Selective pallet racking is the most versatile and cost effective pallet storage solution available. Unlike other pallet rack systems, selective racks provide direct access to the stored merchandise at all times, which is particularly important in warehouse applications where the goods are turned over very quickly.
The most commonly manufactured style of selective pallet racking in the U.S. is roll-formed “teardrop” racking, named after the distinctive shape of the holes in the column of the upright. These teardrop holes facilitate the quick installation and/or reconfiguration of horizontal load beams into the system, which means that the initial cost of installation is much lower than other types of pallet storage and that the shelf heights can be quickly and easily re-sized as the application requires.
Selective pallet racking can also be manufactured in a structural, bolt-together configuration. In this type of system, heavy duty beams are bolted to the vertical columns. This is a much more labor-intensive process, and typically more costly, but it results in a storage system of a much greater weight-bearing capacity. So much so that structural pallet racking can be designed to support not only pallets but the roof of the facility itself, entirely replacing a building’s vertical support I-beams. This is commonly referred to as a “rack supported building”.
VNA racking systems allow warehouse operators to increase storage capacity by shrinking the aisles between each row of racks. Because VNA systems can employ aisles as narrow as 5.5', these systems are typically installed in conjunction with a guidewire that is embedded into the concrete floor that serves to prevent human-steered machines from colliding with the racking. This wire provides tracking for wire-guided turret trucks or other wire-guided picking machines and ensures that these reach trucks travel only on a predefined path without reducing vehicle speed or efficiency. VNA racking is a terrific way to maximize usable storage space without sacrificing picking or putwaway productivity, but the cost of the wire-guided machines sometimes poses a bit of a financial hurdle.
Push-Back Racking is a high density storage system that combines the space saving benefits of a Drive-In Rack system with vastly improved merchandise accessibility and reduced labor costs. Also known as a “cart-on-rail” system, Push-Back Rack is essentially comprised of several stacked, wheeled carts that fit onto rails within each section of rack. The rails are angled slightly forward so that all of the carts are pulled to the front by gravity. When a forklift operator puts a pallet into the front-most cart it bumps the next pallet (and any pallets behind it) backwards. Similarly, when a pallet is removed from storage, gravity pulls the remaining pallets forward, automatically staging them for the next pick. Due to this configuration, Push-Back Rack is a LIFO, (last in, first out), storage system and therefore its applications typically do not include perishable items such as foodstuffs or pharmaceuticals.
Due to the height of the stacking carts, Push-Back Rack systems typically max out at 5 or 6 pallet positions deep. For applications where deeper storage is required, the cart system can be replaced with Pallet Flow Rail, a type of pallet conveyor system that allows the pallets to be stored and accessed without the assistance of gravity, which allows storage of up to 9 pallets in a single line.
Drive-Thru racking is a high density pallet storage solution which allows a forklift to drive directly into each storage bay. Because there are no gaps for aisles, Drive Thru rack systems allow for maximum utilization of floor space, but because of the tight storage configuration, specific pallets may not be accessible at certain times. Therefore this increased space utilization comes at the cost of accessibility and is only suitable for applications where items are very deep in SKU. For this reason, it is vitally important to conduct an inventory turnover study before designing a Drive-Thru rack system; an improper design might result in only 50 - 60% utilization of the structure and actual decrease labor productivity.
When a Drive-Thru rack system can only be accessed from one entry point, for example if the other end is up against a wall, it is commonly referred to as a Drive-In Rack system.
Pallet Flow Systems are high density storage systems that, like Push-Back Rack systems, utilize depth to increase capacity and gravity to reduce labor costs. Pallet Flow Systems use inclined rails with rollers to glide pallets through the rack and out to the other side in FIFO (first in, first out) order. Due to the weight of the pallets being moved and the potentially large amount of momentum gained during each shift, these implementations often rely on braking systems to control the speed of the pallets moving through the system. Because these systems can be of a virtually limitless depth and pallets in the center of the flow rail are essentially trapped until the pallets ahead of them are removed, applications are typically limited to commodities that do not have expiration dates and are very deep in SKU.
As the name implies, Cantilever Rack Systems utilize arms that span out from central columns to store very long items which would otherwise not fit into standard selective racking. Cantilever Racking is particularly well suited for very long items such as timber and piping; for that reason common applications include lumber yards, woodworking shops, and plumbing supply warehouses.
Flow Rack or Carton Flow is a form of shelving that utilizes long spans of inclined track with rollers to guide cartons from the back of the unit to the front. Because cartons are restocked from the rear of the module and picking occurs at the front, both can be performed simultaneously and seamlessly while reducing travel time and increasing overal pickingng efficiency, making Flow Rack the perfect choice for increasing productivity in pick & pack operations.
Conveyor systems allow quick and efficient transportation for a wide variety of materials and are used where companies are looking to increase speed and reduce labor expenses in facilities where travel time is significant.
Many kinds of conveyor systems are available and are used according to the various needs of different industries. These uses range from non-powered, gravity or manually driven roller conveyors for cartons or totes to automated, fully-powered belted conveyors for transporting individual units such as polybags. More customized, overhead solutions are also available for conveying discarded cartons to trash compactors or totes to picking stations throughout a facility.
Specialty conveyors can also be used to load or unload trucks that have docked at your facility. Nested, pitched, skate-wheel conveyor is a relatively simple solution that relies on gravity to move cartons from the nose of a truck down to the dock where it can be palletized by a warehouse employee or forward to another conveyor. On the other end of the pricing and complexity spectrum, the fully automated version of this process is a powered, cantilevered, extendible belt conveyor which features an arm that can be retracted or extended into a truck and sequential belts that automatically transport a carton to your existing conveyor system. Like all conveyor components, each product has its own specific advantages and applications.
Conveyor systems can be expensive, but worthwhile investments if they are designed efficiently and appropriately for a given application. Because there is such a wide breadth of conveyor types and options, it behooves facility managers to hire firms such as Headzup, who have years of expertise in material handling, to consult on overall system design and conveyor selection to ensure that the maximum ROI is achieved
Garment on Hanger (GOH) Systems utilize pipes to transport and store hanging clothes within a warehouse. GOH Systems vary widely in complexity, density, and cost. At the lower end of the spectrum are simple, one tier GOH Systems with floor mounted piping that operators access by manually transferring each hanger from mobile rolling racks to the static storage rail.
At the other end of the spectrum are high density, multi-tier storage solutions with intricate catwalk systems, extendible booms for unloading specialized GOH trailers, and interlinking trolleys that travel along the pipe-rail, allowing a single operator to convey hundreds of items at a time. Such systems can even be powered to allow operators to move massive lines of product up steep inclines to additional levels of storage.
For warehouses specializing in pick & pack operations for light to medium duty commodities, Pallet Rack Supported Mezzanines are an ideal way to increase available square footage within an existing facility. Unlike their Structural Mezzanine counterparts, Pallet Rack Supported Mezzanines are significantly less expensive, faster to install, and easily customizable and reconfigurable. In warehouses with high ceilings that primarily utilize GOH rail or shelving for picking, a Mezzanine can increase a facility’s usable square footage by as much as 100%.
Structural Mezzanines, while more costly and labor intensive to install than Pallet Rack Supported Mezzanines, are much better suited for supporting heavy loads. Because Structural Mezzanines utilize heavy duty steel I-beams as columns and employ long span trusses to support the floor decking, fewer columns are needed in the design resulting in a much more open floor plan. For this reason, Structural Mezzanines are a superior solution for operations that value versatility on the floor.
Steel shelving is a very inexpensive solution for pick & pack operations which have many SKUs that are relatively shallow in depth. Because the shelving structure is built using relatively high gauge steel, vertical expansion potential is very limited, so shelving is also typically the storage unit of choice for warehouses with low ceilings or mezzanines.
Steel shelving comes in two general varieties: boltless “rivet” shelving, which is assembled much like pallet rack without the use of nuts or bolts, is the less expensive variety due to its lighter-duty steel construction and the ease with which it is assembled and configured; and nut-&-bolt shelving which is of a heavier gauge and therefore more expensive and can be used to store significantly heavier products.
Wire Mesh Decking is most commonly installed in selective pallet rack to create shelving for picking operations. It can also be used in normal pallet storage operations to prevent pallet debris or the contents of a pallet from falling through the rack structure. Wire mesh decking comes in a variety of different gauges and opening sizes which affect the maximum loading capacity of the deck, and a variety of aesthetic finishes.
While several forms of solid decking are also available, most municipalities nonetheless encourage the use of wire mesh because it does not inhibit the penetration of sprinkler system spray in the event of a warehouse fire.
You've spent a lot of time and money constructing a state of the art storage system, now it's time to protect your assets. Even the best and most highly trained forklift operators can have difficulty navigating today's narrow aisle warehouses. In congested working conditions, collisions are inevitable. When properly implemented, guardrails and post protectors can absorb and even deflect impacts from forklifts and other warehouse equipment, successfully protecting your material handling equipment and your most valuable assets: your employees.
Industrial Line Marking, more commonly refered to as Floor Striping, is used in warehouses, and manufacturing centers to improve storage efficiency by clearly designating work areas, and to promote safety by clearly demarcating pedestrian access routes and forklift truck aisles without completely restricting locomotion.
Headzup offers Floor Striping solutions for every slab and pavement finish to ensure that the applied paint lasts for years with minimal maintenance.
Every warehouse has one piece of equipment that is essential to making things run, that is Forklifts. We trust Maintainco for all our forklift needs. They will make sure that you find the forklift you need, while making it a smooth transaction.