Drive-In pallet rack systems provide the greatest storage density of any engineered pallet storage system. By eliminating aisles, drive-in pallet racking systems maximize warehouse space efficiency. In fact, a drive-in rack system can increase pallet storage by as much as 60%. Drive-in rack systems most often appear in warehouses with FILO (first in, last out) inventory rotations.
In warehouses with a large storage volume and a small number of SKUs, drive-in rack systems produce peak storage. Because lift truck operators drive in and out of the system, drive-in pallet rack systems almost always use structural racking.
Although drive-in rack systems offer benefits in certain applications, they’re not right for everyone. When used in the wrong kind of application, drive-in racking is known to cause “honeycombing.” Honeycombing occurs when excess racking goes unoccupied due to poor inventory cycling. The appearance of the rack system becomes similar to that of a honeycomb. We can help you determine whether drive-in racking or a different pallet rack system will best serve your goals. We’ll listen to your current and future needs and work with you to assess whether or not drive-in rack is right for you.
Drive-In Pallet Racking is installed in warehouses and distribution centers that need a cost-effective, high-density storage solution for their pallets and products. Because of its design, the drive-in pallet rack is a first in, last out (FILO) storage system. Drive-in racking is best used with a large quantity of like-products that are not time-sensitive to best utilize warehouse space. Warehouse access aisles are kept to a minimum with a drive-in rack, often allowing users to achieve double or more storage capacity.
Drive-in pallet rack systems can be designed to store anywhere from 2 to 10 pallets deep per pallet position. If you’re curious about how a drive-in rack system can help maximize your warehouse or distribution center space, contact one of our Minnesota-based pallet rack design specialists. We’re based in Minnesota, but have shipping points located across the country so you can take advantage of shipping savings.
How Drive-In Pallet Racking Works
Drive-In pallet rack systems store pallets driven into the rack system by forklift operators and loaded onto horizontal rails. Drivers then remove the pallets from the same entry point at which they were loaded when moving. Drive-in rack systems are typically placed against a wall or are otherwise closed at one end of the system. Drive-Thru pallet storage systems are based on the same concept but are located in an open area so that forklifts can drive completely through the rack system.
Drive-in rack storage does not come without its potential disadvantages, though. It’s not the best option for selectivity or accommodating the need to rotate inventory because all of the product in a given bay must be unloaded to reach the last pallet. The other potential downside is that, if you do not ship enough truckloads of like-product, you can get a “honeycomb” effect by not utilizing enough of the racking.
Drive-In Pallet Rack System Optional Features:
Rails, Heavy Duty Supports, Cant Leg, Set Back Leg, 2 to 10 Pallets Deep Storage
Drive-Thru Pallet Rack
Also called “Drive Through Racks” this style of pallet rack features the same design as drive-in pallet rack but instead of being closed off at one end, the rack system is open at both ends, allowing forklifts to drive through it. This turns what would otherwise be a LIFO pallet storage system into a FIFO rack system as the pallets flow through the system. One side of the rack system is used most often to load product while the other side can be used to unload the product.
Like drive-in pallet rack systems, the “honeycombing” effect is somewhat common among drive-thru rack systems.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I protect Drive-In Pallet Racking from forklift damage?
Because drive-in pallet rack requires forklift operators to drive the forklift into the system itself, drive-in rack systems are especially prone to lift truck damage. The risks of lift truck damage can be kept in check, however, by following a few simple safety precautions.
One of these safety measures is to utilize reinforced frames or cant-leg frames — or both — to offer a more protective angle and a more robust frame structure. Another popular and cost-effective option is to install column guards in order to shield frames from potential forklift collisions.
What is the typical lead time for a Drive-In Rack System?
Because drive-in systems are manufactured on a per-project basis, lead times typically lie in the 8 to 12-week range. The only real variable that may affect the length of a given lead time is the approval process being dictated by regulatory bodies or the customer themselves.
Can I reconfigure Drive-In Pallet Rack?
It is possible to reconfigure drive-in rack systems. However, there are going to be limitations, such as the adjustment of lane width.
Can I combine Drive-In with other rack systems, such as pallet flow or push back?
Combinations of drive-in rack with other rack systems, particularly push back pallet racks, are fairly common, and can provide a highly customized combination of selectivity and storage density.
Drive-In Pallet Racking Safety
Safe loading of all types of pallet rack systems is necessary in order to protect your personnel, your product, and your racking. With forklifts entering and exiting the rack system, the importance of being attentive to safety when loading pallets in drive-in systems can’t be overstated. Operators should enter the system slowly and deliberately, and should carefully avoid hitting the system’s upright frames. Prior to system use, it should be verified that the forklift that will be used is compatible with the rack system’s dimensions.
Safe unloading of drive-in pallet rack is similar to safe loading. Drive-in rack systems can be quite deep, and forklift operators must take great care when reversing out of the system. While speed is important in most operations, safety always takes priority, and colliding with an upright frame while underneath a system is unsafe by any measure.
Because forklift operators are driving inside the rack system itself, it’s extremely important to ensure drive-in pallet rack systems remain in stable condition. While drive-in rack systems generally require very little maintenance, it’s highly recommended to perform regular safety checks to confirm that no damage has been done that could compromise structural integrity or operator safety. When performing the check, focus on checking for damaged frames, loose anchors, and damaged pallet rails.
Drive In Pallet Rack Perks:
- Accommodate virtually unlimited depth of storage
- Deliver maximum storage density
- Minimize the number of warehouse aisles
- Prioritizes density over selectivity
- Highly cost effective