Warehousing Update: Mobile Racking Systems

Everything You Need To Know About Mobile Racking Systems

What Is Mobile Racking?

Mobile racking is a high-density storage option that can integrate into existing warehousing storage setups. It is installed over guided bases that slide laterally. Its lateral movement provides the ability to form dense storage units when racks are pushed together, creating aisles when needed.

Mobile racks are capable of being moved to form one large unit for inventory storage. This unit can be easily accessed and frees up to 50% of a warehouses floor space, so warehouse associates and vehicles can move freely. Mobile racks are also a practical warehouse solution because they do not require any specialized equipment to load or pick inventory. Their ability to seamlessly integrate with existing racking systems ensures that any type of forklift to be used with them.

Due to their design, mobile racks can hold an assortment of products and carry weight up to 10,000 kilograms. They can be remotely run by a warehouse associate or autonomously through a computer interface. Connected to integrated floor rails, mobile racks open and close individual aisles which provides straightforward access to inventory by forklift or manual picking. This adaptability makes mobile racking systems beneficial in large, super-sized warehouses as well as low-volume distributions centers.

Advantages of Mobile Racking

  • Dramatically improves storage density
  • Full SKU accessibility and selectivity
  • Allows for direct access to pallets.
  • Versatile design permits for storage of load units of varying sizes.
  • Increased product safety and security
  • Reduced operating times and labor costs
  • Throughput is improved due to the reduction in operating times and the increase in the number of products placed and picked during a given period of time

 

Types of Mobile Racking Systems

Electrically powered

Mobile racking systems that are electronically powered can be run with the push of a button.

Mechanically aided

Mechanically assisted racking systems make use of geared hand wheels. These wheels are mounted on the rack shelves making it easy and convenient to move heavy loads.

Manually operated

The mobile racks that are manually operated are pushed or pulled with the help of handles.

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High-Density Storage

Mobile racking systems are useful to warehousing and storage operations because they maximize the floor space that can be used to store inventory without restricting access to products. This ability is referred to as high-density storage.

High-density storage enables forklifts to easily maneuver through rack aisles. Because mobile racking systems are built with a modular design concept, they can be perfectly configured to a storage facilities layout, inventory type, and volume. Workers can use the mobile racking systems through remote control or software integrated into the warehouse management system. This type of storage system enables businesses to use a minimal amount of warehouse space for aisles. Subsequently, this produces easy access to aisles so products can be readily picked at the desired time.

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Warehouse Safety and Health

In the grand scheme of warehousing solutions, mobile racks can be effectively classified as electronic storage systems. As their use in warehouses and distribution centers becomes more prevalent, their ability to  enhance the occupational health and safety of workers has become more important. Fitted with IoT-enabled sensors, they can detect human workers and halt their movement until workers are safe. In addition, they help to reduce the number of accidents caused by human error during material handling processes by removing humans from dangerous processes. With these systems, warehouse associates no longer must traverse racks 30 feet in the air nor carry heavy loads with manual forklifts.

Accelerated Fulfilment Process

Full capacity is a term that warehouses around the globe are familiar with. Storage and distribution facilities that run at full capacity benefit from mobile racking systems not only due to their high-density storage capacity but also their ability to allow direct access to inventory. This access is even possible when all the racks are arranged in a single unit.

By contributing to more seamless warehouse operations, mobile racking systems can increase productivity which helps to fast-track order fulfillment. When order fulfillment is swift and efficient, businesses can meet:

  • Consumer demands
  • Improve customer satisfaction
  • Gain a competitive advantage

 

 

The Global Mobile Pallet Racking System Market Size was estimated at USD 372.31 million in 2021 and is projected to reach USD 612.59 million by 2028

Mobile racking systems can:

  • Increase pallet storage
  • Reduce the number of necessary aisles
  • Supply fast access to products

Automated mobile racking systems are most prevalent in these types of warehouses:

  • Ambient-temperature warehouses
  • Refrigerated and deep-freeze warehouses

Automated Mobile Racking Systems

Automated mobile racking systems are becoming more necessary as the use of the Internet of Things proliferates throughout supply chains. These integrated systems consist of rack tracks connected to the warehouse floor and movable racking units. Together they form the central storage location for inventory.

Stored goods are moved to and from racking units using Very Narrow Aisle vehicles (VNAs). These fully automated machines move between rack aisles to pick or store inventory using IoT-enabled laser sensors found throughout the system. These sensors help direct the movement of VNAs to the correct products or stations for product discharge.

Very Narrow Aisle Vehicle

Very Narrow Aisle Vehicles complete tasks such as picking heavy loads from tall heights that could be dangerous for human workers. In addition, VNA vehicles only leave aisles to move products to other racks. In most automated mobile racking systems, VNAs transfer products to automated sortation systems which minimizes their contact with human workers. Only in minimal cases will human-operated forklifts be used to transfer products to or away from VNAs.

VNAs are the foundation of automated mobile racking systems. High-density mobile racking systems improve cold storage warehouse efficiency by:

  • Reducing costs
  • Improving worker access to high-volume products
  • Increasing floor space

In turn, these machines scan their environment in real-time or near-real-time. This enables them to properly position themselves on the mobile rack. VNAs then use sensors to recognize:

  • Where to store each pallet or product
  • Which pallet or product to retrieve

Mobile Racking and Cold Storage

There is a consistent need for mobile racking systems in cold storage facilities. Since the cost of cold storage warehouse construction sits at roughly $220 per square foot, mobile racking systems ability to reduce warehouse operating costs make them especially valuable to cold storage warehouse operations. Mobile racking systems bring new levels to storage space optimization. They are an ideal warehousing solution for cold storage because of their ability to compactly store a large amount of inventory. They are also useful in food storage facilities where the limited amount of warehouse space available must be used to house high-volume inventory.

Manufacturers of mobile racking systems often construct them using galvanized and stainless steel. These types of metals are ideal materials for mobile racks in specialized storage, such as in the:

  • Food and beverage industry
  • Pharmaceutical industry

Both stainless and galvanized steels are used to build mobile racking systems. These metals are resistant to extreme temperatures, making them strong enough to keep optimum functionality in cold environments.

 

Conclusion

Although mobile racking systems have had a presence in warehouses and storage facilities, their benefits are causing businesses to use them more often. These benefits simplify warehousing logistics and operations which translates to more profitable business. The attributes of mobile racking systems bring forth possibilities of storage space optimization to new levels for warehousing operations. With the added benefits of improved inventory security and lowered operational times, mobile racks could become essential functions of warehousing.

The use of mobile racks for inventory storage will increase in facilities from cold storage to e-commerce fulfillment warehouses as businesses continue to stockpile goods. Automated mobile racking systems have a home in smart warehousing due to their ability to utilize IoT and integrate into warehouse management systems. This makes them best for managing inventory levels because they provide increased inventory control.

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Resources 

Videos of warehouse case studies & client projects | www.interlakemecalux.com

How Mobile Pallet Racking Can Benefit Your Storage System (srs-i.com)

3220_Warehouse.pdf (osha.gov)

Mobile Racks: How They Work, Their Uses & Benefits. (donracks.co.in)

The Benefits of Pallet Racking: Why Your Warehouse Needs a Racking System – iGPS Logistics, LLC

Different Types of Pallet Racks for Warehouse Storage (tmhnc.com)

Types and uses of racks in various environments – Rackline

Types of Industrial Racking for the Warehouse: Classification | AR Racking (ar-racking.com)

Advantages And Disadvantages Of mobile Rack Storage System – news – News – Jracking (China) Storage System

The benefits and drawbacks of mobile racking (unicarrierseurope.com)

Mobile Racking Systems: Don’t waste an inch – Interlake Mecalux

Mobile Pallet Racking | Compact Storage Solution | AR Racking (ar-racking.com)

Verschiebetechnik-E (cisco-eagle.com)

Racks (mhi.org)

Mobile Warehouse Storage Solutions – Abel Womack

Commercial Construction Costs Per Square Foot [2022] | ProEst

Video of a case study using racks on mobile bases | www.interlakemecalux.com

Demand for cold storage facilities heats up – NAIOP Maryland Chapter (naiopmd.org)

What is a Modular Design? Everything You Want to Know in 8 Easy Answers! (jigsawacademy.com)

Mobile racking systems and their different types – Rackline

How Mobile Storage Racks Improve Warehouse Efficiency – SRS-I

Industrial Mobile Storage for Pallets and Warehousing | Montel Inc.

Warehouse Construction Cost: Complete Guide For 2022 (apxconstructiongroup.com)

What is Warehousing? | Warehousing Process – Zoho Inventory

 

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