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Drive-In and Drive-Thru Pallet Racking Systems vary in their entry and exit points. Both pallet racking systems allow for floor-to-ceiling storage by optimizing the use of vertical space. The significant depth of the pallet racks, reduces the need for traditional aisles.

When Should You Use Drive-In Pallet Racking?

Drive-in racks feature a system that has just one entry, with drivers exiting through the same place they entered, creating a last-in, first-out (LIFO) inventory system.

Space is limited. If you have large amounts of similar products that don’t need to be rotated and not a whole lot of extra space, drive-in pallet racking may be ideal for you. It creates more efficient use of space.

Cold/freezer storage. When your products need to stay a certain temperature and you need only one entry point, drive-in will work for your operation. Since cold storage is expensive, you’ll want to store as many products in as limited a space as possible.

Fragile product loads. Some fragile products can’t be stored in block stacks and will do better with a drive-in racking system.

Static products. When you’ve got slow moving, non-perishable products or seasonal warehouses. High-volume, low-SKU operations that don’t need the option of multiple isles most often choose this racking type.

You need more space. Pallet Racking is placed to create more space in a warehouse. A forklift will enter the pallet rack from one side to retrieve or load pallets which are stored in a set-back manner. Drive-in pallet racking is designed to slide backwards on a rail, so items can be stored more densely

When warehouses and distribution centers need an economic and space efficient solution for products and pallets, drive-in racking is advantageous. Products that are not time-sensitive and can be stacked to achieve extra storage capacity are optimally stored.

They can be designed to store between 2 to 10 pallets deep. Forklift operators load pallets onto horizontal rails and remove them from that same point when it’s time to move them out.

Typically, drive-in racking solutions are conveniently placed against a wall or an unobtrusive, out of the way spot in the warehouse, since there is no need to drive through it and out to the other side.

Control over entry and exit. It gives you control over the entry, if your operation requires that specification.

When Should You Use Drive-Thru Pallet Racking?

Drive-thru pallet racking features a system that is open at both ends. Forklifts can freely drive through, allowing for a first-in, first-out (FIFO) system. Typically, one side is used to load product while the other can be unloading product at the same time.

The honeycombing effect can happen here as well, but is easier to remedy with more space and more product rotation.

Drive-thru racking is necessary if you have fast-moving perishable products, except in the case of cold storage. You may not want traffic going in and out of a cold storage situation as it will increase energy costs from the entry and exit points as well as the size allocation in drive-thru racking.

Since a drive-thru pallet rack system is usually loaded on one side and unloaded from the other, the FIFO flow is at times preferred. These pallet racking systems can be custom configured to any size to meet your specific storage requirements.

It enables efficient separation of loading and extracting product from the aisles. Stock is automatically rotated.

Safety guidelines should be maintained because the pallet racks have specific tolerances. All Drive-In and Drive-Thru pallet rack system damage should be reported in a timely way, so the rack can be immediately repaired or replaced.

Features and Benefits of Both Drive-In & Drive-Through Pallet Racking

Both pallet racking systems provide maximum space utilization compared to floor stacking and traditional pallet racks. When you need to make good use of the space you’ve got, choose one of these systems for increased storage.

The greater density of storage in both systems allows at least 7 times more storage room than floor stacking and 3 times more than the traditional pallet racks. Both can be used for cold storage applications depending on your concerns.

They are a comprehensive and cost-effective storage option for large quantities of products. Easy to install, they are typically available in both structural and roll formed steel.

Since these systems rely on forklifts to move products, forklift safety protocol must be followed for rack maintenance and product lifespan. Verify that forklifts are compatible with the structures’ dimensions. Safe loading and unloading should be adhered to, with slow and deliberate driving, to avoid hitting the upright frames.

Reporting even minor accidents will help keep pallet racks up to standard. Perform regular safety checks to confirm no damage has been done to compromise structural integrity. Look for damaged frames, loose anchors, and damaged pallet rails.

Rack repair is an option if damage is minimal, and it won’t interfere with your operations.

Considerations When Making a Choice of Pallet Racking

No one style is universal for every application. Different factors come into play, including your needs, safety, and cost.

Answering specific questions about your organization will help you narrow down your choices and organize your requirements.

  • What is the storage density my organization requires?
  • Do I have a lot of extra space to allocate to certain types of pallet racking?
  • What is the best way for pallets to be loaded and unloaded?
  • Does my product have a time sensitivity or expiration?
  • How long will it take to pick a typical order off of the pallet rack?
  • What is the cost of each pallet rack system?
  • What are the future goals of my business?
  • Do I have the correct style of forklift to pick and put away products onto these types of pallet racks?

If your company requires storage of products which are frequently loaded or unloaded, or you just need more space in your warehouse, drive-in or drive-thru racks could be a smart storage choice for you.

Space savings and streamlined processes are among the benefits of these modern pallet rack systems. Expanding the square footage of your current operation could result in greater profits and more efficient workflow.

Both drive-in and drive-thru pallet rack systems can provide dense pallet storage at a very affordable cost. We know there are a lot of detailed variables to consider when making your investment and we are here to answer your questions and help you come to an informed decision. Contact us today for questions regarding drive-in or drive-thru pallet racking or other pallet rack systems you may be considering.