Storax Mobile Racking - supplied, installed and maintained by Barpro Storage SA

Can mobile racking work in FMCG stores?

Storax mobile racking has long established itself as a popular option – indeed the system of choice – for high-density storage efficiency, with well over 250 installations in the last 20 years in SA alone.


Most of these have been in Cold and Freezer Store applications – quite logically since this is the most expensive type of facility to both build, maintain, and run, meaning that maximum usage of volume is vital.


However, it is a commonly held belief that the concept will not work in general warehousing situations, such as fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), since it is not ‘fast enough’. Unfortunately this is a view held by many of our leading consultants. This is often – though obviously not always – a misconception.


Admittedly the average FMCG warehouse moves product in and out at a far greater pace than the normal freezer store, but the argument is also used that mobile racks do not lend themselves to simultaneous order picking.


This second contention should not even be a consideration, since although many operators have pallet handling and picking happening in the same access aisle, this is not simply bad practice but, in most countries, strictly illegal in terms of safety legislation.


The contention that the racks will not move fast enough to create the aisles where needed is very simply overcome by intelligent warehouse management whereby WM communicates with the RT operator to inform him of his route, and using his cab-mounted RF remote control he is able to ensure the correct aisle is open pretty much by the time he gets there.


As far as pallet load handling is concerned, consider this: The product throughput speed (in and out) of the warehouse is governed by many issues, but is ultimately limited by the number of reach-trucks in operation. Accordingly the warehouse operator will use the number of RTs that his throughput demands. If he needs two machines working constantly, why have more than two aisles? All others are just wasted space that could be utilised for additional capacity.

Storax mobile racking utilises additional warehouse space leaving one aisle open for a forktruck

Storax mobile racking utilises additional warehouse space leaving one aisle open for a forktruck


Imagine a typical warehouse with palletised goods on racking 6 or 7 high, with 12 runs of racking. He needs only 2 machines to handle the throughput, but has 11 aisles permanently open. If this racking was mobile, split up as 2 banks of 6 with only two movable aisles opening as and where needed for access, he would reduce the space needed for racking by up to 50%.


Alternatively he could store nearly double the quantity of product in the same area. Say two banks of 12 runs with two moving aisles. If he needs 3 RTs, the layout will be designed accordingly with perhaps 3 banks of 8 runs with 3 aisles; or for 4 machines 4 banks of 6 with 4 aisles. Obviously this is an over-simplification, and there are definite limits to this argument, but the principle holds.



Storax Ramada Ranger ShuttleThere are many other, perfectly good, systems available for high-density pallet storage, including our own Ranger RF shuttle, but only Storax mobiles enable full selective access to any pallet in the whole system at any time.




Discuss your needs with Barpro before making expensive decisions, perhaps based on not being fully informed about the full range of possibilities, and we’ll use our extensive experience to advise on all aspects of your new facility, from the earliest planning stages through to completion.


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