Warehouses increasingly need to save space. With consumers buying more and more items, warehouses have more and more product to store. At the same time, soaring building costs make renting or building more space cost prohibitive for many businesses.
To that end, space saving industrial racking systems are a must. Whether they enable warehouses to store more product in the same area, allow for narrower aisles, or eliminate aisles altogether, they all have one thing in common: They help warehouses make the most out of the space they have.
Pallet Flow Warehouse Racking
Industrial racking systems that maximize storage and minimize space include pallet flow warehouse racking solutions. These systems consist of gravity rollers that automatically move pallets from the loading side of the shelves to the picking side.
As a result, these systems allow for first in, first out (FIFO) picking of inventory while doubling or even tripling available storage space. They also cut down on labor because the system moves the pallets into picking position automatically, rather than requiring any physical handling of the pallets to get them to the right location.
This pallet racking system does require the use of aisles. However, thanks to its high density storage capacity (it can store between 8 and 20 pallets at a time), the aisles become less of an inconvenience. Instead, the system can increase overall storage capacity in the warehouse while maintaining aisles and without requiring any space expansion within the facility.
Pushback Warehouse Racking
A pushback warehouse racking system is similar to a pallet flow system in that the pallets are moved automatically through the system. It differs from a pallet flow system in that the forklift loads the pallet in the front of the system and in that it uses a last in, first out (LIFO) system.
As the pallet is loaded, it pushes the pallet in front toward the back of the shelving unit. As pallets are removed, the reverse occurs, and the pallets in back move toward the front. The process is similar to choosing milk from the shelf of a grocery store: The milk in back moves forward when you remove a gallon and place it in your cart.
The pushback warehouse racking system requires aisles. However, it can hold up to 6 pallets deep on the shelf. Thanks to this high-density storage, warehouses can store significantly more product in the same space. As an added benefit, pushback shelving preserves pick faces, making it easy to store multiple SKUs.
Drive-In Warehouse Racking
Drive-in warehouse racking systems are not as efficient as pushback or pallet flow systems because they require more time for loading and unloading pallets. However, they can reduce square footage requirements (or boost storage capacity) by up to 35 percent.
They work as a series of bays. Forklifts can drive into the bay to deposit the pallets at the back of the shelving unit. The unit can be fully loaded, from the front to the back, providing extremely high density storage without requiring the use of aisles or additional square footage. They provide LIFO organization to products and are generally best suited for warehouses that need to store a limited number of SKUs.
Movable Warehouse Racking
If you have ever been in a library where you moved the shelving open and closed with the turn of a handle, then you are familiar with the concept of movable shelving. Similar industrial racking systems are available for warehouses.
Mobile industrial shelving allows you to save on space by closing the shelving unit when it is not in use. When product removal is necessary, the shelving can be opened, the pallet removed, and the shelving closed again. This system may not be the most time efficient, since it takes time to open and close the shelving. However, it is one of the most space saving options when it comes to industrial racking systems.
Narrow Aisle Forklifts
Finally, there are machines, rather than shelving units, that can also help warehouses to save on space. These machines are narrow aisle forklifts. Designed to turn on a much smaller radius than traditional forklifts, they can be used in narrower spaces.
While purchasing these machines is an investment, it is much cheaper than building more space or moving to a larger and more expensive storage area. As a result, they can serve as a smart solution for warehouses looking to expand their storage capacity in their current space. Many of these machines can reduce required aisle space from about 12 feet to about 8 feet, or even less.
Space saving industrial racking systems are the way to go for warehouses looking to maximize the use of their current space. These systems store more pallets in the same space, reduce the need for aisles, or reduce the space required between aisles. As a result, they can increase your storage capacity significantly. If you need more space in your warehouse, try the pallet flow system, pushback system, drive-in system, and even try narrow aisle forklifts.
Here at Darr Equipment, we can provide you with warehouse solutions and machinery to meet your needs. Reach out today to find out what you can use to maximize space in your warehouse.