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Rack, Decking, Shelving, Movable ShelvingFlow Rack, Pallet Flow, Mezzanines

This page covers static storage, flow storage, and movable aisle systems. Included are pallet rack, shelving, flow rack, and roller flow systems. Each section provides a synopsis of the particular equipment as well as links to vendors that provide that equipment.

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Pallet rack comes in many different capacities, bay widths, and depths. The most common sized is 99 or 101" wide bays and 42" deep. Pallet rack can be decked or left with only the beams to support a pallet. There are 100's of rack manufacturers, so only a few major manufacturers are shown below. Unless your project is very large, it is likely that you will purchase your pallet rack from a local dealer or distributor. You may also want to contact a used equipment supplier for rack at a reduced price. In addition to pallet rack, there are several variations: double deep rack, push back rack, cantilever rack, pallet flow rack, drive in rack, drive thru rack. Pallet rack can be used to support a multi-level pick module. It is even possible to have a rack supported building.

If you want help looking at denser rack storage alternatives, click here.

Vendor Links:

Like pallet rack, decking is produced by a number of different manufacturers. In addition to wire decking, you can purchase corrugated steel decking, steel beam inserts, or even cut 2x4's to size. The advantage of wire decking is that it is non-flamable, it covers the entire pallet area, it provides uniform support, and it permits sprinkler systems to operate unimpeded in the event of a fire.

Vendor Links:

Shelving / Cabinets / Drawers / Lockers

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Shelving is another commodity item available from a variety of manufacturers and distributors. In addition to traditional bin shelving, it is also possible to purchase heavier duty shelving with stronger uprights. In fact, pallet rack uprights can be used to create very heavy duty shelving. Narrower depth pallet rack frames can be combined with close horizontal beam spacing and either wire decking or solid wood or metal decks to create this heavy capacity product. In addition to shelving, there are cabinets, compartmentalized drawers, and movable aisle products.

See Also: Pallet Rack

Vendor Links:

See also: Pallet Rack

Movable Aisle Shelving

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Movable aisle shelving is shelving that moves on wheels, selectively opening only a single (or limited) number of aisles at one time. By limiting aisles, the amount of storage is dramatically increased, and space savings of up to 90% are possible. You should use this product only for low access materials where you don't expect multiple pickers to be working at the same time.

Vendor Links:

Case or carton flow rack is used to create a very dense picking environment, while at the same time, permitting storage of a substantial amount of reserve stock. Flow Rack stores stock in lanes front to back so that only one case is presented at the forward pick location at one time. When the case is emptied, it is removed, and all of the cases behind it flow forward. This insures FIFO consumption of product. Flow rack is replenished from one side (the back) and picked from the other side (the front). The original flow rack consisted of roller wheels making up lanes with dividers between them. Newer rack uses small rollers that resemble conveyor rollers, but are only about 3/4" in diameter and 9 to 12" long. Boxes track perfectly on the rollers and the rollers can accommodate a wide variety of box sizes without having to reset tracks and lane dividers. Flow rack creates an extremely dense (and therefore efficient) picking environment, but it does take up a fair amount of space (two aisles and the deep storage for each and every SKU, whether you need it or not).

If you want help determining what products are suitable for flow rack, click here.

See Also: Pallet Rack and Shelving

Vendor Links: (see shelving and pallet rack vendors as well as:)

Pallet flow lanes can be set on the floor or into existing pallet rack. Pallet flow relies on gravity to have a loaded pallet move into position when the pallet in front is removed. In a picking operation, the pallet may have eaches on it. In a bulk operation, the pallet may be taken out of any rack storage location, enabling the pallet behind to index forward.  Pallet flow can be very economical, but it gets more expensive the deeper and heavier the product to be stored. If pallet flow is used at higher levels, it is important that it be equipped with dampening mechanisms to prevent gravity from causing the pallet or the load stored on the pallet from falling forward when it hits the front stop. Pallet flow can be quite deep, if proper dampening mechanisms are used. Pallet flow can be automated using AS/RS mechanisms. Pallet flow is FIFO (First in First Out) so it insures stock rotation. Another form of deep storage is called Push Back Rack, and here, the storage system is LIFO (Last in First Out). With Push Back Rack, the pallets sit on carriers that nest forward and push back up to 5 deep.

If you want help evaluating deep storage products, click here.

Vendor Links:

See also:

Mezzanines can open up space in your facility by moving some functions to a non-floor level. It is important that you consider material movement to and from the mezzanine. You should locate slower moving products on the mezzanine or provide a mechanism for getting material to and from the mezzanine (such as a monorail or conveyor). Mezzanines can accommodate some manufacturing operations as well as order start and order packing and checking functions. You can also locate offices under and on top of mezzanines - the ones up in the air can make it easier for a supervisor to view the operation he is responsible for. Make sure you will not have a problem with climate control (too hot or too cold) at different times of the year. Also make sure that you don't ruin the benefit of the mezzanine by putting too many supporting columns underneath.

Decking is an essential element in the construciton of mezzanines. The most basic decking is plain particle board or plywood, but many different companies offer decking that can provide better ergonomics and fire safety. Rubberized decking can be installed in high-traffic pick areas. Metal grating decking can be installed in places where fire regulations require it.

Mezzanine Vendor Links:

Decking Vendor Links:

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