For Today’s Warehousing, Take It to the Drive-In with the Pallet Rack

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When warehouse space is at a premium, the drive-in / drive-through pallet rack is the solution.

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They have been really great with us over the years

The cost of doing business is constantly on the rise, and long with it the cost of storing saleable goods. Those saleable goods, being the key to revenue, have to survive the slimmest business expense possible in order to maximize profit margin and allow a company to compete in today’s competitive environment. Hence warehouse space must not be wasted in any way; every square inch must be utilized. For many warehouse scenarios, the drive-in pallet rack has been the cost-effective, high-density storage solution.

Requiring fewer aisles and providing better cube utilization than selective racks, drive-in/drive-through racking allows storage of up to 75% more pallets than selective racking.

Both drive-in and drive-through systems require forklifts to drive directly into the rack structure to access the palletized loads. Drive-in racking uses a common entry and exit while drive-through has entry and exit points on both sides of the rack.

“Drive-in storage racks help us get denser product storage and a better setup than bulk storage,” says Jim Romine, Director of Engineering Support at AmeriCold Logistics, a refrigerated food product storage company with over 100 facilities nationwide. Bulk floor storage requires wooden or steel stacking aids attached to each pallet to make it stackable, a significant cost and labor addition.

The primary set of problems the company needed to overcome was the maximum utilization of space combined with the need to store -- and the need to quickly be able to retrieve -- a high number of SKUs. After a number of trials, the company finally settled on the most successful formula of a drive-in pallet rack built to take pallets 2-deep and 4 to 6 pallets high. “We get a better density out of this arrangement, and it costs us less as well,” Romine says. “We get more pallets per run than we do with deeper drive-in pallet racks.”

For the majority of their needs, the company utilizes pallet racks built by Steel King Industries. Steel King offers distinct advantages with their drive-in/drive-through storage racking. In addition to their highly-rigid, welded-frame design, Steel King load rails have a space saver flared entry that lines up flush to the face of the rack, eliminating hazardous projections into aisles. The load rail is also designed to save vertical space--welded onto the end of an arm instead of the top, which can save about 3” per storage level. Many times this frees up space for an extra level to be added, or makes for a shorter rack.

Although such construction makes for a very sturdy product, the company also offers several additional safety options to protect against forklift abuse, such as an offset front leg, reinforced posts, welded-angle column protectors, free-standing column protectors, wider footplates, and steel guard protective railings.

Steel King often works directly with AmeriCold to get their racks installed within budget and on time. “They have been really great with us over the years,” says Romine. “With them, it’s a turn-key operation. Their representative will come out and verify that the installation will work. They take care of any issues that come to light before or during the installation, and see it all the way through.” The pallet racks built and installed have are virtually problem-free.

The drive-in or drive-through pallet rack minimizes wasted warehouse space, making for sturdy storage, while maximizing product density and retrieval.

For more information about this article contact Donald Heemstra at Steel King, 2700 Chamber St., Stevens Point, WI 54481 or call at 1-800-826-0203, or visit the website at http://www.steelking.com

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Donald Heemstra
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