How to choose warehouse racking

This article is provided courtesy of Dexion

No warehouse can operate at optimum capacity or efficiency if the internal space isn’t configured with the right industrial racking to suit the products being stored.

You can have the best pallet racking equipment in the world, but if it doesn’t complement your operation, then efficiency will be compromised. Getting it right is key to successful logistics.

Here, we look at some of the many different types of pallet racking and explain when and how they are best deployed.

What is warehouse pallet racking?

Broadly, warehouse pallet racking comprises a system of metal uprights and cross beams that are used to support the goods being stored.

The type of racking and the way they are configured can be adapted to meet the needs of the warehouse, whether the goods being stored need fast turnaround or longer-term storage; whether they are hand-picked in small amounts or by the pallet-load; or whether the set-up is manually operated or uses robotic automation. They all, however, aim to optimise the space available.

Dexion Pallet Racking Rack Group

Standard wide aisle pallet racking

Standard wide aisle pallet racking provides your warehousing teams with unrestricted access to all your pallets at all times. The system delivers versatility and assembly as single- or double-depth racks.

Here, the pallets are accessed for picking and replenishing by forklifts, which will have direct and immediate access from the aisle to all the pallet-loads being stored.

Dexion Standard Wide Aisle Pallet Racking Rack Group

Narrow aisle pallet racking

Narrow aisle pallet racking is ideal for a warehouse where the storage floor space is limited, as it offers high density storage while at the same time allowing for quick order-picking and fast accessibility to every pallet.

Varying shelving heights and depths, together with height-adjustable supporting beams assure maximum flexibility. Narrow aisle pallet racking can represent a space saving of up to 40%. The associated handling equipment is often highly automated to ensure speedy picking, straight from the pallet.

Dexion Narrow Aisle Pallet Racking

Double deep pallet racking

Double deep pallet racking offers a similar benefit to compact pallet racking, and is a common storage solution. Here, however, there is no direct access to pallets stored at the back. Specially equipped forklifts are needed to access the second pallets, stored to the rear.

Dexion Double Deep Pallet Racking Rack Group

Mobile pallet racking

Mobile pallet racking – or MOVO – is a dynamic solution where the racking moves on rails. The racking can be manually or automatically moved along the rails to open and close aisles, depending where access is needed at any one time. MOVO provides a high density storage solution, taking up to 50% less space than conventional pallet racking.

Dexion Mobile Pallet Racking Rack Group

Drive-in pallet racking

Where large quantities of identical goods are being stored, with a low rotation, drive-in pallet racking (or LIFO – last in, first out) is an ideal solution.
Only one aisle, for forklift, is needed, and the last pallet in is the first one to be removed.

Drive-in pallet racking reduces aisle loading and unloading times, yet allows greater access compared to block-stacking.

Dexion Drive In Pallet Racking Rack Group

Drive-through pallet racking

Drive through pallet racking needs aisle access from either side of the racking. Using the FIFO (first in, first out) methodology, stock is replenished from one side, and removed from the other.

FIFO is suited to high rotation stock, but the space saving is less that with drive-in racking.

Dexion Drive Through Pallet Racking Rack Group

Pallet flow racking

Pallet flow racking is also known as live pallet racking. Pallets travel smoothly on rollers. While the front pallet is removed on the front side of the rack, the rear pallet is held back. Pallet movement is always safe and smooth thanks to automatic braking, along with a combined load guide and end stop unit.

The two main types of live pallet racking are the gravity FIFO live storage system and the push-back LIFO system.

Gravity FIFO live pallet racking system

Here, the loading area is at the opposite end to the picking area, with the pallets travelling along a system of rollers that form a slightly inclined rail. FIFO pallet racking is ideal for products needing perfect stock rotation.

Push-back LIFO racking

Here, there is just one loading and unloading area at the front of the structure, and the pallets are stored by pushing the previous ones towards the back of the racking.

Dexion Pallet Flow Racking Rack Group

Crane racking

Crane racking is a fully automated storage system, ideal for storing pallets and large items.

Designed to work within very narrow aisles and at a height of more than 30 metres, crane racking is an efficient, optimised storage solution.

Guided by a management software system, the crane travels along the aisles of the warehouse, where it enters, positions and extracts the goods.

For multi-deep configurations, crane racking is equipped with a shuttle which retrieves the pallet and delivers it directly to the front, ensuring maximum accessibility.

Dexion Crane Pallet Racking Rack Group

Multi-tier pallet racking

Multi-tier pallet racking introduces different levels to the warehouse, with varying heights of floors and aisles, all of which help make best use of the vertical space available.

Each different floor level can be accessed by stairways, and are linked by walkways. On each level a system of shelving is created for the different types of products.
Multitier shelving is particularly useful for businesses selling small products, such as pharmaceuticals or spare parts, that need to be hand-picked.

Dexion Multi Tier Pallet Racking Rack Group

In this article we’ve covered the basic types of racking but there are many variations. The beauty of a warehouse which is well-equipped with the right systems is the ability to expand the range and add additional racking solutions as the business grows.

For more help and advice on how to find and implement the right storage solutions in your warehouse and boost performance, please get in touch.

Rack Group are Official Distributors of Dexion products.

New USA Master Distributor for Rack Armour

Rack Group have signed Lean Inc. as the Master Distributor for Rack Armour upright protection guards across the USA and Canada.


Rack Armour has been a brand sold across the USA and Canada since it’s US patent in 2012. Since then the unique polymer racking upright protection guard has grown in popularity thanks to its ballistics-grade exterior and impact absorbing foam interior.

Based in Anaheim, California, Lean Inc Materials Handling specialise in racking alterations, repairs and designing efficient warehouse layouts. Lean Inc also supply a range of racking protection products that complement the racking installation services they offer.

Stuart Ovington, Managing Director at Rack Group says “Bringing Lean Inc on board as the Master Distributor is an exciting next step for growing our Rack Armour brand in the USA. We will be able to streamline our operations and ensure our customers receive a fast and reliable service."

Lean Inc Logo
Lean Inc HQ

Ted Gallardo, General Manager, Lean Inc. said "Here at Lean Inc. we're excited to be named master dealer for The Rack Group for the U.S. and Canada and we look forward to increasing service levels and expanding the market for Rack Armour rack protection and The Rack Group in North America."

For more information, contact Ted on 1-888-310-0008 ext. 1, or email

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5 Ways to prolong the life of your racking

5 Ways To Prolong The Life Of Your Racking

How to prolong the life of your racking

Let’s face it, storage equipment doesn’t come cheap. Racking plays an essential role in keeping your warehouse operational, yet can also be the reason why you encounter disruptions and down time. This article delves into some of the ways you can get the most out of your racking, ensuring it lasts for years to come.

Racking has a very important job to do. Storage equipment is designed to hold tremendous amounts of warehouse stock. This stock is precious, as are your people who work in and around it. It’s also a huge investment for your business. Whether you choose to buy brand new, or source some quality second-hand systems, you’ll want to prolong the life of your racking for as long as possible to get a good ROI.

If well maintained, industrial storage equipment can last for years and years. This of course depends on how busy your warehouse is, the types of products you are storing, and the environment your racking is stored. It also depends on how well you treat it.

This brings us to our first tip on how to prolong the life of your racking:

1. Make sure your warehouse operators are fully (and regularly) trained

This may sound obvious but the main source of damage to racking is due to impact from Material Handling Equipment such as forklift trucks. This seems like a sensible place to start when looking at ways to prolong the life of your storage equipment. Ensure your teams are not only trained when they join your company, but have regular refresher training to keep their skills sharp.

It’s also important to ensure your team is confident working with the racking itself. One example could be with the weight load limits on your particular type of pallet racking. Displaying weight load notices at the end of every aisle of racking enables your team to quickly check limits and ensure they are followed. Overloading racking, or storing pallets with uneven distribution of weights is one way storage systems can be weakened, potentially leading to racking collapse.

So, you’ve had your racking installed by a top-notch team of qualified installers, your MHE drivers are fully trained and your stock is safely loaded. It’s now time to talk about protecting that lovely new racking installation of yours. As the classic saying goes, prevention is cheaper than the cure. Which brings us to tip number two:

Installations Rack Group
Rack Armour Racking Protection

2. Protect racking uprights before damage occurs with guards

Whether you prefer metal guards, or hard-wearing polymer guards, choosing to protect your racking uprights will save you money in the long-run. Guards can cost as little as £10 each, protecting the most vulnerable part of the upright. In comparison, a full upright replacement can cost up to £500.

Racking upright guards can perform for many years, being replaced only when repeated or major impact has occurred, making them a cost-effective option. Not only do they protect the upright from most types of impact damage, they also act as a visual deterrent to MHE operators. Usually sold in bright yellow colours, the upright guards signal a hazard to drivers whilst they move around the warehouse.

There are also other types of protection systems you can utilise to prolong the life of your racking, which brings us to tip number three:

3. Install racking protection barriers in high-risk zones

The end of racking aisles can be particularly vulnerable areas for racking damage. Warehouse vehicles will often turn tightly down aisles, causing impact to occur. Our next tip to prolong your racking involves installing impact protection barriers in these high-risk zones.

End of aisle barriers absorb and deflect impact, and come in all sorts of styles and materials. Choose the best option for your warehouse depending on the type of vehicles in operation and the type of racking you have. You should also factor in the amount of maintenance that might be required for certain types of barriers. If contact occurs with painted metal barriers, for example, the barriers will require frequent re-painting to ensure they remain highly visible and keeps your warehouse looking clean and tidy.

With your barriers and guards in place, it’s now time for tip number four:

Rack End Barrier Rack Group
Inspections Rack Group

4. Regularly inspect your racking for signs of damage or safety issues

UK guidelines recommend employers conduct regular and annual racking safety inspections. By checking over racking regularly, and reporting damage straightaway, you’re not only meeting these guidelines, but you’re also helping to prolong the life of your racking.

In busy warehouses, frequent little knocks to racking can go unnoticed. Large pallets of stock can also obscure some areas of damage. Ensuring your team routinely checks over your racking for defects means any potential issues can be flagged and action can be taken. This might be to unload the racking bay and carry out urgent repair work, which leads us into our final tip:

5. Repair damage to racking quickly to reduce serious consequences

The level of damage to racking uprights, bracing or beams is often categorised as a traffic light system by SEMA. Green signals that the damage should be monitored but no immediate action is required. Amber risk signals a hazard that requires action as soon as possible. Damaged categorised as a red risk requires immediate action as the damage is considered very serious.

The level of damage will prioritise which repair work needs to be carried out first. Staying on top of repair and maintenance work will help reduce repair bills long-term as some green or amber hazards may develop into red risk hazards, which are more costly than smaller repairs. Ignoring repair work won’t make the damage go away. Make sure you’re taking all the steps to prevent catastrophic accidents involving collapsed racking, and prolong your racking for as long as possible.

Racking Repairs & Maintenance Rack Group

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Is your warehouse 100% safe? Webinar

Safe Industrial And Rack Group Webinar

The Ultimate Guide to Racking Safety Audits

This is where the safety Webinar on ‘Is Your Warehouse 100% Safe? The Ultimate Guide to Racking Safety Audits’ will take place - at 2pm on 18th May 2022!

Has auditing become a lengthy, over-complicated process?

Graeme Waller, (Training Manager at Rack Group,) and Kirsty Rogers, (Managing Director at Specialist Industrials Ltd,) will discuss how to organise, plan and successfully execute your warehouse safety audit - making audits faster and easier.

This Webinar supplies all the need-to-know basics in just a 30 minute live conference, complete with a live Q&A so you can speak directly to the experts about your specific issues.

Register your FREE place here.

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