Your pallet density likely will determine the solution.
Depending on your operation, you might be wondering whether a pallet shuttle or pushback racking system provide the best solution for optimizing efficiency. While the two types of systems share some similarities, operational needs often make the choice clear.
Pushback rack and pallet shuttle systems both can maximize storage space and increase efficiency. However, they have distinct differences in application.
A pushback rack system is a type of pallet storage solution that relies on a series of nested carts or rails within the storage lanes. The system is designed to store multiple pallets in a deep configuration, with each pallet placed on a cart. When a new pallet is loaded into a lane, it pushes the existing pallets further back along the rails. This creates a last-in, first-out (LIFO) storage system, where the most recently loaded pallet is the first to be retrieved.
Pushback systems are particularly suitable for storing a relatively small number of SKUs in high-density storage environments. They are ideal when there’s a requirement to maximize storage capacity while maintaining access to multiple pallets of the same SKU. Pushback systems are commonly used in industries such as food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, and manufacturing, where products have expiration dates or production runs that need to be managed.
Pallet Shuttle Systems
A pallet shuttle system, on the other hand, is a semi-automated solution that uses specialized shuttle robots to move pallets within deep storage lanes. The shuttle robots are guided by a remote control or a central control system.
Pallets are loaded onto the shuttle at the entrance of a lane, and the shuttle transports them to the deepest available storage location. This creates a first-in, first-out (FIFO) storage system, as the first pallet loaded into the lane is the first to be retrieved.
Pallet shuttle systems are best suited for high-density storage environments with a high number of pallets for each SKU. They are particularly useful when there’s a need for both high storage density and efficient inventory rotation, making them well-suited for industries like cold storage, retail distribution, and e-commerce fulfillment centers.
Both systems offer high-density storage, but pallet shuttle systems are often used when extremely high-density storage is required; working best when handling loads that include upwards of 100 pallets per SKU.
Alternately, pushback rack is optimized when the number of pallets per product runs in the single or double digits.
While there certainly are other factors to consider, the choice between pushback rack and pallet shuttle systems for your warehouse or distribution center may come down to the simple question of how many pallets per product you need to unload at any given time.
Our specialists will help guide you to the right pallet handling solution while taking care of all your project requirements through turnkey material handling services tailored to your needs. We offer project analysis and management, design, engineering, controls, installation, down to final walk-through and follow-up.
Contact us today for consultation from our systems expert. We look forward to guiding you to the right pallet handling solution.