Pallet Racking – Optimized Storage Solutions
The use of pallet racking is in by no means a new development, and has been used by companies specifically involved within the storage, logistics, distribution and warehousing sectors for a number of years now. In order to understand what this type of storage is, and why it is crucial to the mentioned sectors one has to consider two main factors. These include the way in which most products are shipped and transported around the world, as well as the fact that space in terms of warehouses is normally limited, or at the very least comes at a premium in terms of rental expenses.
Development of the Pallet
Obviously the pallet racking systems and configurations are based upon the design of the pallet itself, which has been evolving since the implementation of wooden boards as a base for cargo loads since the mid 1920’s. This wooden base has been attributed as the starting point of the pallet and was introduced as a means for cargo protection, storage optimization, and ease of transportation. Naturally this has progressed significantly over the years, with changes or additions of various different materials and designs that are used within the manufacture of these value added transport and storage structures. The designs then progressed further to allow for functionality with respect to forklift trucks being able to quickly move the pallets and their contents at a much reduced labor cost and timeframe.
Since the development of the pallet, catering for a more secure and protected transport process, the necessity for effective storage of the pallets together with the relevant products packed and stored upon the structure required attention. This is where a number of pallet racking systems were developed, and as with the pallet itself continue to be tweaked to not only optimize the storage of the packed structures but to maximize warehousing space, which as mentioned is often at a premium in terms of rental costs.
Pallet Design and Implementation
In looking at the various pallet racking systems available, or in use today, one will note that it can and does become somewhat technical within a design and implementation perspective. And to put it in so called layperson’s terms the design of the pallet racking system in general is based upon the transfer of the weight of the pallets onto supporting columns and cross beams, and thereby allowing for a vertical stacking of pallets, within reason of course. The configuration of the pallet racking system chosen to store pallets will be determined by a number of factors that include access to stock, available storage space in terms of floor space and height, type of stock rotation (often determined by accounting practice – such as LIFO/FIFO), stock weight and so forth. All of these factors are taken into account when determining which system is best, however it has been provided that the most common or chosen system is that of Selective pallet racking.
Once again in steering away from technicalities and jargon with respect to the specific pallet racking system concerned, the racks themselves are normally constructed and fitted in such a way to allow for the transfer of weight of the pallets to the columns and beams. These in turn are supported by diagonal support beams, otherwise known as cross beams, additionally to support the pallets wire decks and pallet supports allow for a stable storage solution within the given pallet racking solution. These systems are scalable too in that the addition of shelves can be implemented, as well as a number of rows, obviously dependent on warehousing space and limitations.
Specifically relevant to any pallet racking system is the issue of safety, which is directly attributable to the structure implemented as a storage solution, the amount and weight of stock being stored upon the storage structure and shelves, as well as the quality of the actual pallets too. Common sense, and more important adherence to safety protocols provided by both manufacturers and industry regulators will provide insight into ensure a safe and effective pallet racking solution for inventory and stock management and storage.
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