Discover the common types of pallet rack systems
Some of the most common types of pallet rack systems used include:
Push-back pallet rack systems
Designed around the principle of organizing space by depth rather than width. This depth arrangement greatly reduces aisle space and increases storage density. In this configuration, each bay can be up to six pallets deep; each pallet stored on wheeled carts that fit onto rails.
The rails are slightly angled toward the load/unload side of the rack in order to take advantage of gravity, saving enormous amounts of energy for moving heavy pallets. When a forklift sets the pallet onto the cart, it drives forward and causes the pallet to bump the next pallet, causing the entire row of pallets to roll backwards. When removing a pallet from the front position the remaining pallets immediately stage themselves forward so that the next available pallet can be accessed. Push back rack is a LIFO (last in, first out) storage system.
Pallet flow systems
High density pallet storage systems that utilize depth to increase capacity. This system uses a slightly inclined rail with rollers that allow pallets to move easily along the sloped plane. These systems are also called gravity flow or dynamic flow systems. The pallet flow system often has complex motion and braking systems to control the speed of the moving pallet. Pallet flow racking systems are either a FIFO (first in, first out) or a LIFO (last in, first out) storage system. If the system is loaded from the back and unloaded from the front, it is FIFO; if the system is loaded and unloaded from the front it is a LIFO system.
Adjustable pallet rack systems
These systems provide easy accessibility to all products at all times – important if the inventory is rapidly depleted and restocked……ideal for quick turnover. A selective pallet rack system is commonly used in a “big-box” distribution application, as well as in retail store inventory rooms, cold storage applications, wholesale stores, etc.
Drive-in and Drive-thru
These systems are storage rack configurations that allow the forklift to drive directly into the lane of stacked rows (called a bay).
The difference between a drive-in and a drive-thru pallet rack system is simply whether the bays have an entry at only one end, or at both ends. Drive-in rack systems use a common entry and exit, while drive-thru systems have entry points at either end of the bay.
Because a drive-in racking system has only one entrance, it uses what is called a LIFO (last in, first out) storage method. With only one entrance, the last pallet put into a row is necessarily the first one to be taken out. A drive-thru storage system, with two different entry points, can also use a FIFO (first in, first out) storage method. With a FIFO system, pallets are loaded in one end and are pushed back to the other end, where they are then at the front of the row on the opposite side. The first pallet put into such a row is the first one taken out at the other end.
This system is advantageous for material with an expiration date or wherever shelf life is a major concern.
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