In the logistics industry, high-bay warehouses are defined as rack systems that are between 12m and 50m high and built in silo construction. They are characterised by large storage volumes and space utilisation up to ceiling height. As a rule, the storage concept is electronically controlled. Goods are stored and retrieved by automatically controlled computers. Warehouse personnel or digitalised transport systems take over the incoming and outgoing goods at predetermined delivery points. High-bay warehouses are referred to as different zones. There is a storage area in which the goods are located directly for putaway, the pre-zone with an infeed and storage area for the receipt of goods and the retrieval area for the delivery of goods.
Fully automatic and with few personnel
The storage of flat goods and long goods is possible with a high rack. It is also used for sensitive goods such as electrical appliances. High racks are very clear, but the investment of this type of rack, especially the fully automatic ones, is very expensive. However, savings are made on the required storage personnel. Loading and unloading of high-bay warehouses is usually done with forklift trucks, roller conveyors, driverless transport systems etc. With automated systems, the storage areas are closed off for safety reasons for the personnel. The goods processes are coordinated by the IT systems.
Advantages of a high-bay warehouse
- Large capacity
- High space and room utilisation
- Fast storage and retrieval
- Fully electronic control with a warehouse management system
- Storage of flat goods and long goods possible
- High efficiency with reduced personnel requirements
Some examples of the largest high-bay warehouses worldwide
Consumer goods manufacturer Henkel has invested around 36 million euros in its central warehouse in Düsseldorf in 2017. Capacity increased from 90,000 to around 200,000 pallets (Photo: Henkel)
In 2002, BLG International Logistics in Bremen built a high-bay warehouse for a total of more than 180,000 pallets for Tchibo, one of the largest German consumer goods and retail companies. (Photo: BLG Logistics)
The organic food company Alnatura has been using the world's largest high-bay warehouse made of wood with space for around 31,000 pallets in Lorsch in southern Hesse since 2013. (Photo: Alnatura/Marc Doradzillo)
In 2016, voestalpine Krems put a fully automated deep-freeze warehouse for food into operation in Shenzhen, Southern China. According to the company, the "world's highest freezer" offers space for almost 70,000 pallets. (Photo: Voestalpine Krems)