Pallet racking is an essential tool for any business that carries large amounts of stock, but it comes in many different types, and there are numerous issues that need to be considered when deciding what variety to use. You need to take into account your budget, and not just how much floor space you have to store the pallets, but also how high your ceilings are.
You need to decide what kind of pallet to use, and work out how often you will need to access the pallets. This will probably depend on the shelf life of the stock you store on those pallets, which will help determine whether you need a FIFO (first in, first out) or LIFO (last in, first out) system for your products. You must also make sure your pallets are compatible with other equipment you’ll need to use, such as fork lift trucks.
The most basic method of pallet storage is to simply place them in rows along the floor. Depending on how accessible you need them to be you can make the rows as deep as your floor space will allow, and if necessary even begin stacking them. You won’t need any specialised equipment for this, and it allows for a high storage density, but individual pallets will be poorly accessible and the space requirements will go through the roof (and more importantly, take up most of the floor).
Selective pallet rack
Selective pallet racking is the most popular solution these days. It uses uprights and cross beams to ensure your stock is protected inside a basic “shelf”. Typically this system uses multiple levels, allowing for pallets to be stored only one pallet deep. It’s a lower investment than denser storage solutions, and the pallets will be highly accessible, with LIFO or FIFO arrangements being possibilities. However, there’s a pretty low storage density with these pallets that you need to take into account.
Drive-in and drive-through pallet rack
As the name suggests, this system allows fork lift trucks direct access to the pallets, which rest on side rails rather than cross beams. This will usually be six to eight pallets deep per bay, leading to a LIFO system if your pallets are drive-in, and a FIFO if it’s drive-through. This is a popular system if you have a large quantity of pallets storing identical products. It’s cheaper than a flow rack system, and allows for a high storage density, but accessibility is compromised and fork lift trucks can damage the stock.