Narrow Aisle Pallet Racking - A Guide

narrow aisle pallet racking

Narrow Aisle Pallet Racking is the perfect solution for companies who wish to make the most out of their warehouse storage space. The space-saving principle behind the system is fairly simple; increase your storage density by reducing the amount of floor and cubic space occupied by the service aisles. As the name suggests, the system employs the use of narrow aisles to accomplish this and palletised stock is accessed through the use of specialised handling trucks, such as narrow aisle trucks or cranes. With narrow aisle pallet racking, average aisle width is around 1.5 metres (4.5 feet), a reduction of up to 2 metres (6 feet) from other systems, ensuring better usage of storage space.

One of the advantages of using narrow aisle trucks is that it has superior vertical lift capabilities to those of standard counterbalance forklifts, enabling it to achieve faster materials handling rates and ultimately better productivity levels for the warehouse. Each palletised item features its own supports, allowing order pickers to quickly retrieve and deposit inventory with absolute precision. Narrow Aisle Racking is one of the most popular forms of storage system throughout the world today.

It’s important to note that narrow aisle storage systems should only be installed by certified pallet racking installers.

What Are the Advantages of Narrow Aisle Pallet Racking?

  • Maximise Floor Space – employing a narrow aisle racking system can save warehouses up to 45% floor space, when compared to other alternative systems, making it an excellent choice for companies whose storage space is at a premium
  • Maximise Vertical Storage Space – narrow aisle racking systems can be extended to considerable vertical heights, allowing warehouses to take full advantage of all available storage space
  • High Selectivity – each individual pallet can be quickly accessed with a narrow aisle truck, making it invaluable for warehouse operations that require high selectivity
  • Economical – in the short term, narrow aisle racking maximises warehouse floor and cubic space, allowing companies to make better use of the saved space for additional storage purposes, boosting productivity which in turn improves their bottom line
  • Heavy Duty Steel Construction – narrow aisle systems are fortified with heavy duty bolted steel beams and diagonal bracing, ensuring pallet loads are securely supported
  • Pallet Rack Protection – add-on accessories such as guide rails or guidance systems can be installed to further protect the rack infrastructure from sustaining potential damage from narrow aisle trucks
  • Increased Safety – the implementation of rack protection systems enhances the lifespan of the storage system and helps safeguard personnel against workplace injuries due to structural failure
  • Flexibility – both the height and depth of narrow aisle storage systems can be readily customised to suit the demands of each warehouse application

What Are the Disadvantages of Narrow Aisle Pallet Racking?

  • Narrow Aisle Trucks – these specialist handling trucks are more expensive than ordinary counterbalance forklifts, so the initial upfront costs can be a negative, however, these additional costs are offset by the warehouse storage space saved. Implementing a narrow aisle system with narrow trucks is far cheaper than relocating your existing pallet racking system to a bigger location
  • Handling Trucks Cannot Pass Each Other – the narrow aisles make it impossible for two handling trucks to pass each other at the same time
  • Requires Additional Forklift to Complete Outbound and Inbound Deliveries – when a pallet is retrieved from the storage system, the narrow aisle truck must transfer it to an ordinary forklift and vice versa for inbound pallets

Which Warehouse Operations Will Benefit from Narrow Aisle Pallet Racking?

Like all storage systems, Narrow Aisle Racking is best suited to specific warehouse conditions. This includes warehouse operations that require the following:

  • High density storage where high selectivity rather than high speed retrieval is a priority
  • Longspan style archive storage
  • Precise retrieval of palletised packages with diverse product types

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