Spieth professional racking manufacturers agree that a warehouse is at its peak efficiency once it reaches 80 to 85 percent filled floor space. Higher capacities than this will be counterproductive when you don't have enough area to safely, smoothly pick and place products.
That's why maximizing storage capacity in the warehouse is as important as the racking itself. Aisles can take up to 80% of a facility's available floor space - which is why reducing unnecessary aisle space can create more space for more pallet racking to increase storage capacity.
Narrow aisle racking systems allow you to create high density storage by making better use of floor space and ceiling height, enabling you to store up to 50% more product in the same space. Let's take a look at narrow aisle options and how they work.
VNA Systems - Best Practices for Reducing Warehouse Aisles
Traditional or wide aisles (WA) are typically about 12 feet or wider, which is the typical warehouse design that has been in place for many years. The wide aisle concept evolved as a result of the material handling equipment available at the time. These were traditional counterbalanced forklifts that required approximately 12 feet of aisle width to operate. Due to the tight space, there was not enough aisle space to accommodate the forklift's body length, load size, and reasonable clearance for safe turns.
Narrow aisle (NA) widths are approximately 8 to 10 feet. As forklift designs have evolved, they require less and less maneuvering area in the warehouse aisle. Part of the reason for the design improvements is that technological advances have made them more efficient in compact configurations. Forklifts are also becoming smaller for economic reasons. Increasing floor space costs require improved area capitalization. As a result, aisle widths were reduced to meet compact lift sizes of about eight feet. Narrow aisle configurations can save about 20% of space. Vertical trucks, forward trucks and double-deep extension trucks operate at NA widths.
Very narrow aisles, called VNAs, measure less than 6 feet and can significantly reduce aisle space, allowing you to store 40 to 50 percent more product. VNA systems require special lift vehicles such as articulating counterbalanced forklifts, turret trucks and order pickers. vna systems typically use wire, rail or optical guidance systems to travel within the aisle to optimize speed and reduce product, rack and vehicle damage. Guidance systems free up operators to focus on lifting and orienting rather than steering, thereby increasing productivity.
How wide should my warehouse aisles be?
The maximum aisle width of a warehouse depends on what the material handling equipment needs to safely navigate the aisle and pick products efficiently. Aisle width also depends on the products placed and the type of pallet in use. There is no precise measurement. The width is completely related to the way the entire warehouse operates.
However, there are specific parameters and guidelines you need to consider when designing an efficient and productive warehouse. It starts with appreciating how much extra space can be gained by reducing the aisle width. For example, reducing the aisle width from 12 feet to 8 feet can add an additional 15 to 20 percent of storage area. This is a significant savings in itself and a great way to increase warehouse capacity without actually expanding the building.
Thinking of reducing your footprint to maximize storage capacity?Spieth's professional racking designers will help you discover the ideal storage solution for your facility. Whether your optimal aisle solution is wide, narrow, very narrow, or somewhere in between, we can design and produce the right system that will help improve your facility's efficiency and reduce operating costs. Talk to one of our storage experts today at the contact information below.
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