Some Pushback on Pushback Rack

John Geddes
June 10, 2019

Some Pushback on Pushback Rack

We are going to offer a little pushback on the value of a pushback rack system. This type of rack is not for every application. In fact, pushback rack is not for companies unwilling to consider all options. We don’t mean that in a negative or sarcastic way. The reality, however, is solutions are available for every problem. Some are better than others. It is a matter how one views the problem.

Pushback rack is a great solution for many applications.

Even First In, First Out?

Take the need for first-in, first-out rack (FIFO) capability. Pushback rack cannot work in such a setting, right? Well, it depends. The answer is no if your company deals in products needing a fast turnaround and all you have is a single lane of pushback racking. Spoilage will occur.

Why?

The concept behind the design of pushback racks allows for high-density storage of products where the first load in is always the last load out. Loads placed into the rack sit on inclined rails (or c-channel and even a roller system) so, as each newer load is placed in a lane, the older one is pushed back, hence the name. Then, the unloading process is the reverse of the loading, making it easier to access the furthest back load because it slides forward as pallets in front are removed.

It allows for efficient storage in a smaller space. Other rack options would require a larger footprint to the same task.

Now, back to the FIFO challenge. A pushback rack system with only one lane cannot perform FIFO operations. However, it will work by adding more lanes. For instance, having four lanes allows a company to dedicate space by age of the products placing the oldest product in one lane and then filling the remaining lanes in chronological order.

That way the oldest products are removed first. Is this the best option for most companies? Of course not, but if pushback racking is what you have and no budget for additional racking, it will work in a pinch.

Pushback rack carts and rails with no product loaded

Pushback rack is generally not a good solution if your company deals in products that need a fast turnaround because of its last-in last-out configuration.

High Density–Versatile

We mentioned earlier that pushback racks are a great solution for high-density storage. These racks come in several configurations from racks offering two pallet loads deep to those having the capability to store up to six pallets deep.

Pushback racks do allow companies additional vertical storage space and can accommodate heavier loads. But, this depends on the rack’s design. Before attempting to load products with significant weight, it is best to consult with a rack professional to ensure the rack meets your specifications.

Pushback racks are among the most versatile when it comes to a wide temperature range. The racks can withstand normal temperatures found in most warehouses. Still, this type of rack is a favorite for use in cold temperatures such as those in large freezers.

Another aspect of its versatility is the capability of customizing the rack. Most assume pushback racks work great for standard pallet sizes and the truth is these racks perform amazingly well under standard operating conditions. However, few realize that the addition of special supports and the rack will accommodate longer or wider pallet sizes.

Pushback rack (3 deep) loaded with product

Pushback rack is a high-density rack solution that can be configured differently depending on the application requirement. Is it the type of rack system for every business? No.

Durable

Damage to racking is a common problem in most warehouses. No doubt, your forklift drivers are very safe and conscientious when it comes to moving product around the warehouse. But for those companies spending a lot on repairs, pushback racks reduce much of the damage to racks in warehouse settings.

Again, its design minimizes direct interaction between the rack and the forklift.

This alone is a major benefit of these racks.

It is no wonder forklift operators like pushback racks. The learning curve for working with these racks is much faster than other racks. And pushback racking works with a variety of different lift trucks including the standard forklift along with counterbalance, swing reach and clamp style lift equipment.

So, what applications work best with pushback racks? We said earlier that virtually any warehouse could make use of the rack system. However, you will find pushback racks in a variety of manufacturing, logistics, automotive and food processing/distribution settings.

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