Rack Systems

Rack Basics

There are many options to choose from when selecting a rack system. Our sales professionals can help you choose the type of rack that best suits your application.

Pallet racks create order and maximize storage density in a warehouse, making good use of floor space and ceiling height.

Basic pallet rack consists of upright steel frames connected by horizontal steel beams. Pallets rest on the beams between the frames. Two frames and the corresponding beams form a bay of rack. Your pallet load height and the amount of vertical space you have available will determine how many pallet positions you can get in a bay of rack.

Typical rack frames range from 12’ to 24’ in height and the most common beam width is 8’.

Rack components can be made of roll-formed steel or structural steel. Our salespeople can help you determine which type is best for your warehouse.

Single-deep Selective Racks
Selective rack is the most common type of racking. It is called “Selective” because you have access to every pallet in the system without having to move any other pallet loads. In other words, you can select any pallet load from the system.

Depending on the type of fork trucks used, selective rack can employ aisles ranging from 5’ wide to 15’ wide. The most common aisle spacing is designed for the standard sit-down fork truck and is typically 12’ wide.

The most common style of selective rack is roll-formed rack with 42” deep uprights and 8’ wide beams rated at 5000 pounds capacity per pair of beams. However, we offer a wide range of capacities because each customer’s application is a little different. Please refer to our capacity chart for selective racks.

Selective rack is the least expensive rack available, based on cost per pallet position.

Click for Upright & Beam Capacity Charts

Double-deep Selective Racks
Double deep rack stores one pallet load behind another by combining two rows of standard selective rack. You can double the density of your storage system utilizing this system, but you limit the access to pallets and decrease the flexibility of your warehouse.

To access the second pallet the first pallet position must be empty. This necessitates double handling. It also requires the use of reach trucks that can extend into the second bay of rack.

Drive-In Rack
Drive-in rack allows for very dense storage because you can store up to 10 pallet loads deep. It is normally used when you have many pallets of the same product and rotation is not your foremost concern.

In a drive-in system, lift trucks drive into the front end of the rack bay (lane), retrieve or place the pallet load, and then back out of the lane. There are no beams across the bay as there would be in a selective rack. Drive-in rack uses rails to support the edges of the pallets which allow the fork trucks to enter and exit the racks unimpeded.

Pallets in a drive-in system are stored on a last in, first out basis (LIFO). Each bay is typically dedicated to a single product, making it very useful for warehouses that need to store large quantities of the same product.

Drive-Through Rack
Drive-Through rack is exactly the same as drive-in rack except that it allows fork trucks to enter from either end of the bay. These racks must be tied at the top to provide the stability and rigidity required in a rack system.

Drive-Through allows more accessibility to pallets but then requires an aisle at each end of the rack. However, having aisles at both ends allows for First In First Out storage (FIFO).

Push Back Rack
Push back rack combines a stationary rack structure with nested carts (or modular track) that allows the pallets to move forward and backward in the rack. Pallets are loaded and unloaded from the front. In a typical push back system, the first pallet is placed on the top cart; when the second pallet is placed in the rack, the fork truck uses the new pallet to push on the first, exposing the second cart, and so on.

Push back systems are usually configured for 2 to 5 deep storage. It offers very dense storage and fairly good selectivity. If you have 2 to 5 pallets of the same product and LIFO is acceptable, it is an ideal system. It eliminates the need for the fork truck to enter the rack and therefore is less susceptible to fork truck damage.

Push back systems only require one aisle because you access them from the front only, thus increasing the storage density of your warehouse.

Although these systems offer much better access and selectivity than drive-in systems, they are much more expensive due to the carts or tracks that are required.

Flow Through Racks
Gravity flow rack combines a stationary rack structure with skatewheel or roller conveyor to create a dynamic storage system. Pallets are loaded into the back of the rack and then travel down the slightly inclined lane of conveyor towards the front of the rack, where they are unloaded.

Flow rack systems provide high-density storage by allowing you to store many pallets deep. They also provide for stock rotation as it is an FIFO system, making it a good choice for dated products.

Flow racks are also a more expensive type of rack because of the conveyor involved, with costs per pallet position that can exceed $300. However, they are ideal for coolers and freezers where the space itself is very expensive.

Other Types of Rack
  • Portable racks (stack racks)

  • Carpet racks

  • Bar racks

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