Global Material Handling System Integrators

Back to Basics: 4 Common Types of Racking & Their Benefits


Racking Basics

Racking is used to store products in manufacturing or distribution facilities. Choosing the right style of racking depends on the physical size and weight of the items to be stored, as well as their frequency of use. Rack systems are often used for buffering, or holding stock to ensure that enough products are on hand to meet upcoming orders or manufacturing requirements. Designing the configuration of the storage system also depends on the items’ quantities and characteristics, as well as the types of equipment that will be needed to move them to and from storage. Typically, rack-stored items in a warehouse are cartons, pallet loads or large individual units.

There are many types of racking, with each style having its own benefits in regards to accessibility or storage capabilities. Here are some of the most common types:

Selective Racking

The simplest of all racking systems, selective racking permits only one-unit-deep pallet loads to be stored side-by-side. This makes all pallets accessible from the aisle. For greater storage density, double deep rack accommodates two pallet loads staged back-to-back.  

Drive-in Rack

Ideal for storing repetitive products while maximizing storage space, this structure allows a fork truck to enter from one side only to pick up or deliver pallets that rest on continuous rails. A drive-in rack system is utilized when a last-in, first-out system is acceptable.  

Carton flow Rack

Ideal for small-quantity case picking, this system utilizes shelves equipped with rollers or wheels that allow product and materials to flow from the back of the rack to the front. Similar in concept but on a larger scale is pallet flow rack which uses conveyor wheel shelf sections that enable back-loaded pallets to flow by gravity to the front or pick face. Both carton flow rack and pallet flow are ideal when a first-in/first-out system is required.  

Mobile Rack or Mobile Sliding Rack

Typically a single deep selective rack with wheels at the base for movement of the entire structure along tracks embedded in the facility’s floor. This style of rack is ideal when there is slow moving inventory and limited footprint for racking.

Choosing the right racking can make a huge impact on the success of your operations. The right racking type can drastically improve efficiency, organization, safety, and more. Bastian Solutions can provide standard or custom designs depending on your storage needs - contact us to learn more.  

Author: Margie Schramke


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