Different Types of Storage
The process of warehouse design implies that the various types of product storage equipment have been reviewed and selected. Obviously, the selection process depends on the nature of the products the enterprise is to warehouse. Product characteristics can be described as the number of units to be stocked, throughput targets, weight, cubic volume, width, depth, stacking limitations, association with related products, packaging, dangerous and hazardous substances, temperature control and shelf life. A useful way to view storage types is to divide them into two classes: large-item or large-volume product storage and small-item or small-volume storage.
Large-item or large-volume product storage is used to handle products whose unit size is significant or whose planned inventories quantities are large. Examples of storage types in this class include the following:
? Open Floor Storage. This type of storage would be the most applicable for large products whose physical characteristics make it difficult for them to be easily stored on pallets or placed on racks. Another application would be the storage of products whose stocked quantity and volume permit stockmen and order picking personnel to cost-effectively stack, service, and fill items directly from open floor storage areas.
? Pallet Racks. This type of storage structure has been designed to facilitate the maximum storage of a given product placed on pallets. Normally, both the pallet and the storage structure sizes are standardized. When products is received, it is stacked to meet the maximum pallet storage capacity. The advantages of this storage type is ease of material handling in put-away and the ability to pick case lots or whole pallets to meet customer demand.
? Drive-in/Back-to-Back Pallet Racks. Drive-in racks are designed so that forklifts or other equipment can ?drive-in? to the racks between structure uprights and pallet support rails. These types of storage provides maximum utilization of warehouse space by eliminating wasted aisle and vehicle maneuvering space.
? Storage Racks. Often product stocking quantities are too small to warrant pallet storage but whose stock or physical size disqualifies them for small parts storage. Normally, the storage shelf is standardized into several heights to accommodate product inventory requirements.
? Cantilever Racks. Normally consists of a row of single upright columns, spaced several feet apart, with arms extending from one or both sides of the upright to form supports for product storage. Because of their long, unobstructed support, these types of racks are best used to store metal rods, tubes, pipes, bar stock, wood poles, and other products of comparable shapes.
? Flow Racks. The single characteristic of this storage type is the use of conveyors positioned within rack. By tilting up the back end of the conveyor, gravity draws individual products or pallets serviced from the rear forward so that they ca be easily picked. The advantages of flow racks over pallet and shelf racks are that they permit FIFO inventory control, reduce need for aisles, minimize handling by having one input and discharge point, and reduce damage and pilferage.
? Specialized Racks. Because of their shapes characteristics, some products require specialized storage racking. One example is the use of tilted barrels staged in racks to store casters, metal ingots, and short metal rods.
Small-parts or small-volume storage is used to warehouse items whose size and/or volume permit them to be warehoused in small-capacity storage equipment. Examples of static storage systems are the following:
? Shelving. Normally, shelving structures are constructed of light-gauge cold-rolled steel and consist of a number of different type of posts or sides, shelving that is secured through bolts or special brackets, and optional steel backings.
? Modular Storage Drawers. A method employed to better utilize shelving space is to use compartmentalized drawers mounted in storage shelving or cabinets. Similar to shelving, modular storage drawers can also be stacked or mezzanined to utilize vertical warehouse space.
Although static types of storage have long dominated the warehousing of small parts, dynamic parts storage systems have been growing in popularity. Examples of dynamic storage systems are the following:
? Carousels. This type of storage can be defined as a series of modular, movable shelved or compartmentalized bin facing linked together by means of a motorized oval track. Carousels consist of two types: vertical and horizontal. Vertical carousels revolve on a vertical oval track and are either top-driven or bottom-driven. The benefit of a vertical carousel is utilization of vertical warehouse space. Horizontal carousels can be configured into a much greater variety of heights, widths, depths, and weight capacities that vertical types, and they can be used for many different warehouse storage applications.
? Moveable-Aisle Systems. This type of storage is characterized by shelving cabinets or bins placed on movable carriages that either glide or roll on stationary tracks. The major advantage of moveable-aisle systems is the elimination of aisle space between stocking rows.
? Miniload AS/RS Systems. It is defined as ?a fully, enclosed, automatic storage that brings parts and materials to an operator for picking, kitting, and so on, and automatically returns the material into the system.
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Ross, D. (2004). Distribution. Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers.