Ready to examine warehouse storage options? This article has been produced to help you fully understand your options. Let’s get started…
The key types of warehouse storage
If you are looking at a new or redesigned warehouse, you are probably considering a new warehouse layout to facilitate productivity in materials handling. Before making any further choices, you will need to know what inventory will be handled in the warehouse and what the workflow will be as stock arrives and departs the facility. You likely already know this as soon as you started a new design layout. So what is next? It is time to choose warehouse storage options. That would include racking and other warehouse storage technologies to fill the space and fulfill on your warehouse plan.
Consider these 6 warehouse storage options
To begin with, there are six core types of warehouse storage that you will be considering:
- Pallet racking:
- Mobile shelving
- Multi-tier racking
- Mezzanine flooring
- Automated vertical storage
These warehouse storage options all have very specific uses. Which one(s) you choose depends on the size, weight and type of inventory that will be handled through your warehouse. The square footage and warehouse layout will also impact these choices.
Let’s start with the journeyman of storage in a warehouse…pallet racking.
Pallet RackingThe humble wooden pallet
Pallets: These inventory platforms are made of plastic, metal or wood. They have been around since the dawn of the materials handling industry and are the most critical tool in moving materials in a warehouse.
Any item that is delivered and stored in boxes or containers and requires inventory tracking will be placed on one of these and stored on pallet racking storage.
And so, the most important considerations with pallet racking are access/movement, weight, stability and space. Weight limits must be strictly adhered to. As well, all pallet racking must be inspected and repaired regularly to ensure it safe. Your specific space requirements or limitations will dictate aisle design. Be sure to consider whether forklift access will be forward and backward, or if the trucks will need turn with a pallet and load.
Types of pallet racking
Here are the main types of pallet racking:
Carton Flow Racking and Carton Live Storage
These are bays with roller tracks and gradients. Stock rolls down and be replaced as needed. Better for smaller, unboxed stock, hence the name.
Storage using beams that are anchored at one end. They are used for long loads. Think: wood, pipe, drywall, etc.
This is often used to store wiring or cables, or chains, in home reno outlets such as Home Depot. Spooled coils hold the inventory. Then it can be pulled to length and cut as needed.
Double Deep Racking
Pallets stored two rows deep, requires a specialised forklift or a double deep handling attachment.
Pallets slide back and forth on a rail. This useful for to create more storage space.
This is Drive-in racking where stock can be placed or retrieved from two sides.
Racking with racks affixed roof of the warehouse and walls. Allows for high storage of inventory. Often automated access is used. A technology-based smart retrieval system is sometimes installed in high-bays.
In this racking type, racks are mounted on carriages. They move on rails facilitated by electric motors. The mobile racking is controlled by wireless remote control. It allows for high density storage.
Narrow Aisle Racking
A narrower system for increased storage, recently forklifts have been developed which can work effectively in these systems.
Pallet Live Racking
This type of racking is fitted with with rollers on an incline to allow pallets to roll down an incline. Some refer to this as gravity flow rack storage.
This rack has deep aisles that allows inventory to be placed deeper into the rack shelves.
A shuttle runs on a track and can move palletized items into the back of the rack storage.
This is upright storage rack used for long stock that is held in place by metal arms. Items are typically stored vertically to allow for easy access so they are placed and held in position individually to allow for easy picking of single units.
Static shelves are used to hold inventory and not pallets with inventory on them. They cannot be accessed with a forklift. Shelves are used for easy human access to inventory. Product is picked from them by hand.
Shelves are used for smaller, lighter stock that can be accessed easily and must be handled with an element of care. Picking and placing is done manually by workers and not with the help of machines.
When choosing shelves you will consider their height – are they within easy reach of a worker standing on the floor or via a ladder. Weight of stock held on shelves will also be a consideration as you decide.
Mobile shelving is yet another for your warehouse storage options. It uses storage shelves fitted with a traction system. The inventory held in mobile shelving can be packed tightly. It is high density storage that is deal for archives. Mobile shelving is ideal for archiving and data storage. It’s also useful for holding retail store inventory, when space is tight or limited and you need to make the most of available space. Mobile shelving are installed on a track built into the floor or mounted above. A manual system or an electric drive system can be used based on your needs and budget.
Multi-tier racking is ideal if you want to take full advantage of the vertical space you have in your warehouse. These racking systems have different tiers, so stock can be accessed by workers manually up to the maximum limit of vertical storage.
Often this is achieved with a system of mezzanine floors and stairs, Sometimes your staff will need to use a scissor lift to access maximum heights. The storage they offer can be very dense. This storage option is most effective when you have huge volumes of stock, but that has smaller unit sizes.
One of your warehouse storage options will definitely be adding mezzanine flooring. This solution can add a huge amount of additional storage space. Think of it like adding a second floor above a warehouse’s floor level aisles. This extra floor can provide more shelving space, additional work areas for employees to pick and pack or handle inventory.
Mezzanine flooring additions can add more than on extra level. They can be engineered to add two and even three extra levels or work space. The new technology has improved massively in the last decade. This has allowed for custom design of the mezzanine layouts you need.When you decide to outfit your warehouse with this storage addition, you will need to hire a consultant and engineer a custom solution. The good news is that this fits almost any warehouse scenario.
Choose a company that can handle the design and installation of your mezzanine system. Arbor Materials Handling in the Allentown and Philadelphia areas is one such warehouse consultant. In the west, try Raymond Handling Concepts based in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California.
And so, mezzanine options can include:
- Suspended ceiling systems
- Integrated warehouse lighting,
- Lift systems – both automatic and manual
- Thru-floor conveyors
- Fire safety equipment
These technology solutions are typically diverse styles of cabinets that let you call materials from a silo storage area. Kardex Remstar is one company that does this very well. If you are interested in this kind of solution try this .
The bottom line in warehouse layout using storage options
Consequently, choosing the correct storage systems carefully will allow you to fully optimize the space you have to work with and customize to your workflow. Be sure to call in a consultant when executing your plan. In the end carefully planning and recruiting the right expertise is going to produce the results you want.