Key Considerations for Warehouse Aisle Widths
What are the essential warehouse layout criteria?
Forklift aisle widths are typically set when pallet racking is installed. In many cases, such as narrow aisle projects, these spaces are critically important. Typically, warehouse managers don’t attempt to lay out these types of storage facilities. But for reach truck, selective rack applications, these aisle sizes are often “eye balled”, or given a 12′ width no matter what type of forklift is using the aisles. If you are laying out a facility, what criteria should you use for rack aisle width?
General aisle configuration guidelines
Typical aisles for 3 or 4 wheel, counterbalance forklifts are wider than for other types of trucks. A simple “rule of thumb” calculation is:
- Head length is the distance from the back of the forklift to the front of the load back rest.
- Load length is the length of the pallet down the stringer, plus its load overhang.
- The 12″ add-on is for maneuvering space
- The 6″ add-on is for pallet overhang. Loads can hang over further than 6″.
We recommend that you always consult your forklift documentation when making these determinations. Many lift truck manufacturers have calculations designed for their vehicles. Also, for more complex rack design, consult us, or another qualified racking company for assistance.
Typical rack aisle width requirements for lifting equipment
Other rack configuration resources
- How to Prevent Items from Falling Off Pallet Racks
- Protecting Order Pickers in Rack Aisles
- Safety Rules for Pedestrians & Forklifts
Scott Stone is Cisco-Eagle's Vice President of Marketing with more than thirty years of experience in material handling, warehousing and industrial operations. His work is published in multiple industry journals an websites on a variety of warehousing topics. He writes about automation, warehousing, safety, manufacturing and other areas of concern for industrial operations and those who operate them.