In recent years, the need for industrial storage equipment has been growing more rapidly than at any time in the past, despite the less favourable economic conditions prevailing today. Although some distributors have chosen to address the need to house larger stocks by acquiring additional warehouse space, the cost of hiring or purchasing extra premises can be high. A more economical alternative for a distribution centre might be simply to make more efficient use of the space that it already owns or is renting.

In practice, to attain the desired improvement in efficiency could require little more than an upgrade to the industrial storage equipment currently in use. The two main options available to warehouses and distribution centres are racking and shelving. They are ideal for bulk handling, where rapid picking and restocking are important. Where smaller numbers of items, such as the personal effects of the centre’s employees, may need to be stored more securely, a steel locker can provide the ideal solution.

In the field of racking, there are several options in which the choice is often dependent upon the nature of the items to be stored. Cantilever racking, for example, is a variety of industrial storage equipment that provides the most efficient solution for storing lengthy or bulky items, or those that are of an awkward shape and are thus less easily handled. Furniture, rolls of carpet or textile, lengths of tubing, or timber are just a few examples of items that are best stored using this type of racking.

Transport, whether manual or automated, also plays an important role in the warehousing operation. The use of manned forklifts in conjunction with drive-in or drive-through racking is a solution recommended where large volumes of palletises items need to stored compactly. Depending upon whether this type of industrial storage equipment is to be used for a first in, first out (FIFO) or a first in, last out (FILO) type of operation, either a drive-through racking system with a 2-aisle configuration or a drive-in system, in which access to the stored items is by means of a single aisle, will be required, respectively.

Automating at least part of the process can, of course, provide a warehouse with a more productive solution and one such option is the use of a system known as pallet mole racking. While items are collected and retrieved using a forklift, their positioning within the racks of the industrial storage equipment is automated by means of a clever little device called a mole. Items inserted into the entrance of a rack are automatically shuttled to the next vacant position on the rack and the mole returns to the entrance to await the next item. Later, as items are removed from the exit end, the mole shunts items from behind to fill the gap left, ensuring a continuous first in, first out operation.

In smaller centres, or in libraries and supermarkets, where packing and retrieval of items is purely manual, the task calls for a less complex solution in the form of shelving. Whatever the nature of your business, Krost Shelving & Racking is South Africa’s acknowledged leader in the field of industrial storage equipment.