Are you compromising your warehouse space?

Traditionally pallets of packed fruit were secured by securing the steel corner posts to each pallet and storing another level of pallets on top. While doubling store capacity, this form of block storage effectively prevented stock rotation, increased stock damage and in some cases prevented adequate cooling. As fruit packaging became further differentiated, accessing stock quickly for an order became practically impossible.

Pallet racking was introduced into existing fruit stores to solve these problems. “Drive-In” racking made better theoretical use of the chilled space and reduced product damage. However, the accessibility problem was not solved leading to “drive-in” lanes being only partially utilised for immediate access to individual product lines. The alternative was to use fixed selective racking, giving immediate access to every pallet but greatly reducing storage capacity.

Mobile racking was first used in 1997 in a fruit store in the Western Cape, South Africa. The mobile bases were 30 pallets long and stacked 4 pallets high with a top beam of 8251 mms. Designed to take a combination of 2200 mm and 2400 mm pallets with a maximum weight of 1000kgs, the pallets were stored with the 1000 mm side facing and the 1200 mm side in the depth of the racks.

Here’s how mobile racking can improve your warehouse efficiency:

  • Minimise the amount of land needed for a new warehouse
  • Minimise the size of and investment in a new warehouse project
  • Consolidate all storage into one warehouse
  • Release warehouse storage capacity without extending the building
  • Improve accessibility to goods without sacrificing storage capacity

Lets’ discuss a few case studies which had success with mobile racking in their fruit cold stores.


Store 1: Grabouw, Western Cape

This fruit stores’ first 8 mobile racks were installed in 1998. Each mobile is 10 bays of three pallets long and four pallets in the height giving them a total, together with the fixed racks, of 2504 pallet positions. The mobile system was equipped with aisle light switching and pallet support bars which significantly strengthen the racking superstructure by providing lateral stiffening to the beams.

In 2011, it was decided to expand by converting half of a second store to mobile systems. In December 2015 Barpro Storage installed the rails and balance of the bases in the second store to increase the total capacity in both rooms to 4984 pallets. Should they have originally decided to only install static racking in these two rooms, their storage capacity would have dropped to 2584 pallets, a decrease of approximately 50%!

For extra base protection, the client had chosen to fit wooden bumpers to the bases and lockable panel doors to prevent unauthorised access to the control panels. The latest 4 mobiles have the new photoelectric trip bar which was designed and manufactured locally by Barpro Storage. This Photo Electric trip bar is cost effective, more resilient to fork truck damage and can easily be retro fitted to any existing mobile system.

Pallet support beams are important as most fruit pallets are disposable

Store 2 – Ceres, Western Cape

This ambient store has been equipped with a mobile system which allowed a total storage capacity of 232 pallets of which 112 are on mobile bases and 120 on static racking.

The client opted for the Individual Control System which is a straight forward system that allows each mobile rack to be moved independently of the other mobile racks in a zone. Each rack can be moved left or right with a single press of the pushbuttons mounted on the front of each mobile rack.  The trip bars stop the mobile racks in a safe and controlled manner.

Store 3: Villiersdorp, Western Cape

A leading Fresh Fruit exporter required additional space to meet the growing demand. Barpro Storage was approached and provided a solution of total storage capacity of 2559 pallets in both rooms of which 1920 are on mobile racks and 639 pallets on fixed racking.

The system has been working efficiently and is being serviced on a regular basis to prolong its lifespan.

Store 4: Paarl – Western Cape

To handle the abundant fruit harvest, the facility required equipment to meet their extended operation, with increased volumes from their own farms as well as several independent growers. The decision was made to greatly expand the facility with new controlled atmosphere rooms and holding rooms. The expanded facility caters for the cooling, packing, holding, and export of apples and pears; but also the packing of other fruit – stone-fruits, grapes, etc. – with a total packing capacity of up to 120,000 bins a year.

Store 5: Stellenbosch, Western Cape

In November 2018 Barpro Storage installed a second mobile system at a farm store outside Stellenbosch. The first mobile system was installed in 2013 for 441 pallets each of which is immediately accessible, an important consideration in fruit stores. Phase two, was also completed, holds 321 pallets each 1000mms by 1200mms by 2400mms high and a maximum weight of 1200kgs. Pallet weight can accommodate up to 1.5 Ton.

Store 6: Citrus Store, Durban, Kwazulu Natal

The system allowed for a storage total storage capacity of 5656 pallets of which 4806 are on mobile racks and 850 pallets on fixed racking.

This project was completed in 2 phases:

  • Phase 1: Installation of mobiles to go 3 fruit pallets high, but with bases and racking to carry a fourth pallet in the height. Additional rack beams to take 1 or 2 additional levels of off-season products.
  • Phase 2: It was estimated for 2018/2019 to raise the insulated ceiling to 122000/12300mms and to accommodate the 4th level of fruit pallet and up to 6 levels of other products.

For more information please contact Barpro Storage on 021 552 9190 or email us on