When a warehouse becomes too small. See how to gain extra metres without costly extensions.

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When a warehouse becomes too small. See how to gain extra metres without costly extensions.

Obtaining additional space in the warehouse does not always have to involve the expansion of the facility. Mobile or push-back racking systems and mezzanine floors can be an effective way to reduce logistics costs.

The use of a solution allowing for a significant increase in warehouse space without the need to build a new hall is a clear advantage. It provides savings in heating, lighting, fire protection and inventory protection. In any case, in fact, we not only reduce the cost of a square meter of warehouse space, but we can also save money, for example, on property tax.

Mobile racking is quite a simple way to optimize the use of available space and volume of the warehouse. 

Conventional pallet racking systems require fixed aisles between them, which means that a certain space is no longer available.

One aisle saves space

A mobile racking system needs only one aisle and thus increases storage capacity. This significantly reduces operating costs, including the costs of refrigeration (smaller spaces to be cooled). Experts from WDX Regały emphasize that mobile racking is suitable, for example, for warehouses where goods are stored at controlled temperatures.

Among such solutions is Stow Mobile, in which pallet racking is installed on automated mobile carriages, allowing opening and closing of the aisles (racks move on rail tracks installed in the floor). The system is easily expandable with additional aisles, the controller will recognise new aisles automatically (plug-and-play).

Promag specialists explain that the high density of storage in mobile racking and the use of only one aisle maximises the capacity of the smallest spaces and ensures adequate selectivity. The operator can access the desired aisle either manually or remotely. For customers who appreciate modern solutions, smartphone apps for the control of racking and lighting (only the currently operated block is illuminated) are available. A safety system is usually made up of light and/or sound signals, an ‘isle check’ button, emergency buttons and light curtains that stop the racking when there is an obstacle.

Push-back ideal for storing high-turnover products

Another method of increasing the available storage space is push-back racking (also known as an accumulative storage system). In this case loading and unloading takes place on the same side. The first pallet is placed in the first position in the channel, the next one pushes it to the next position. This process is repeated until the entire level is full.

Push-back systems are available with trolleys or rollers. The variant with trolleys enables the deep store of two to four pallets. Storage is done by placing the pallet on trolleys that move along the rails. The operation of the second variant is similar, with the difference that trolleys and rails are replaced by rollers. The use of rollers allows deep store of up to six pallets. In both cases, the load is handled using the LIFO (Last in – First out) method. 

Push-back racking systems are intended for the storage of multiple items when there is a small number of pallets per item. This system is recommended for medium to fast-rotating stocks (reduced loading and unloading times). Mecalux specialists emphasize that push-back racking, unlike other accumulative storage systems, can store a different SKU at each level.

Push-back racking is also part of the Promag portfolio. In fact, it is a simplified version of gravity flow pallet racking. It is possible to store up to 9 pallet units in the row.

Additional space three times cheaper than warehouse extension

The easiest way to increase the available storage space is to build mezzanine floors, also known as platforms or bridges. They allow for full utilization of the warehouse capacity by optimizing the use of the height of the hall. 

The modular design makes it possible to make changes whenever necessary. Experience shows that mezzanine floors can double or even triple the storage space without entailing large expenses. It turns out that the cost of additional warehouse space obtained in this way is 30-50% lower than the standard cost. 

Additional space in the hall with a mezzanine floor is on average 3 times cheaper than the extension of the facility, and the implementation time is about 10-12 weeks. In the case of a leased property, the return period is about 30 months, according to WDX experts.

Unlike conventional steel structures, mezzanine floors are easy to assemble and disassemble. Mezzanine floors basic parameters according to Promag specialists:

– high load capacity

– stable and robust construction

– easy assembly and disassembly allows for modifications and moving construction to another place

Mezzanine floors look similar, but it doesn’t mean that the choice of a particular one doesn’t matter.

Any such structure must not only comply with the requirements of building law, industry regulations and be adapted to individual requirements but must also take into account the quite strict fire protection regulations and occupational health and safety requirements. Among the most important issues to be considered before deciding to build a mezzanine floor are: spacing of support columns, methods for ensuring stability and working area loading/floor pressure. Moreover, the density of the support grid along with its cover (panel, grid) as well as the operating method (communication) must be determined. 

Image: WDX

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