Small Business Brief

Inventory, Shipping & Transportation

Warehouse Buying Guide: How to Shop for Pallet Racks

We see them everywhere throughout the warehouse business: pallet racks. But believe it or not, finding the best system for your business’s needs isn’t so straightforward.

Read on to learn how to choose the best system for your industrial storage needs, and why warehouse managers agree that a pallet rack system is necessary for the efficiency of your business! 

What are Pallet Racks 

Pallet racks are formed by steel beams and uprights. They can go several stories high – the limit is the height of your warehouse.

They’re designed to store racks, also known as “skids,” which hold the warehouse’s products. Through this rack system, products are stored in a manageable way so that they’re able to be located, organized, and picked up in an efficient manner. 

Last but not least, they’re designed to be easily picked up by a forklift or pallet jack to make things even easier for workers. With the right knowledge, even a used pallet rack can be a budget and time-saving option for your warehouse.

Pallet Rack Capacity

Pallet rack capacity is one of the most important factors when seeking a pallet rack design. If you handle different kinds of products, you should always go with the pallet rack that’s able to hold the heaviest product.

Its capacity depends on:

  • beam spacing
  • height
  • beam dimension 

Pallet Rack Types

There are different kinds of pallet racks to suit the size of your warehouse and meet the goals of space efficiency and labor efficiency. In a busy distribution environment, it’s important that your employees are picking orders quickly. 

However, if your storage design isn’t optimal you won’t be hitting your productivity numbers. Time is wasted traveling to the pick location and searching for the product. 

A warehouse design that was working five years ago won’t necessarily be the design you need today. It’s recommended to review your warehouse design every five years and look at your options. 

Roll Form Pallet Rack

This pallet rack is made of flat rolled steel. It’s first bent, then welded or bolted into shapes. 

It gains its strength through the shapes it’s formed in, which means that less steel is used than in structural pallet racks. There are many variations and options that come with this kind of pallet rack. 

For instance, the shape of the holds can be square, tear drop, and key holed. 

Structural Pallet Racks

As its name suggests, structural pallet racks are formed from structural steel, which is created by reinforced channels. Because the structural steel is thicker, it’s stronger and more impact resistant than roll form pallet racks. 

They feature round holes and are either welded together or bolted. 

Push-back Racking

This utilizes wheeled carts to move pallets forward through the use of gravity. When a forklift removes a pallet, the one behind it moves forward to take the once empty space. 

These are best used for inventories with expiration dates. 

Drive-in Racking

Drive-in racking utilizes rails to support the edge of pallets that are in deep lanes. Forklifts drive onto the racking system to retrieve the pallet, then back out with the product off the rack. 

This is perfect for high turnover inventory, as well as for products with identical SKUs or for products that will be for the same over the road transportation. 

Pallet Flow Racks

These utilize many frames that support beams with wheel tracks. Pallets are loaded in the very back of the lanes, and gravity lets the other pallets roll forward where they’re removed at the front of the rack.

Like drive-in racking, this is perfect for pallets with the same SKU or for distribution centers that need to store fast moving pallets for outbound staging. 

Cantilever Racks

These use perpendicular arms that are supported by large bases attached to vertical spines. This setup is for supporting long loads and products. These racks come in roll form and structural form. 

Tire Storage Racks

These are created from roll form racks with narrow frames and light gauge beams. They’re shorter due to high pile storage permits and fire suppression concerns. 

Wire Spool Storage Racks

These can be created through roll form or structural rack form components. These beams are specially designed to connect both the front and rear side of an upright frame, so that spools of wire can be stored on steel spindles. 

This is used so that wire can be quickly dispensed without completely removing the spool. 

Small Components High Bay Racking

These utilize light gauge beams for tall racking, which is efficient for storing very small parts. For labor efficiency, an electric order picker can help move the operator to a pick location easier than a rolling ladder. 

Efficient Storage Options for Your Warehouse

By now you must have an idea of the wide variety of options available to you when it comes to pallet racks. The design you choose needs to be a custom option based on the size of your warehouse, how wide you want the aisles, and what the products are to be picked. 

It’s all about creating space efficiency and labor efficiency in order to save you valuable time. 

Want to read more articles on how to make the best decisions for your small business? Continue reading the articles on Small Business Brief for the best news and articles.