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Mezzanine Monthly – Why Choose A Rack Supported Mezzanine

Versatile vertical space utilization with many types of storage and excellent storage density

Mezzanine Inquiry

rack supported mezzanine in an order fulfillment operation
Above: Rack supported mezzanine in a warehouse facility. Photo courtesy of Unex.

The typical U.S. distribution center is 31.1 feet tall, according to a survey by Statista.  But when more space is needed for operations, mezzanines can be used to create it. Most facilities aren’t fully using that vertical cube, either. Rather than expanding out, you can expand up.  Vertical storage options have options within as well (whoa, that got deep).

Tall racks are frequently deployed to utilize all if that vertical cube. If you have pallet rack, using part of it in the form of a rack supported mezzanine gains more from your vertical cube is an ideal solution. What could a rack mezzanine do for your facility?

Use your rack for vertical

It’s a great concept: why not use your existing infrastructure to create more vertical cube opportunities! Building “up” within current operations is a great way to get the most out of your facility, and by creating a rack supported mezzanine structure you can do just that.

This month’s mezzanine – Rack supported

  • Perfect for increasing storage space without expansion
  • More storage density = More inventory in a tight footprint, which reduces walking & transit
  • Easily customizable, and flexible enough to adapt to your operations over time
  • Safety features mean workers can focus on the task at hand on your mezzanine

Why this type of mezzanine?

If you have an existing rack, you can reconfigure it to add work areas and varied types of storage. These mezzanines are supported by rack uprights instead of structural legs or columns, which means that your walkways are your aisles. They can support extremely heavy operations. But that’s not the only advantage of utilizing this type of mezzanine.

Increased storage space
rack supported mezzanine in use

Simply put, if you’re expanding upwards, you use even more of your existing space.

You now have additional floor space in which to place more pallet racks, work zones or any other type of related solution. What is gained is the option to use formerly unusable space by accessing the vertical area in your facility to extend your storage or manufacturing processes. With such open potential to explore, adding this type of mezzanine to your rack seems like a great option.

Economically effective solution

Finding ways to use all space available but keep costs down but also creates flexibility. Rack supported mezzanines are a cost-effective solution for increasing storage space and improving material handling processes in a warehouse. One important aspect of this is the storage density you can increase through the use of a rack supported mezzanine. Adding this solution to your existing rack structure allows for an easy way to integrate dense storage options. And once added, these options mean more items are ready to go.

Another way they add value is by the addition itself. They are significantly less expensive than traditional building additions, as they do not require the construction of additional walls or columns. Additionally, they can be installed quickly and with minimal disruption to existing operations.

Read more: How to specify your mezzanine project 

Flexibility is baked (or built) in

Pick module illustration depicting various storage methods for a rack supported structures

Customization is key when adding a rack supported mezzanine to any operation. These platforms can be designed to fit the specific needs of a facility, with sizes and configurations to meet the specific requirements that an existing space demands. This allows for the mezzanine to be adapted as the needs of the warehouse change over time.

Storage methods for rack-supported mezzanines

  • Carton flow: built into all levels of a rack supported mezzanine, with platforms for order pickers. It’s easy to fit any depth of rack with carton flow, creating a first-in, first-out inventory storage strategy.
  • Pallet flow: like carton flow, pallet flow presents loads to pickers. This lets them take full cases on a mezzanine level for order fulfillment. These pallets are forklift-loaded on the aisle side and flow to pickers on the mezzanine for processing.
  • Pallet storage: place single pallets on the aisle side for slower moving items or bulk storage access.
  • Decking & shelves: although shelf-supported systems tend to accommodate shelves better, rack levels can be decked for manual access.
  • Other options: rack-supported platforms can hold in-plant offices, conveyors and other processing equipment.

 

Flexibility isn’t just for the initial installation.

By creating multiple levels of storage, the mezzanine allows for more efficient use of space, reducing the need for long aisles and improving access to stored materials. Additionally, mezzanines can be equipped with conveyors, and become pick modules. Other equipment options (like a VRCs) increase the speed and efficiency of the storage and retrieval process.

Variety of safety upgrades

Rack supported mezzanines are safe and secure, with load-bearing racks that can support the weight of the mezzanine, flooring, and stored materials.

Safety factors like enclosing the mezzanine with handrail, and installing safety gate solutions can be used to prevent falls and protect workers. And don’t forget to fire protect. Choosing fire-proof decking materials designed for air circulation reduce potential fire hazards while allowing sprinkler systems to penetrate into all layers of stored items.

Pallet gates and catwalks make loading, unloading and accessing goods more convenient while saving time and labor.

Read more: Choosing the right mezzanine pallet drop gate 

Rack supported mezzanines are a versatile and cost-effective solution for increasing storage space and improving material handling processes in a warehouse. With increased storage capacity, improved material handling, and increased safety, a rack supported mezzanine can help warehouses to become more efficient and productive. So, if you’re looking for a way to maximize your warehouse space and improve your operations, a rack supported mezzanine might be just what you need.

This is the first in an ongoing series where Cisco-Eagle focuses on mezzanine solutions.

Use the Cisco-Eagle mezzanine guide

Download our Mezzanine Guide

The space you already have is more valuable than the space you could acquire. Adding a mezzanine to your facility can rapidly increase your vertical space available, and provide added efficiency and long-term value to your operations. Check out our guide for mezzanine specifications, styles, accessories and applications. You will find quick, useful information on mezzanines and how you can use them more effectively.

Download the guide today


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