Choosing and installing the correct type of pallet racking is crucial. The products you store will determine the size of the pallets you’ll be using

The Ultimate Guide To
Pallet Racking

Choosing and installing the correct type of pallet racking is crucial. Selecting unsuitable racking or having it poorly installed can adversely affect the productivity of your warehouse. Here we guide you through 10 easy-to-follow steps to ensure you get your pallet racking right, from start to finish:

Consider Your Pallets

The first thing you’ll need to think about is your pallets. The products you store will determine the size of the pallets you’ll be using, and ultimately, what size racking you’ll need. You should also consider the quantity and how many pallets you’ll need to store the entirety of your stock. Depending on the type of stock you’ll be storing, you’ll need to decide whether standard pallets or plastic pallets will be most suitable.

Warehouse Layout

The size, shape and height of your warehouse as well as the positioning of entry and exit points and windows will need to be considered when determining what type of racking to use. A workspace solutions expert like Avanta UK will be able to carry out an in-depth analysis of your warehouse’s capabilities and provide you with ways to improve your warehouse’s layout, functionality and and operations to give you the most efficient working environment.

Choosing Storage
Racking & Handling System

Depending on the industry in which you operate, you’ll need to decide what type of racking to use. Some of these include:

Wide Aisle Racking

typically the most common type of racking, wide aisle is easy to install, versatile and relatively inexpensive. With adjusting beams, this racking can accommodate changing warehouse layouts and business models, and gives easy access to forklift traffic.

this type of racking is ideal for industrial, food & drink, manufacturing and production warehouses. These are typically installed in instances where floor space is limited by maximising the height at that goods are stacked and stored.

this racking does what it says on the tin; it provides twice the depth for storage, thus reducing the number of aisles required. Double deep requires a specialist fork lift that has either extending or side forks.

also known as Pallet Shuttle, this is one of the most space-efficient racking types available on the market. Drive in racking can increase capacity by up to 80% over conventional racking by allowing pallets to be stored on guide rails in the middle of the racking that forklift trucks can drive through.

live racking systems work on a first-in, first-out basis and offer extremely efficient levels of storage density. In the instance of pallet live racking, pallets are loaded onto rollers that are set at a fixed gradient to make for easier stock rotation and control.

A deep lane storage and retrieval system that has rechargeable batteries and is useful for handling whole pallets, storing in batch quantities and replenishing order picking tunnel systems. This type of racking is best used in cold stores and can operate either a first in, first out or last in, last out system.

Choosing the Most Suitable Vehicle For Your Operations

Depending on the nature of your operations, you’ll need to think about which vehicle is most suitable to work in harmony with your racking system(s). There are three types of commonly used warehouse vehicles, these are:
 
Counterbalance Forklift Truck – commonly used to unload goods in and out of the warehouse. These are available in either electric, gas or diesel powered to suit your exact needs.

 
Reach Truck – this vehicle is most commonly used to load and pick from regular types of racking e.g. Wide Aisle and Double Deep Racking.

 
Narrow Aisle Turret Truck – the clue is in the name. This vehicle is used to operate alongside narrow aisle racking. Very Narrow Aisle trucks are also an option.

Safety Considerations

In order to keep accidents to a minimum, it’s important that you display the correct safety and hazard signage around your warehouse, especially where loading and picking is concerned. For example, emergency exits need to be properly signed and free from clutter.
 
You should also consider barrier rails to reduce the impact of forklift accidents, walkway guard barriers to protect passers-by and pallet racking protectors to prevent damage to your racking.
 
It’s also important that you clearly specify various areas such as walkways and loading bays with colour coded line markings.

Which Aisle Orientation Is Best?

Firstly, it’s important to mention that the external dimensions of your warehouse should be close to a ratio of 2:1. This will ensure you have maximum flexibility of the internal layout, you’ll have more space for building expansion and you’ll have more choice when it comes to aisle orientation.
 
The most common (and reliable) types of racking orientation are:
 
Fishbone – this concept consists of the central aisle being vertical to length with the racks parallel to length.

Hair Comb – here, the central aisle is parallel to length with racks being vertical to length.
 
Whichever orientation you choose, be certain that the racking does not obstruct any fire exits. Using a professional workspace creation specialist like Avanta UK will ensure that the design, orientation and flow of goods is proposed with health and safety at its forefront.

Flow of Goods

I Shape – For warehouses over 30,000 sq m

L Shape – If there are site restrictions

U Shape – Recommended for better control over volume and dock utilisation

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