Push back racking is a high-density pallet storage system where pallets are stored on movable nesting carts. The carts sit on rails that have a slight incline from the front of the storage lane to the back, and the stored materials are gravity-driven to the front of the racking system.
When the lane is empty, all the carts are nested on top of each other at the front of the lane. When loading the lane, the first pallet is positioned on the top cart and the second pallet is used to push back the first pallet, and then lowered onto the second cart.
This process continues until the last pallet in the lane is stored on the front beam positions. As pallets are removed at the front of the lane, the rear pallets come forward to fill the front position. The depth of the system can be from 2 – 6 pallets. The forklift aisle runs perpendicular to the pushback lanes, letting a single aisle service many lanes on either side and providing a very high pallet position-to-aisle ratio. Unlike drive-in racking, the operator does not need to drive into the lane to store and retrieve pallets.
This short video from Rack& Shelf details how a push back system works.
Push Back Pallet Racking is best suited for moderate mix, high volume SKUs.
How does Push Back Racking Compare to Other Options?
- Selectivity: Unlike drive-in racking, each level of the system provides storage for a different SKU and therefore it provides more pick faces and greater selectivity. SKUs within each level should be consistent.
- Damages: Forklifts do not have to enter the rack, so there is less opportunity for damage.
- Density: This is a high-density storage system but it cannot be designed to store as many pallets deep as a drive-in system. The nesting carts and the incline of the rails must be included in the beam elevations.
- Investment: Pushback racking is more expensive then drive-in racking per pallet position.
- Honeycombing: As stock is partially depleted from a level, pallet positions are left open creating the honeycomb effect. These positions will remain open until new product is received. Usually operators will want to deplete an entire lane prior to receiving new product into the lane to ensure stock is rotated. If new product is received into the forward positions, then the older product will not be rotated out of inventory. You’ll typically experience less honeycombing than with drive-in racking.
- Inventory Rotation: The system is designed to provide Last In, First Out, (LIFO) inventory rotation, however FIFO can be achieved at a batch level if procedures are in place to support the process and the system is properly configured.
- Flexibility: The systems are designed and engineered for specific load dimensions and weights. Reconfiguration is possible but can be time consuming and expensive.
Layout and Equipment Considerations
- Material handling equipment:Standard forklifts and reach trucks can be used. With heavy loads or deep configurations, the equipment can sustain additional wear and tear.
- Pallet construction and condition:It is important to ensure that pallets are in good condition and designed to work with the carts. Broken pallets and obstructions can impede the travel of the cart.
- Slab:Due to the density of the system it is possible to have higher than normal load requirements for the slab.
Do you need components or design help with a push back pallet racking system?
We can help with design, product selection, and components from our existing inventory. Email us with your details and we’ll get back to you with more information.