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 of 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 known as HRLs for short - are usually steel constructions, but in some cases they can also be made of wood.

Versions

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 shelving systems are possible. In between, there are several other construction variants and forms. For example, one speaks of silo construction when the racking is constructed in such a way that it supports 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 well suited 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. A distinction is made here between both long goods and flat goods. When storing goods on pallets in the pallet warehouse, care should be taken to ensure optimum use of space in order to exploit 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 provided 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 the longitudinal direction, e.g. on rails. Storage and retrieval machines can be controlled automatically or manually. SRMs are operated manually when "person to goods" picking takes place in the pre-zone. When "goods to person" picking is done, the AS/RS is controlled automatically. When automatic operation is used, this part of the warehouse must be protected against access by persons by means of fences, light barriers, etc.

In an 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, lifting tables, vertical conveyors or driverless transport vehicles. If the high-bay warehouse is operated manually, the frontmost first places in the shelves are always provided for the forklift transfer points

Advantages

  • Low use of personnel
  • Optimal use of space and area
  • Fast storage and retrieval of goods
  • Direct access to individual pallets
  • Simple adaptation to a changed product range
  • Several application and combination possibilities with other systems are possible, especially for order processing at picking islands, e.g. with Pick-to-Light, Voice Picking, etc.

Disadvantages

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

Conclusion

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

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