High-bay warehouse

What is a high-bay warehouse?

A high bay warehouse is a warehouse with racks, or more precisely, a storage system with high racks. It can have a height from 12 to a maximum height of 50 meters. This results in high space utilization and storage capacity for a few hundred to tens of thousands of pallet spaces. High-bay warehouses - also called HRL for short - are usually steel structures, but in some cases they can also be made of wood.


There are different designs of high-bay warehouses: For example, fully automatic high-bay warehouses in silo design, but also manually operated racking systems and rack systems are possible. In between there are some other construction variants and forms. For example, one speaks of silo construction when the rack is designed to support both the roof and the facade.

Single-deep storage is mostly used as storage technology, since here, in contrast to double racking, access to the picking locations and thus the goods is possible directly. This is the most common principle of warehousing, as only one storage unit is ever stored in the depth of the racks. Therefore, single-depth storage is very suitable for automation, for example for an automated small parts warehouse (AS/RS).

What is a high-bay warehouse used for?

A high-bay warehouse is used for the storage of goods and merchandise. Here, both long goods and flat goods are distinguished. When storing goods on pallets in the pallet warehouse, care should be taken to ensure optimum use of space in order to utilize the full capacity of all areas.

How does a high-bay warehouse work?

The function of storing and retrieving pallets in a high-bay warehouse is given by a warehouse management system (WMS) or warehouse management software. This system communicates with a material flow computer and controls the material flow including the conveyor technology, the storage and retrieval machines (SRM) and any other technology of trades within the building (hall or rack storage).

In each aisle between two rows of racks there is both a storage area and a retrieval area. Here in the so-called pre-storage area of a high-bay warehouse, the goods are delivered and picked up by the storage and retrieval machine for storage or deposited for retrieval.

Storage or retrieval is performed by moving the stacker crane in longitudinal direction, e.g. on rails. Stacker cranes can be controlled automatically or manually. SRMs are operated manually when "person to goods" picking takes place in the pre-zone. When the "goods to person" picking is done, the stacker crane control is automatic. In the case of automatic operation, this part of the warehouse must be protected against access by persons by means of fences, light barriers, etc.

In the automatically operated high-bay warehouse, the movement of the individual load units to the forklift transfer points is carried out by the conveyor system. Conveyor technology also includes components such as chain conveyors, lift tables, vertical conveyors or automated guided vehicles. If the high-bay warehouse is operated manually, the foremost first places in the shelves are always provided for the forklift transfer points


  • Low use of personnel
  • Optimal use of space and area
  • Fast storage and retrieval of goods
  • Direct access to individual pallets
  • Easy adaptation to changed product assortment
  • Several possible uses and combinations with other systems, especially for order processing at picking islands, such as with Pick-to-Light, Voice Picking, etc.


  • Very high investment costs
  • Extensive organization necessary even before commissioning
  • Possibility of total failure
  • High-bay warehouses are only expandable to a limited extent


Although a high level of investment is required to implement this storage solution, high-bay warehouses have become indispensable in logistics as well as intralogistics.

Through the use as well as the flexibility of different picking systems and solutions and in combination with a good warehouse management as well as material flow system, a high bay warehouse is optimally suited for warehousing and picking.

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