Pallet Racking Types: The Most Complete Guide to Pallet Racks.

This is our technical department spent more than 48 hours to organize the knowledge about the most common pallet racking types in warehouse logistics, after reading this article, you will turn from a warehouse racking field of green hand to an elite, there is a lot of text, I have organized a table of contents, you can directly click to jump to the chapter you are interested in.

What is Pallet Racking System

Pallet racking system is a specialized racking system for storing pallets of goods, which is a material handling storage aid system. Most pallet racking is designed to store heavy loads, usually with a load capacity of 1000kg to 3000kg per level, and custom heavy duty pallet racking with a load capacity of even 5000kg per level.

Various types of racking have been developed depending on storage requirements and access methods. Although different pallet racking types are used in different scenarios, the racks are designed to meet industry standards, and industrial storage racks, forklifts, and other storage and handling equipment are designed to meet these standards.

teardrop pallet rack
teardrop pallet rack

The main structure of the pallet racking is upright frame and beams, and the ends of the beams are welded with hanging clasp, and the clasp are embedded in the holes reserved for the upright, and safety pins are inserted. Pallet racking structure is relatively simple, the cost is relatively low, easy to install, which also makes it the most widely used warehouse storage rack.

Pallet racking can significantly improve the space utilization of the enterprise’s warehouse, at the same time, the use of pallets loaded goods greatly improve the efficiency of storage, can save a lot of storage costs for enterprises, pallet racking is an indispensable storage tool in the storage process of modern enterprises.

Benefits of Pallet Racking

The low cost and practicality of pallet racking makes it the most important component of a warehousing project. Since many business owners do not understand the knowledge related to the warehousing industry and have not purchased warehouse pallet racking, many companies still have large areas of underutilized storage space in their warehouses, and the use of pallet racking is the ideal solution to maximize the use of warehouse storage space and reduce the waste of storage space. Pallet racking system can solve many of the warehouse storage related problems, the advantages of pallet racking can be summarized as follows.

  • Easy access, reduced access time and improved access efficiency.
  • Used in conjunction with labels, picking errors can be reduced.
  • Maximize the use of warehouse space, saving storage costs for the company.
  • Anti-rodent and moisture-proof, safer storage of goods.
  • Transport and handling are more flexible and convenient.
  • Inventory quantity is simple and clear, and the control of inventory is more controllable.
  • Reduce clutter, a clean and tidy warehouse can enhance your corporate image.

What are the main types of pallet racking

Pallet racking is widely used around the world, but not all pallet racking systems are created equal. There are several types of racking to choose from and they are designed for different application scenarios. For example, some types of pallet racking are designed to provide dense storage capacity that maximizes the use of storage space, while other types of racking are designed to achieve greater storage efficiency, allowing for easy access to goods in each storage bay. To help you understand how to choose the right pallet racking for your warehouse, below we will describe the characteristics of the different types of pallet racking and their corresponding application scenarios so that you can find the right type of racking for your warehouse and goods, and thus develop the optimal storage solution.

1. Selective pallet racking system

selective pallet rack
selective pallet rack

Features of selective pallet racking:

The reserved aisle is larger, usually greater than or equal to 3.6 meters, which is convenient for counterbalanced forklift to access the goods.

It is a first-in-first-out storage method.

It is the most common type of racking.

The goods can be accessed at any time in any storage position.

The total height of the rack usually does not exceed 10 meters.

Warehouse space utilization is about 30%.

When to use it?

When the amount of goods you need to store is relatively small.

When you want to access any storage space at any time.

When your warehouse is not too high.

When not to use it?

When you need to store more goods and need a more dense storage racking system.

When your warehouse is very high and you want to maximize the use of your warehouse space.

The advantage of selective pallet racking.

2. Narrow aisle pallet racking system

narrow aisle racking
narrow aisle racking

Features of narrow aisle racking:

Set up with 1.6 to 2 meters of aisle access.

Requires a special narrow aisle forklift.

First-in, first-out storage method.

Access to any storage position at any time.

Narrow aisle forklift moves in a straight line along the floor guide line.

The height of the racks is high, usually over 6 meters.

Warehouse space utilization is about 65%.

When to use it?

When you have a large number of cargo categories and a relatively small amount of cargo in each category.

When you have a narrow aisle forklift or you plan to purchase a narrow aisle forklift.

When the turnover rate of your goods is high.

When you want to access the goods in any storage position at any time.

When you have a high warehouse height and you want to maximize the space utilization of your warehouse with a limited budget.

When you can’t use it?

When your warehouse does not have a narrow aisle forklift and you have no plans to purchase one.

When you are looking for a higher utilization of warehouse space.

When your warehouse height is low.

When you have an uneven warehouse floor.

3. Double-deep pallet racking system

double deep racking
double deep racking

Features of double-deep pallet racking:

Set a 3 meters of access to pass.

First-in, last-out storage method.

Four sets of pallet racks in each row are connected back to back.

Access work must be done with deep reach forklift.

Warehouse space utilization is about 42%.

When to use it?

When you have deep reach forklift in your warehouse or you plan to purchase deep reach forklift.

When you need to maximize the utilization of your warehouse space with a limited budget.

When you have fewer categories of goods and a larger quantity of goods.

When you are storing goods with a long shelf life that allows for first-in, last-out storage.

When you can’t use it?

When you do not have deep reach forklift or do not plan to purchase deep reach forklift.

When you need to access any storage space at any time or frequently.

When you have a large number of goods and a small number of individual goods.

When you store goods with short shelf life and need to use FIFO storage method.

4. Drive-in pallet racking system

drive in pallet rack system
drive in pallet rack system

Features of drive-in racking:

The 3.6m aisle is convenient for counterbalanced forklift or forklift to access the goods.

The first-in, last-out storage method is suitable for storing goods with long shelf life.

Rack height usually does not exceed 10 meters.

Forklift trucks are driven inside the racks to access the goods.

The depth of the rack can be 10 to 12 pallets and the height of the rack can be 3 to 7 pallets.

Warehouse space utilization is about 70%.

When to use it?

When the goods have a long shelf life and low turnover.

When goods are allowed to be stored in a first-in, last-out method.

When the type of goods is small and the number of goods to be stored is large.

When you want to increase storage density and pursue higher space utilization.

When you do not need to access the goods at any storage location at any time.

When you can’t use it?

When you need to have access to goods at any location at any time.

When you store goods that do not support the first-in, last-out storage method.

When there are many types of goods stored and the number of goods of each type is small.

What is drive in racking and how to use and maintain it?

5. Radio shuttle racking system (shuttle racking, Satellite Racking)

radio shuttle pallet storage rack
radio shuttle pallet storage rack

Features of shuttle racking:

Aisle of about 3.6 meters for forklift.

The goods are placed at the pick-up point by forklift and then transferred to the designated storage location by shuttle car.

Each track is usually set up with 10 to 40 pallet positions.

Shuttle car are moved to different tracks with forklifts.

FIFO or FILO storage method is possible.

Warehouse space utilization is about 80%.

When to use it?

When the stored goods have a high turnover rate and are in and out of storage frequently.

When the stored goods need to be stored using FIFO storage method.

When you want to automate your storage system and reduce labor costs.

When you want to maximize the use of space and pursue the ultimate space utilization.

When not to use it?

When your warehouse is small and the number of goods stored is small, the cost of shuttle car is relatively high.

When your budget is low. This type of racking is much more expensive to manufacture than regular racking.

When you have an uneven floor. The stable operation of the shuttle car requires high precision of the racks, rails and floor.

The advantages of shuttle racking.

6. Gravity flow racking system

gravity flow pallet racking
gravity flow pallet racking

Characteristics of gravity flow racking:

About 3.6m aisle for forklift to transfer goods.

First-in-first-out storage method is used.

The pallet with goods is placed on the rolling track at the entrance of the racking by forklift, and the pallet will automatically move slowly to the pick-up port due to the self-weight of the goods.

The racks should not be too high, generally within 6 meters.

The rack as a whole is inclined at 3 to 5 degrees

Warehouse space utilization is about 75%.

When to use it?

When you store goods that need to be stored in a FIFO storage method.

When you store goods with a high turnover rate.

When you want to reduce the cost of manual picking.

When you want to increase storage space utilization.

When not to use it?

When the floor of your warehouse is not very flat.

When you need to perform picking operations on goods.

When you need to store a large variety of goods and a small number of goods.

7. Push-back pallet racking system

push back racking
push back racking

Features of push-back racking:

Last-in, first-out storage method

Depth is usually three pallet positions, less than four pallet depths.

By forklift truck pushing the goods on a pallet position in front to make them reach the designated storage position.

Pallets with goods are placed on movable trolleys by forklift.

Warehouse space utilization is about 60%.

When to use it?

When the type of goods you need to store is large and the number of goods is small.

When you are storing goods with long shelf life and the first-in, last-out storage method is applicable.

When you do not need to pick goods at any location.

When not to use it?

When you need to perform picking operations for goods on an order.

When you need to store goods to meet the FIFO storage method.

When your products are fragile and pushing is more likely to cause damage.

What is push back racking?

8. ASRS (Automated storage and retrieval system)

ASRS manufacturer
ASRS manufacturer

Features of ASRS:

Less than 2m aisle for stacker crane movement for cargo access.

Automated storage and retrieval system controlled by a computer system

High rack height, usually more than 10 meters, storage density is extremely high, which can maximize the use of warehouse space.

Warehouse space utilization is more than 90%.

When to use it?

When you want to use the storage space to the maximum.

When the turnover of goods is very high you can choose ASRS.

Choose it when your budget is sufficient.

When you want to automate your warehouse storage ASRS is the better choice.

You should choose it when you want to pick goods at any location at any time.

When not to use it?

You can’t choose it when you have a limited budget, ASRS is very costly.

You don’t need to consider it when your warehouse is small and the amount of goods to be stored is small.

You can’t choose it when you don’t have a developed warehouse storage management computer system.

What is ASRS Racking?

How to design an automated storage and retrieval system?

Pallet racking main structure and accessories

1. Pallet racking upright: upright is the vertical support in the pallet racking system, which consists of two uprights connected by bolts through horizontal and diagonal bracing to form the upright frame. The holes on the upright column are spaced 75mm apart, which can support the beam to adjust the height and number of layers up and down with a spacing of 75mm.

2. Pallet racking beam: Pallet racking beam is the horizontal support in the pallet racking system. The beam is welded with hanging clasp at both ends, which can be easily embedded into the holes of the upright, and the beam is connected to the upright frame to form a whole frame to play a solid role. The beams are available in various sizes and thicknesses, depending on the load capacity and the size of the pallets stored, and are usually set at 2700mm long for two pallets per level. Pallet racking with step beams or box beams, equipped with support beams or wire decking will be safer to use. Holes are reserved on the hanging clasp of the beam for installing safety pins. The beam with safety pins installed is not easy to fall off, which improves the safety performance of the pallet rack.

3. wire mesh decking: wire deck is a mesh deck made of welded wire, the mesh is usually 50 * 50mm or 50 * 100mm two options, wire deck bottom welded four reinforcing rib, both sides bent on top of the beam of the rack, when the goods are not used pallets and placed directly on the rack storage will not fall, helping to prevent goods from falling from a height to occur It helps to prevent cargo from falling from high places and effectively protects the personal safety of warehouse workers. The metal wire deck is available in galvanized and powder coated finishes for you to choose from.

racking mesh
racking mesh

4. Pallet rack upright protector: upright protector can effectively protect the rack upright from forklift impact or reduce the damage caused to the upright due to forklift impact, thus avoiding serious safety accidents such as deformation of the rack or even the collapse of the rack. Rack upright protectors are made of plastic and steel, plastic upright protectors are affordable and practical, steel upright protectors are stronger and more durable and can be reused.

5. Support beam: The support beam spans across the rack beam, further enhancing the stability of the rack. Usually each layer is equipped with five support beams, often used in conjunction with the plywood, which can improve the bearing capacity of the plywood.

6. Row spacer: row spacer is used to connect one set of racking system with another set of racking system parallel to it, which helps to improve the stability of the racking system.

Pallet rack consists of starter bay and add-on bay, usually the first set of rack at the end is the starter bay, each set of racks added later will share upright frame with the previous set of racks, such rack is called add-on bay, so the difference between starter bay and add-on bay is that starter bay has one more upright frame than add-on bay. Generally speaking, the starter bay plus add-on bay structure is more stable and safe than the single starter bay structure, and the starter bay plus add-on bay structure can save you more cost because the add-on bay has one less upright frame.

Pallet racking installation

Different types of racking are installed in different ways, whether the pallet racking is installed correctly will directly affect the efficiency and personal safety of warehouse workers, so the pallet racking installation needs to be carried out by professional racking installers, properly installed pallet racking should be free of any safety hazards and is practical.

pallet racking installation

In addition to manufacturing a variety of warehouse storage racks and warehouse handling equipment, xinmiao has trained many well-trained rack installers who specialize in pallet rack installation, rack repair, and structural steel mezzanine installation and disassembly. xinmiao can provide you with thoughtful rack installation services to ensure your safety and practicality during the use of the racks, contact now xinmiao for racking installation support now.

China Top pallet racking brands

Xinmiao: Xinmiao was established in 2006, the main products are pallet racks, mezzanine floor, cantilever rack, mold rack and so on. xinmiao is one of the first enterprises in China to pass the ISO9001 quality management system certification, as China’s Top3 warehouse racking brand, xinmiao has a complete production line for each component of the rack, from warehouse planning, drawing design to rack production, transportation and installation of racks, we can provide you with consultant services. Over the past sixteen years, Xinmiao has exported warehouse racks and mezzanines to more than thirty countries around the world, and has rich experience in exporting racks. Contact xinmiao now for an instant quote.

kingmore: Founded in 2003, kingmore’s main products are pallet racking, cantilever racking, structural steel mezzanine, mobile shelving, supermarket shelving, etc. In 2012, the company passed ISO9001: 2008 quality management system certification; in 2014, the racking products passed CE certification; all their racking products comply with AS4084-2012 standards. kingmore’s factory covers an area of over 90,000 square meters, with an annual production capacity of 100,000 tons. After nearly two decades of development, kingmore has become a leading pallet racking manufacturer in China and has applied for registration of many racking related patents.

jracking: jracking was established in 2004, and its main products include warehouse pallet racking, cantilever racking, mezzanine, mobile racking, ASRS system, etc. In order to develop global market and export high quality racking products to the world, in 2014, jracking invested and built racking factories in Vietnam and Australia. Their core advantage product is ASRS system, since the factory was built, they have manufactured more than thirty different ASRS system project cases and have rich experience with the largest order over 10 million USD.

novaracking: Founded in 2007, novaracking’s main products are teardrop pallet racks, logistics management systems, AGV carts, shuttle carts, stacker cranes and other related material handling equipment. novaracking has always attached great importance to product development and innovation, with R&D centers in Beijing and Shanghai, China, focusing on the development of racks that improve storage space and storage efficiency. Novaracking has two manufacturing bases and after fifteen years of rapid development, they have more than twenty automated production lines such as continuous CNC stamping, high precision roll forming, automatic robot welding, automatic shot blasting and automatic plastic spraying.

Lijin: Lijin was established in 2012, with a factory area of over 12,000 square meters, is a professional warehouse storage equipment research and development, production and sales in one. lijin’s main products include heavy duty racking, boltless racking, adjustable racking, mezzanine racking, mold racking, cantilever racking, wire container, trolleys, workbenches, roll container, etc. Their products and services are widely used in e-commerce warehousing, logistics industry, garment industry, food, petrochemical and other industries. They have more than 100 front-line employees and professional engineers who have been in the business for more than 20 years, and can produce clear 3D renderings of rack layouts for you, so inquire now.

Considerations for choosing a warehouse racking system

Before designing a pallet racking system, the factors you need to know include: warehouse dimensions, total number of pallets, weight per pallet load, pallet size, type of forklift, FIFO or FILO storage method.

Warehouse dimensions: It is best for you to have a clear layout of your warehouse, including parameters such as the length, width, height, and location of wall columns, so that you can plan clearly when designing your racking system, avoiding obstacles as well as designing the right height of the rack. Reasonable design to maximize the use of storage space.

Total number of pallets: The number of pallets that need to be stored in the whole racking system. Make a clear count in order to confirm the number of racks needed.

Load capacity of each pallet: Calculate the load capacity of each pallet to determine the load capacity of each level of the racking system. Take selective pallet racking as an example, usually two pallets are placed on each level, if the load capacity of each pallet is one ton, then the load capacity of the racking should be designed to not less than two tons per level.

The size of the pallet: the size of the pallet will directly affect the design of the length and width of the racking. Taking the standard 1200*1000mm pallet as an example, no additional space is needed except for the 100mm safe operating space between the rack upright and the pallet and the pallet in advance, so the length and width of the pallet racking will usually be set at 2700mm and 800mm.

Whether the stored goods are perishable or not: If the stored goods are food products with a short shelf life, the goods turnaround time needs to be taken into account in the design, and the racking system with FIFO storage method is preferred.

Type of forklift: The type of forklift is also something you need to consider. What type of forklift is being used in your warehouse or do you have plans to purchase a new one? Different racking systems use different forklifts. For example, narrow aisle racking systems require narrow aisle forklifts; double deep racking systems require articulated forklifts; and selective racking systems simply require regular forklifts.

FIFO or FILO storage method: Different racking systems use different access methods, so the turnover efficiency is different. For goods requiring faster turnover efficiency or shorter shelf life, you should choose FIFO racking system; for goods with longer storage period and longer shelf life, choosing FILO shelving system is appropriate, which will save your storage cost.

Pallet racking identification

Teardrop pallet racking system.

Teardrop pallet racking is called because of the “teardrop” shape of the holes in the upright. Teardrop pallet racking is a common type of racking in the American market, including the United States, Brazil, Mexico, Canada and other America countries. Because of the unified standard, almost all teardrop pallet racks are adaptable, so used teardrop pallet racks are still very popular in the market. Xinmiao has a complete teardrop pallet rack production line.

teardrop pallet rack beam
teardrop pallet rack beam

Diamond hole pallet racking system.

The diamond-shaped hole pallet rack is named after the “diamond” shape of the hole in the upright. This type of hole pallet rack is mainly made in China and is widely used in China. At the same time, because Chinese rack manufacturers export a lot to some countries in Southeast Asia, you can also easily find this type of hole pallet rack in the Southeast Asian market.

free samples
diamond-shaped upright

Adjustable pallet rack system.

The height and number of levels of adjustable pallet rack can be adjusted arbitrarily to meet the storage needs. Most pallet racking is of assembled construction, which means you can easily adjust it to fit your warehouse and meet your actual storage needs.

Mobile Pallet Racking system.

Mobile pallet racking is electronically driven with bottom mounted rails that are controlled by a computer system that allows for full row movement. Goods can be accessed at any time in any pallet position, but mobile pallet racking is expensive and unnecessary for most businesses.

Other types of warehouse racking

1. Cantilever racks system.

cantilever racking system
cantilever racking system

Cantilever racks consist of columns, bases, arms and rod. Cantilever racks are mainly used to store long materials, pipes, plates and irregular goods, and are often used in the machinery manufacturing industry or building materials supermarkets. After loading the panel, pallets can be used for storage. Cantilever racks are very suitable for warehouses with small space and low height, and its space utilization rate is higher than ordinary racks.

2. Mold racks system.

standard mold rack
standard mold rack

Mold racks are mainly used to store injection molds, hardware molds, die-casting molds, etc. Equipped with a traveling crane at the top, it can easily realize the lifting of moulds. Sliding rails are installed on both sides of the drawer panels, and the drawer panels can be pulled out, making the access of molds very convenient. The standard mold rack size is L3100*D600*H2000mm, and the load capacity is 1000kg per drawer panel. xinmiao also supports customized heavy duty mold rack, and the maximum load capacity can reach 5000kg per drawer panel.

3. Mezzanine racking system.

mezzanine rack
mezzanine rack

Mezzanine racking is a mezzanine racking system using pallet rack as support plus mezzanine floor, also often called pallet rack mezzanine or rack supported mezzanine floor. mezzanine racking has a very high storage density and is suitable for storing relatively light and small goods, usually using manual access operation. It can be used with pallet trucks, hydraulic lifts, elevators and other tools to improve access efficiency.

4. Boltless racking system.

adjustable boltless rack
adjustable boltless rack

Boltless racking belongs to light storage racking, with a load capacity usually in the range of 100-500kg per level, with steel panel laid on the level, and relatively easy to install. Boltless racks are suitable for storing lighter weight and smaller volume items, suitable for manual stacking, and are more widely used in electronics, clothing, medical and food industries.

5. Stacking rack system.

stacking racking
stacking racking

Stacking rack is the handling and storage equipment derived from pallets. Stacking rack has a simple structure, can be folded, the folded volume is small, will not take up a lot of space, but also can be stacked, very suitable for storing cloths. After installing casters, it can be used as independent handling equipment, which is very convenient and practical.

6. Carton flow racking system.

high quality carton flow rack
high quality carton flow rack

Carton flow racks are mainly composed of uprights, beams, flow strips, baffles and picking boards. The racks are tilted at a certain angle, using the self-weight of the goods to slide down slowly, stocking them on the higher side of the aisle and picking them up in the other aisle. The common sliding containers of carton flow racks are turnover boxes, parts boxes and cartons, which are suitable for short-term storage and picking of small pieces of goods.

7. Slotted angle steel racking system.

slotted angle rack wholesale
slotted angle rack wholesale

Slotted angle steel racks are mainly composed of upright, beams and panel, with simple structure and easy assembly. It is mainly used for storing small and light goods, with a single layer carrying capacity of 150kg or less. It is widely used in homes, garages, supermarkets, etc. It can also be applied in warehouse storage projects and can be easily moved with the addition of casters at the bottom, which is very convenient.

From selective pallet racking with a simple structure to complex warehouse racking systems, Xinmiao can provide you with a range of services including design, production, transportation, installation, etc. According to your actual budget situation, we can design and develop the most suitable storage solution for your warehouse and products.

If you are worried about which pallet racking type you should choose for your warehouse, please contact us today for a free consultation to help guide you through the process of choosing a pallet racking types for your warehouse from start to finish.

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