Efficiency is a key component in any warehouse facility. Finding the most practical and cost effective means of transporting and storing goods has a direct bearing on profits. Warehouse trolleys are commonly used to transport materials, speeding up production time and reducing worker fatigue. However, creating an effective storage system is just as important as having an efficient transporting process. Consider the following top seven storage systems.
Pallet Stack Framing
Erecting pallet stack frames is a cost effective and flexible means of storage. They are simply made from decks and posts, so they can be disassembled, moved and reassembled easily. This method allows multiple pallets to be stacked on top of each other even if the pallets are not stackable. Pallet stack framing is commonly used when businesses need additional storage on a temporary basis, such as during busy periods when demand for products is higher. One disadvantage is the issue of honeycombing. Honeycombing refers to what occurs when pallets are pulled and empty spaces develop. The empty spots cannot be filled until the entire lane is empty. If this situation occurs frequently, pallet stacking becomes less efficient since a lot of the floor space becomes unused.
As the name implies, block stacking is a term applied to storing stacks of unit loads in a block or lane pattern on a warehouse floor. The height of the stacks is determined based on specific variables, including weight, the ceiling height, the condition of the pallets and the size of stack a warehouse forklift can transport at once. Block stacking is inexpensive and quick to set up since it does not require the building of infrastructure. All that is needed is a warehouse floor. Honeycombing is an issue that also arises with block stacking. The best process for retrieval is “last in, first out.” Inventory that needs to be removed in a more specific order should not be stored this way.
There are five main types of pallet racks used for warehouse storage. They include the following.
- Single-deep pallet racks provide a solution to the honeycomb problem created by block stacking and pallet stack framing. This method allows easy access to each pallet regardless of the order in which it was placed on the rack. Once a pallet is retrieved, a new pallet can easily take its place. Thus, no space is wasted. The main advantage is flexibility. An industrial rack manufacture can be custom built, with various heights to meet specific needs. The main disadvantage is that a lot of space is needed to accommodate for the aisle space required.
- Double-deep pallet racks are basically just two single pallet racks that have been put together. This method is a viable option if space is a problem since it does not need as many aisles as single-deep pallet racks. However, honeycombing is a problem since all the spaces are not accessible. Additionally, a double-reach forklift is needed to move the pallets.
- A drive-in rack is basically double-deep pallet racks that include lanes large enough for a forklift to drive-in. However, the amount of space is small, so it may take a forklift longer to move pallets because of limited maneuvering. Typically, this method offers five to 10 pallet spaces and uses the “last in, first out” method for placement and retrieval.
- Pallet flow racks are efficient for warehouses that have a high volume of output. However, it is an expensive option. Pallet flow racks use a conveyor belt to move pallets from one end of the rack to the other. Pallets are typically removed in a “first in, first out” manner. When a pallet is retrieved, the next in line simply shifts on the belt to fill the space.
- Push back racks are ideal for warehouses using the “last in, first out” method of retrieval. A rail-guided carrier places the pallet into storage, while pushing the already existing inventory further back. Inventory in each lane is always in position for retrieval because as soon as a load is removed the next load is moved into position.