Guide to... Pallet Racking Systems



Pallet racking systems can be configured to suit a variety of warehouse operations and product types, so choosing the right racking system to meet your operational needs is vital! With so many options, it's easy to get lost... That's why we've put together this guide, in order to give you a concise overview of the types of systems that are available through SEC Storage and the operations and products they are most suited to.  


We've also included a number of links to a range of our project case studies showcasing the systems in action and how they benefitted our clients. Click on the quick-access links below to go directly to a specific product type and read through our General - FAQ to gain a better overall understanding.

Click below to see each racking system!

What is wide-aisle pallet racking?


Wide-aisle pallet racking, often referred to as standard pallet racking or adjustable pallet racking is a flexible, durable, and cost-effective system for the storage of palletised goods. 


  • All products are easily accessible due to the incorporation of spacious wide aisles, allowing for good stock rotation.
  • The system can also be reconfigured to incorporate new product lines as and when they are needed.
  • Wide-aisle racking systems can be built to suit various warehouse heights and the system can also support loads of up to 5,000kgs, depending on the length and size of the support beam.


Due to the nature of the system and the widths of the aisles, no specialist materials handling equipment is specifically required, however, picking operations can be further optimised via the use of either a counterbalance forklift truck, reach forklift truck, or an articulated forklift truck, supplied by companies such as Bendi, Flexi and AisleMaster.


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Wide aisle pallet racking systems

What is very narrow aisle racking?


Very narrow aisle (VNA) racking systems are a specialised storage system that allows for 100% product accessibility, combined with a fast overall pick rate. Aisle widths are typically reduced by up to 50% when compared to that of a standard wide-aisle pallet racking system, in turn, allowing for a major increase in overall storage capacity.


  • The system does, however, require specialised materials handling equipment as forklift trucks cannot turn within the aisle; this is usually accompanied by the installation of a guide rail or wire guidance system.
  • Specialised VNA trucks can be costly to rent and/or purchase, and due to the narrow width of the aisle two vehicles cannot pass by each other at the same time.


  • The system can be built up to a maximum of 17 metres high and typically requires a very flat warehouse floor to be installed upon.


It is a great solution for high-density storage with limited pallet redundancy, as the system can typically run at 95%+ capacity at any given time.

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Very narrow aisle racking systems

What is double deep pallet racking?

Double deep pallet racking systems operate on a (LIFO) 'last-in-first-out' basis with a maximum of four rows placed back-to-back. This means that 50% of your potential SKUs will be inaccessible at any given time due to the nature of the setup.


  • The system is better suited to operations that store stock with a medium to long-term shelf life, and therefore, is ideal for bulk storage.


  • Standard materials handling equipment is incompatible with the system as a deep reach forklift truck equipped with either slide fork or dual pantograph attachments is required to get to the back of the racking.
  • Although the system greatly reduces pallet selectivity, it is a great solution for maximising space within warehouses both big and small, and in comparison to other storage systems, it is a relatively cost-effective solution.


Guide rails can also be fitted to the racking in order to help forklift truck operators to locate pallets more easily, and to also minimise the risk of damage to the racking structure.


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Double deep pallet racking systems

What is drive-in pallet racking?

Drive-in pallet racking is an ideal solution for goods that are stored on pallets behind and on top of each other. The system works on a (FILO) 'first-in-last-out' basis, meaning individual pallets cannot be accessed directly - unless a drive-through system is installed - which allows for pallets to be loaded or retrieved either side of the drive-in block.


  • A drive-in racking system also eliminates the need for operating aisles, therefore, maximising the cubic footprint of the warehouse and saving on a great deal of wasted space.
  • It is a perfect solution for compact storage, whilst making optimum use of both warehouse height and space.
  • A drive-in racking installation is also ideal for seasonal goods storage and can be adapted to suit cold storage and ambient environments.


Amongst other purposes, a drive-in system is great for the safe storage of pressurised goods as the individual pallets are further supported by the overall structure. This is high-volume storage at a most affordable price! 


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Drive-in pallet racking systems

What is dynamic push-back racking?

Push-back pallet racking is one of the most efficient racking systems when considering the optimum use of a warehouse's cubic space. The system works on a (FILO) 'first-in-last-out' principle, with each product having a dedicated marshalling area; ideal for bulk storage and manual handling.


  • The system itself is fairly simple in concept: individual pallets are loaded onto wheeled carriers and are then pushed back along an inclined steel guide channel to the back of the run.
  • The pallets can be stored up to four deep, and when a pallet is picked from the front marshalling area the remaining pallets roll forward to fill the space.


It is ideal for the storage of medium turnover products, and there are few systems that can rival it for the optimal use of both warehouse space and operating time.


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Dynamic push-back racking systems

What is dynamic pallet live storage?

Dynamic pallet live storage works on a (FIFO) 'first-in-first-out' basis and is ideal for the storage of stock with a shorter shelf-life. The system allows for high-density storage, providing operations with automatic stock rotation.


  • Each dedicated lane within the system is built on a slight incline, with pallets loaded into gravity rollers at the higher end of the track.
  • When a pallet is taken from the pick face at the opposite end, the next pallet then rolls into position, allowing for the instantaneous replenishment of stock.
  • Pallet movement is then regulated by a combination of speed controls and braking systems incorporated within the racking system.


A dynamic pallet live storage system is great for making the most of your warehouse space, whilst also allowing for good speed of access and throughput. As with all dynamic systems, this can be quite a costly solution, but the returns can be highly beneficial to operations that best suit a system such as this.


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Dynamic pallet live racking systems

So there you have it! Our guide to pallet racking systems is built to serve as a foundational resource to give you an idea of the types of systems that are available and how they can be of benefit to your operation. If you're looking for more information on the systems then head over to our dedicated product pages or feel free to get in touch and take advantage of our free space planning and warehouse appraisal services. Until next time.



Post by Adam Bissmire-Mullen

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General  FAQ:


What is a pallet racking system?

A pallet racking system is a materials handling system that allows users to store palletized materials in horizontal rows and upon multiple levels. Since WW2, pallet racking systems have become commonplace in warehouses and industrial facilities, allowing for an increased density of stored goods.



What is pallet storage?

Pallet storage is a system, such as pallet racking, that allows for the secure and safe storage of palletised goods. Pallet storage can be in a warehouse or external, depending on the storage system used.



What is a racking bay?

A racking bay consists of two pallet racking frames and a number of beams that connect to the frames either side. The bay carries a number of pallets or boxed stored good between the two uprights on each level of the beams. Each pair of beams form a shelf function and there can be multiple levels within the bay, depending on your storage requirements and the height of the warehouse.



What to consider when adding decking to your pallet racking?

If you are looking to add decking to your pallet racking then it is important to identify which type of decking will be most suitable for your products. There are 4 types of decking available: timber, chipboard, notched steel and mesh decking. They are primarily installed in order to store loose goods of a smaller size or support pallets which are too small for the racking system. The different types of decking allow for the storage of lighter or heavier items.


Please consult our Guide to... Warehouse Decking to find out more.


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