Pushback racks are similar in nature to the drive-in rack, but with noticeable differences. The pushback rack system works best when the application demands high-density storage. These racks offer greater storage in smaller areas (up to 90% in some instances) when compared to selective racking.
These racks use a slanted rail system in combination with carts that ride the rails. The carts nest. A pallet is placed on the first cart. The next pallet pushes the first one to expose the next cart. The process repeats based upon the number of carts available in each lane.
With this type of rail system, one might assume maintenance would be an issue. Fortunately, this is not true. In fact, aside from routine maintenance (damage to the frame, carts or the rack anchors) the rack requires little additional maintenance.
An important criterion for investing in pushback racks is usage. A good rule of thumb is having many products with more than five pallets per SKU. This type of rack allows for greater storage density of multiple products. One possible drawback is similar to that of drive-in racks. Pallets placed in pushback racks also operate on the “last in-first out” (LIFO) storage method. This makes it a challenge in rotating products with a limited shelf life.
Pushback racks come in several lane depth configurations. Most pushback rack systems have a 3000 lb load capacity for standard pallet loads. Still, it is possible to customize pushback rack configurations to accommodate wide and/or non-standard weight loads.
You find these racks in many applications including:
- 3PL facilities
- Automotive assembly
- Food distribution (including freezer settings)
Speed and safety are the main advantages of the pushback rack. The racks allow for storage of multiple products on each level of the rack. This feature improves stock rotation and space allocation. Unlike the drive-in racks, a forklift driver retrieves the pallet in the aisle, not by driving into the rack. This reduces the potential for rack damage and decreases fulfillment time.
Pushback rack is generally very safe when compared to other racks. Still, forklift operators should be careful when removing pallets from the rack. The carts on which the pallet rests are positioned on a slight incline, helpful when unloading pallets. There is no braking system for the pallets other than the skill of the forklift operator. That person determines the speed of the remaining pallets in the bay. Too fast and the load on the pallets could shift, or worse, cause accident and injury. Always remember to remove pallets slowly to ensure safe unloading.
Is pushback rack right for your application? This information should provide some direction. However, a rack professional can help you explore multiple options and assist you in choosing the best solution for your application.