What Type of Warehouse Shelving Should I Use?
Warehouse shelving is a broad term. There are many variables to consider when choosing shelving such as the size of storage space, how much inventory needs to be stored, what types of materials are being stored, and how much organization is needed. Here is a breakdown of the different types of warehouse shelving so you can decide the best option for your warehouse storage needs.
Use metal industrial shelving to organize and store your smaller, hand-loaded inventory. Industrial shelving is a versatile storage system that accepts materials of a variety of shapes and sizes. Common styles of shelving open or closed. Open shelving allows for high visibility, making it easy to hand pick inventory. Closed shelving is ideal for items that you don’t want contaminated by dust or light. It also reduces visibility for items you don’t want in plain sight. When assessing the types of industrial shelving systems to use, consider the size and weight of the inventory being stored, as well as your desired degree of accessibility to products.
Many of today’s warehouses use selective racking because it creates a convenient “shelf” for pallets and inventory. A pair of uprights and crossbeams make the space, and you can utilize several racks one or two pallets deep. With a selective rack, you can use either a first in first out or last in first out system, freeing up shelf space as you need it. However, be aware of your ceiling heights. Too many pallets in one bay can cause a dangerous situation, while too few won’t utilize your space properly. Selective racking is best if you want to use both FIFO and LIFO loading systems and if you need accessibility to all pallets at one time.
Drive-through or drive-in racks are popular because they allow the forklift or other truck to drive directly into the bay to load and unload inventory. This saves the warehouse time, money, and labor, which benefits workers physically and emotionally as well as financially. With a drive-in system, 6-8 pallets per bay rest on side rails, tied together at their uprights. This leaves the bay open and accessible. Drive-in systems are typically cheaper than flow rack systems, and allow high storage density as well as quick turnaround. However, driving trucks directly into bays can easily damage racks and inventory.
Push Back eliminates the need for aisles, which can reduce potential damage. This storage provides last-in-first-out (LIFO) product management and is great for alike products stored in bulk. To load, lift drivers set a pallet in the front of the system on a rail cart. As more pallets are added to the rack, the last pallet is pushed one position farther into the rack. A gravity system makes unloading an easy task with gravity feeders that push the next pallet in line towards the unloading space. This solution is perfect for warehouses that store different product types in one area.
Flow rack systems allow the inventory to “flow” out of the bay with minimum labor. Flow racks use gravity roller conveyors with slightly pitched wheels to transport inventory. Once one pallet is unloaded, the next one slides easily into its slot. Flow racks can be twenty or more pallets deep, and there is no potential damage from driving into the bay. However, these racks are the most expensive options and don’t give you access to all pallets at once.
The staff of Warehouse1 is familiar with all of these pallet rack types, as well as others you may need. If you have questions, feel free to contact us.