Explore storage options for a variety of bulk items and containers…
When looking at storage options for your warehouse or factory, your primary goals are maximizing space, ease of access to products, and safety. But with the large variety of options, it can be overwhelming trying to determine which or what combination of storage systems best fits your needs.
While a tremendous amount of time and effort is dedicated to efficient storage solutions for palletized inventory, optimized bulk inventory storage can sometimes be overlooked. Apex offers a variety of bulk storage solutions and can help you determine which system is best for your business. Here’s an overview of popular options.
What is Bulk Storage?
Bulk storage is equipment and supplies stored in large quantities, typically in a warehouse setting. Goods are often stored in original containers and without packaging. Bulk storage may refer to liquid products such as petroleum or industrial supplies such as construction materials. It can also refer to food storage. In general, bulk storage requires fewer physical storage bins and allows for fast access to containers, with storage layout in blocks and rows.
Types of Bulk Items & Containers
- Storage Tanks, Vats, Drums & Silos – Ideal for liquid storage
- Super Sacks – Typically for dry, flowable material. These can be stored on a pallet but with caution due to weight, movement and product overhang.
- IBC Containers – Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBC) are designed for a variety of materials from food grade bulk liquids to hazardous materials.
- Building Materials / Lumber
- Large Equipment / Assembly Parts
- Furniture / Appliances
Bulk Warehouse Storage Options
Ideally, warehouse inventory is stored on a pallet whenever possible. Palletized loads are easier to handle with traditional equipment (forklifts, pallet jacks, etc.) and easier to store on pallet racks, making efficient use of cubic space. However, it’s important to remember that not all products can be palletized. In this case, a different type of storage solution may be your best option. Here are some examples.
Floor stacking is the most basic form of warehouse storage and does not require any type of storage equipment. Objects are placed directly on the floor or on a single pallet and stacked on top of one another in blocks. It’s extremely space-intensive and requires very large areas for storing large quantities of stock.
When you remove loads from storage lanes, space remains empty until the entire lane is cleared. This requires in-depth planning in order to predict stock input and output levels and efficiently use the space.
Pallet rack can sometimes be used for bulk containers or adapted for non-palletized inventory depending on the size and specs of the containers. For example, drum cradles are specifically engineered to store drums and M&V supports are uniquely designed to organize and store loose, odd-shaped inventory.
Drum cradles are an excellent storage solution for rounded-shaped inventory such as drums, wheels, and rims. Their ergonomic design uses two triangular supports welded to a front and rear brace that fit over the top of the front and rear beams.
M&V Dividers are Apex’s solution to products that don’t quite fit on a pallet and aren’t easily packed in a carton. Dividers are made of 3/8” wire or 1” tubing and formed in the shape of an “M” or “V” to allow for the product to be stored vertically. This maximizes storage space and creates easy access to the product.
A Note About Point Loads
When considering pallet rack systems, especially when storing bulk or custom containers, it’s important to keep in mind the issue of point loads. In typical practice, you uniformly distribute the load across the pallet which allows standard racking components to be used. However, when using footed containers, they place a focused point load on the rack beam which can cause deflection and/or change the loading capacity of the system. As this point-load location can vary, a simple increase in the rated load capacity may not address the issue properly.
In such situations, the Apex Engineering & Design team can develop a solution to accommodate uneven load distribution. As we describe in a recent project spotlight – Apex designed a custom-engineered, fabricated metal deck surface for a pallet racking system that included robust under-deck support to provide point-load stability. Solutions are specific to the type of bulk storage container and racking system configuration.
A pallet flow rack is a pallet load go-to for space-saving first-in/first-out inventory rotation. But with a little customization, it’s also an efficient bulk storage medium for everything from IBC containers and large equipment to beer kegs and tires.
Cantilever racks are designed for storing long, bulky items such as lumber, piping, or textiles. These racks contain vertical support arms that attach to a series of columns and then cantilever out on a slight angle to support the load. Arm height is adjustable to accommodate the size and quantity of load. Cantilever has also been known to store the extra-large and bulky – from industrial wire reels to furniture to even small vehicles or boats.
Apex Provides Premium Bulk Storage Options
Apex Warehouse Solutions can help you design the right solution for your storage needs. We will help you explore a variety of storage systems and determine the best fit to maximize your space, keeping products accessible and safe.
We also offer expert installation services.
Ready to get started? Contact us today!