Push-back pallet racking storage rack is a unique style of structural pallet rack that is the cornerstone of RBI’s business. In terms of storage density, push-back systems are very similar to drive-in/drive-thru systems in that space is utilized in a greater capacity than typical selective pallet rack systems. Where push-back differs from a drive-in rack system lies within the interaction of the fork truck and the pallet racking system itself. RBI offers rack system depths ranging from 2 to 6 pallets, as well as an industry exclusive 7-deep system.

For drive-in pallet racking fork truck must enter the system’s depth and manually place a pallet into the desired position. The fork truck must then back out, or in the case of drive-thru, ‘drive out’, to exit the system. The placed pallet remains in its initial position until a fork truck repeats the procedure to remove it.

The advantage of push-back storage rack is that it removes the interaction between the fork truck and the rack system deeper than anything beyond the front set of columns and beams. Push-back rack systems are composed of a series of beams, rails, and carts – these beams are installed to provide a slope that dips ‘down’ in the front of the system. This allows material to move throughout the system by gravity alone. By utilizing rolling carts, the pallet position is always populated in the ‘first’ position – meaning loading push-back pallet racking is essentially the same as selective rack. The telescoping carts “stack” atop one another so that the pallets always shift to allow fork truck operators to rapidly interact with the storage system in the first pallet position. These systems are provided in a multitude of different options, which are explained in more detail below.

Push-back pallet racking systems also offer more flexibility in SKU sizes as well; some overhang of loads is allowed and there is the ability to use single-wide, up to four-wide beam lengths, which means less trusses need to be used. In comparison, drive-in/drive-thru systems are typically used as single-wide bay configurations.

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push-back storage rack Rack Builders IncPallet Condition & RBI Storage Solutions

For push-back and drive-in storage systems, pallet condition is an important aspect of design that should always be evaluated extensively. Poor condition pallets for either rack system can result in less than desirable performance or outright failure if not evaluated carefully.

This is another area where push-back systems have an advantage over drive-in systems. Additional steps can be taken to allow poorly-conditioned pallets to still function on these systems. A wide range of pallet rack design solutions can be implemented:

  • Additional horizontal cart supports can be added to increase the rigidity of the carts and prevent bowing in weak pallets.
  • The use of a stationary cart in the first pallet position rather than resting directly on rails.
  • Safety bars can be added between rails to prevent pallets from falling through levels.
  • Carts can feature a welded or wire deck surface to allow for a wide range of pallet conditions to be stored.

The Push-Back & Drive-In Hybrid Rack

A popular way to maximize inventory storage within push-back systems is to raise the first beam level up high and allow fork trucks to drive into the rack system and deposit pallets on the floor. This is especially helpful in situations where a double stack of material that would be rapidly turned over is in play.  However, as fork trucks are driving into this hybrid system, there is a greater risk of rack-truck interaction. RBI negates some of this possible damage by providing pallet rack accessory options such as in-line truss rub rails, floor-mounted angles, or rack-mounted guides.