Definition of a high-bay warehouse

A high-bay warehouse is a storage solution with a minimum height of 12 meters and a maximum height of up to approx. 50 meters. This type of vertical storage optimally utilizes the volume of space available in a building – floor space is also optimally utilized. There are all kinds of high-bay warehouses in operation: manual rack systems, fully automated high-bay solutions and countless purpose-built customized solutions. 
The racks in a high-bay warehouse are configured to form corridors or aisles between them to allow for storage and retrieval machines (SRM) which function as mobilized stackers. 

Advantages of a manual or automated high-bay warehouse 

Due to the enormous height of the load-bearing steel beams forming the structure of the warehouse solution, the high-bay warehouse can provide several hundred thousand positions for storing goods vertically. High-bay warehouse solutions can serve as the load-bearing framework for the warehouse building, or they can be enclosed within a free-standing structure. 

In an automated high-bay warehouse goods stored in racks are put and picked by machines. These machines automatically transport items kept in load carriers (bins, pallets, etc.) through the warehouse according the “goods to man” principle – employees can then put or pick items ergonomically to fill orders at the access point. This reduces the time employees would otherwise spend walking around the warehouse searching for items – automation also prevents workplace accidents and cuts overall costs.

High-bay warehouses are ideal for business enterprises that have an extremely broad range of inventory items. Large quantities of items of varying sizes can be kept in racks featuring single or multiple depths for storage purposes. The width and depth of the racks can be adjusted individually to accommodate items that are flat or long. This ensures full utilization of the storage space available. 

High-bay warehouses are operated with automated storage systems and warehouse management software. There are many advantages of having the storage system linked up to ERP or inventory management software because this supports integration of the entire enterprise supply chain and logistics. Warehouse processes can be fully monitored and controlled at all times.

Disadvantages of the conventional fully automated high-bay warehouse 

Height-optimized storage based on the type of items stored is not possible in a high-bay warehouse – this feature is offered by the Hänel Lean-Lift®. Depending on the type of goods stored, the rigid high-bay design can result in considerable loss of storage capacity. The high costs of building a high-bay warehouse are also problematic – a return on investment is only possible if the warehouse can be operated at a constantly high level of utilization. Adjusting the racks to accommodate items of varying sizes is also a complex task and reduces the flexibility of the storage system. When compared with conventional high-bay warehouses, the Hänel Lean-Lift® provides higher levels of space utilization and thus offers higher storage capacity within a minimum footprint. This storage density saves time, space and money.