Proper Load & Unload Techniques for Push-Back Pallet Rack
Push-Back pallet rack is a high density storage solution that relies on an arrangement of enveloping wheeled carts positioned on slightly inclined rails. Pallets are loaded and unloaded from a single aisle supporting Last-In, First-Out inventory rotation.
For optimal productivity and worker safety, your warehouse team should be fully trained on proper push-back system operating procedures. Apex is here to help with our easy to follow instructional forklift training video and guidelines.
Important Steps Before Loading the System:
- Ensure all operators are OSHA trained
- Always use standardized, quality pallets
- Check for broken or splintered pallet runners – don’t place damaged pallets in the lane
- Check that the load weight is under the rated system capacity
Push-Back System Loading Procedures:
- Lift the pallet load approximately 3”- 4” above the first cart. If the system is equipped with pallet stops, ensure you clear the stops with the load when placing it onto the cart.
- Enter the rack and place the pallet centered onto the top cart, and slowly back out.
- Next, line up the bottom boards of the 2nd pallet with the bottom boards of the first, just above the cart.
- Gently push-back the 1st pallet as you enter the rack –centering the 2nd pallet over the exposed cart.
- Place the pallet on the cart and again back slowly out
- Repeat the process until the lane is full noting that the last pallet in the lane will sit directly on the push-back rails.
Note: If a pallet isn’t centered correctly on the cart, you will risk misloading the next pallet. If this occurs, pick up the pallet and back out of the system, then re-load the misaligned pallet.
Push-Back System Unloading Procedures:
- Center the forklift with the front pallet and slowly enter the lane.
- Lift the pallet 3”-4” so that it clears any pallet stops or obstructions.
- Slowly back out of the system while extracting the pallet . Rear carts will automatically glide forward to the aisle face.
- Repeat these steps until the lane is clear.
Note: A bumper plate is installed to ensure a low-impact cart stop, however… the operator should control the speed at which the subsequent pallets in the system glide forward by slowing backing out.
Troubleshooting Push-Back Lane Jams… Purging & Safety Floors:
Although push-back is easy to operate and trouble-free almost all of the time, you will also need to know how to troubleshoot in case of a stuck pallet or the interference of debris.
Purging the system is done when rear carts do not flow forward on their own as the front pallet is unloaded. The driver would simply put the front pallet back into place and use the forklift to gently push the carts back 2”-3” before slowly backing out again to see if the carts can be dislodged and flow forward.
If purging doesn’t dislodge the hang up, try building a “safety floor” within the lane.
Simply load any open pallet positions with empty pallets to creates a solid “pallet floor.” Then the operator… who is secured by a safety harness… can safely access, evaluate and fix the hung cart or pallet.
Once corrected, the forklift operator extracts the empty pallets from the lane, controlling the speed of the pallets and carts indexing forward by slowly backing out of the rack.
If neither purging or safety floor methods work, contact management to report the issue. It may be necessary to unload all lanes within adjacent bays to further evaluate and correct the issues.
Eliminate Downtime & Safety Concerns with Routine Maintenance
- Check lanes regularly to ensure that they are free from debris that could obstruct the cart flow, i.e. broken pallet boards, shrink wrap, cardboard, etc.
- Check bolted connections that may loosen over time
- Check cart wheel bearings, particularly in situations where they are subject to moisture or liquids. They should spin freely within the lane.
For a thorough component evaluation, enter the lane, secured with a safety harness, and lift the individual carts to check the wheels and bolted connections. In cases where you need to enter the system for maintenance or hang-up issues, once again, unload the bay along with all adjacent bays.
If you have any questions regarding push-back pallet rack use or other pallet rack systems design, operation or maintenance, call the Apex team. Our pallet rack experts are available to answer your questions or even evaluate the safety of your system and operations.