Professional Boltless Shelving vs. Pallet Racking
Pros and Cons for Industrial and Commercial Applications
Industrial grade boltless shelving is one of the most popular options for industrial and commercial warehouses that need to increase storage capacity, while better organizing the use of their facility space. This is especially the case in California, where you are likely paying a premium for every square foot. But if your business receives a majority of products on pallets, pallet racking offers more high-density options for large-scale material handling utilizing forklifts and other automated equipment.
So how do you know what type of shelving or racking is right for your facility? Let’s look at how these material systems work and the pros and cons of each.
What Is Boltless Shelving?
Boltless shelving is a rivet system to connect shelving without using bolts, hence the name! Also known as rivet shelving, boltless shelving is ideal for handpicking high SKU- count items, especially oddly-shaped products that don’t work well as palletized loads. They’re fast and easy to assemble, as they don’t require special tools to install.
Because they use rivets and gravity to hold their systems of posts, beams and decking in place, boltless shelving systems are incredibly durable and are easy to customize as your storage needs change.
Boltless Shelving Applications
As noted above, the key difference between boltless shelving and pallet racking is that boltless shelving is designed for manually storing products and retrieving them by hand. Need to quickly access items or better organize your outbound orders? Boltless shelving allows you or your employees to easily walk to the shelf and pick up what they need. Fulfilling E-commerce orders is greatly simplified, which in turn saves valuable time and labor costs for apparel companies and other retail operations.
Boltless shelving is also a fast way to make better use of your storage space, whether your needs are light-duty commercial or heavy-duty industrial storage. This type of shelving works well for office settings, because you can easily choose any width or depth you need and then customize shelving units to your office’s layout and functionality.
Some popular applications include:
- Warehouse distribution
- Automobile parts material handling
- Record storage and retrieval systems
- Packaging line and large distribution centers (3PLs)
- Outbound order organization
What Is Pallet Racking?
Pallet racking is a material handling storage system used to store items on pallets. Pallets are often stored in horizontal rows and on multiple vertical levels, requiring forklifts and other material handling equipment to handle complex storage and retrievals.
Racking systems are more popular for higher inventory because you can use them to increase bays and pallet positions as much as 40% with very narrow aisles. They can be seismically rated to withstand various weights and capacities.
Pallet Racking Applications
Selective racking is widely used in commercial and industrial material handling because every pallet is accessible without having to move anything else out of the way. They can be custom designed to get more value out of your space, while giving you more control over inventory and productivity.
They’re your most cost-effective option, because you can reconfigure them as your business grows and don’t require specialized lift vehicles. From roll-formed to selective structural options, selective racks can be used in almost any warehouse environment for products that vary widely in size and weights. They’re also ideal if you have low turnover along with high differentiation among products.
High-Density Pallet Racking
High-density pallet racking is ideal for maximizing the pallet positions in a building to get the most out of the building. They come in a variety of styles, but are commonly used with a large number of the same SKUs, simplifying FIFO (first in, first out) and LIFO (last in, first out) flows to allow for easy rotation.
Drive-in racks and drive-through racks are ideal for large quantities of palletized products, such as grocery or beverage items in large warehouses and distribution centers. They allow lift trucks to drive right into the rack structure to drop off and pick up pallets and can hold pallets three deep or more. Drive-in racks have an entry point that also serves as an exit, for applications where inventory in last goes out first. Drive-through racks have two entry points for FIFO inventory applications.
Additional high-density pallet racking options include:
- Pallet flow racks: Allow up to four pallets to be stocked in one track and are installed in sloping lanes for more compact FIFO
- Double-deep racks: Budget-friendly, with two-pallet deep configuration allowing four rows back to back for double the storage capacity
- Push back racks: Utilizes a progression of carts that move back and forth on rails and can be customized to reduce isles and dead space
- VNA (very narrow aisle) racks: Allow for maximum storage with direct access to pallets in narrow aisles as small as 66″, for use with specialized equipment
More Material Handling Options
Not sure if boltless shelving or pallet racking is right for your facility? Quality Material Handling (QMH) has a massive inventory of turnkey options when you need to save space now, as well as customized solutions for increasing your storage capacity and improving material handling efficiency.
We can help you:
- Save operational costs with systems that minimize labor and increase safety.
- Increase your capacity so you can take on more inventory and SKUs.
- Maximize efficiency and simplify workflows with customizable configurations.
Talk with one of our experts today to help you choose the best shelving or racking option for your space and workflows.