using a fork lift truck. When in a warehouse that has a compact pallet racking system installed, you’ll notice the aisle between each row is missing and that the racks run deeper than the depth of just one pallet. This compact configuration allows maximum use of space by utilising the full cubic area so that all available floor and height space can be put to good use.
Available in multiple formats with various capabilities, compact pallet racking can offer crucial support to your inventory including the option of assisted stock rotation:
Pallet Live Racking – Increase storage capacity by up to 75% by storing up to six pallets deep with pallet live racking, a highly compact storage system that offers assisted stock rotation by working on the First-in First-Out (FIFO) basis. The only two working aisles require done for loading and one picking are located at either side of the structure which is purposely tilted and fitted with rollers within the lanes. This allows a freshly loaded pallet to make its own way through the lane where it will head towards the picking face. If a pallet already exists on the picking face, the newer pallet will stop forming a queue and will only move forward once the first pallet has been picked. If stock rotation isn’t a priority the system can be configured to form push back pallet racking which works on the First-in Last-out (FILO) basis and only requires one working aisle from where both loading and picking activities carried out.
Shuttle Racking – An automated deep storage system which uses a radio controlled shuttle to transport pallets along the long channels. The pallets are loaded onto the shuttle as it sits on the lip of the lane and once loaded a hand held radio control panel is used to move the shuttle carrying the pallet to your desired location. You can choose between the FIFO and FILO method and can switch between the two on demand. The shuttle can only carry one pallet at one time so if inventory turnover is low and you’re looking to increase storage capacity then shuttle racking is certainly an option. What’s more, additional shuttles can be added and the system reduces time consumed by operating fork lift trucks.
This video shows a shuttle racking system in action:
Drive-in Drive-through – Pallets are placed deep into the structure by allowing forklift trucks to enter the lanes in order to stack pallets bottom to top and from the back to the front. Choose between drive-in and drive-through pallet racking both of which offer highly dense storage however drive-through works by the FIFO method and requires two entry aisles. On one side the pallets are loaded whilst they are picked on the opposite side. Drive in pallet racking only requires one aisles and works by the FILO method allowing you to use up to 85% of your floor space for storage.
It’s not just assisted stock rotation and maximal use if space which makes compact pallet racking systems so popular. Compact pallet racking can support your operation and save you money in other ways too:
Reduce energy consumption – Compact storage is ideal for frozen and chilled chambers because it increases storage capacity within the same footprint area. This saves money by reducing energy consumption thanks to the ability to store more pallets within a specific area. You save money because this reduces the cost per pallet stored. And it’s not just the money you save; compact storage in cold store environments can also play a part on reducing your warehouse carbon footprint too. All of the above mentioned compact pallet racking types would be perfectly suited to cold of frozen environments however mobile pallet racking is another option. With mobile racking you can use up to 90% of floor space to store pallets and there are no fixed aisles. Instead the racks which sit on mobile bases are closed together and an aisle is created to gain access as and when required by moving the racks to open one aisle at a time.
Optimise picking – You can make significant improvements to you picking process with compact storage because it creates better organisation with reduced chance of pallets going missing because they have nowhere to go. The systems that work by the FIFO method save time and money spent on manual stock rotation and allowing pickers to pick the first pallet on the picking face without the need to check the dates first.
Increase warehouse safety and product security – Compact pallet racking largely reduces the need for as much fork lift truck activity and where it is required its often on opposite sides so less chance of collision. For pallets stored deep within the compact system, they are less likely to come into contact with anything that can cause them damage. For high value or delicate items compact storage can protect the pallets from other objects or elements including light and dust, especially when mobile pallet racking is used.
Relying heavily on the services of their warehouse operations, many businesses throughout 2020 have been forced to assess their operational space and how they use it. This concept will continue long into 2021 and compact pallet racking could really make whatever amount of space you have in your warehouse work for you whether your looking to further utilise your current space or want to make the best use of new warehouse space.
Contact our team today on 0113 2045350 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out which compact pallet racking system would best suit your warehouse space and operation