For any industrial manufacturing warehouse or large retailer planning to store materials in bulk on pallets, the most effective method of storing your supplies is through pallet racking. However, there are many systems of racking, and as such, it may be intimidating at first. Read ahead for a beginner's guide to some of the most common methods of palletized storage.
Before even discussing the specific types of pallet racks, it is important to note that most, if not all, methods involve the use of a forklift. Forklift certification is operated at the state level, so it will vary depending on where your business is located. However, there are some simple universal safety recommendations to follow (provided by the United States Department of Labor):
- Forklift operators should always be 18 years old or older; no exceptions. Not only is it extremely dangerous for someone under 18 to operate a forklift, but it is also against federal law if performed. Anyone over 18 still needs to be certified in an approved course to be legally allowed to operate a forklift. It is recommended to apply an age requirement sticker to your forklift to prevent injury or illegal use.
- It's highly recommended to perform daily inspections of your forklift for your safety and that of others. This will also vary depending on whether or not your forklift is powered by electricity or propane.
- Be aware of some of the most common mistakes when operating the forklift, such as colliding with nearby objects, racks, or personnel; turning too sharply; or operating the forklift at an unsafe velocity.
Once you are fully certified to operate a forklift, it is time to begin racking your pallets. Depending on the size and functions of your warehouse, there are several different types of pallet racking, such as selective racking, pallet flow racking, and push back racking. For instance, pallet flow racking utilizes a first-in first-out (FIFO) method, as well as the process of storing items vertically high, so that the footprint of the rack is smaller, thus making it more effective in cramped quarters.
In terms of the racks themselves, the two most common forms of pallet rack design are roll-formed and structural racking. A roll-formed rack is typically the most versatile method of storage, due to their ease in adjustability. This is due to the fact that, while structural racks have horizontal beams fixed in place with bolts, a roll-formed system will use a system of clips. While this makes the system more easily adjustable, it also decreases the amount of overall weight able to be stored. In addition, the two types of beams typically used in a pallet rack (uprights and loads) will vary depending on the manufacturer and style of production. It ultimately depends on the amount of variety of products needing to be stored, as well as their weight.
Safety is always the top priority in a industrial or manufacturing storage environment, so once a pallet rack is chosen and installed, workers' health is the top priority. Happy racking!
For more information and options for pallets and systems, talk with a pallet racking company, such as Commercial Hardware.