Heda Shelves
21-year of Racking & Shelving Design
By Rainee | 10 June 2022 | 1 Comments

Shuttle Rack vs Drive-In Rack vs Selective Rack

What is Shuttle Rack?

Shuttle rack is a compact semi-automated warehouse storage solution that is typically used in conjunction with pallet racks to load and unload the goods by Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs). AGVs are remotely controlled by an operator storing or retrieving the stock. The items on them can be transferred from the deepest part of the shuttle system to either end of the rack, then forklifts will pick them up. That’s why the shuttle rack is a semi-automated system.

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Advantage of Shuttle Rack


Available for FIFO or LIFO

The shuttle system can be designed either First In First Out inventory management or First In Last Out inventory management, it depends on where the system you tend to install.

Human Resource Saving

AGVs can move the goods in a repetitive manner to save operating time and increase the productivity of the shuttle system.

Maximum Storage Space

The aisle can be built closer and the horizontal and vertical extension of rankings can maximize the storage space and optimize the operation in warehouses.

Low Workplace Accident Rates

As AGVs will shuttle between the systems to pick up or deposit the pallets, warehouse staff do not need to go through the racking with the risk of cargo falling or the collapse of the racking.

Extended Racking Specifications

Shuttle systems can be extended horizontally and vertically to increase the racking depth and the height of the racking structure and eliminate aisles.

Disadvantages of Shuttle Rack


High Maintenance Requirement

The automated equipment will require specialized personnel to operate and maintain regularly. The AGVs run on rails inside the racking channels. Hence the breakdown of AGVs may affect the working plan and cause losses.  

High Cost of AGVs

As the transportation of the items depends on the remote control, an upfront investment cost will be required.  

Not Suitable for Piece Picking Operation

As goods are moved on pallets, single-piece picking is not allowed in shuttle systems.

What is Drive-In Rack?

Drive In Rack is a high-density pallet racking system operated by forklifts. By eliminating aisles, its storage capacity is up to 80% than the selective racking system. Click Why Choose Drive-in Pallet Rack for Warehouse for more information.
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Advantage of Drive-in Rack


High Volumes of the same SKUs(Stock Keeping Units)

The LIFO inventory system makes drive-in racks suitable for large quantities of the same and similar products.

Highly Customizable

Drive-in rack can adjust its height, width and depth to fit the warehouse space or specific requirements.

Disadvantages of Drive-in Rack


Poor stability

Drive-in Rack is the least stable racking system. The upright column is the main support.

High risk of damage

As the forklifts need to drive through the uprights and into the system, the upright column is exposed to the risk of a crash from the forklifts.

LIFO Inventory System

In the drive-in pallet system, the first in will be the last out. The old items will not be used before the new items in front d they being moved out.

Low Range of SKUs

The LIFO will limit the type of goods stored in the drive-in system, such as food, drink, cigarette and frozen products or low stock rotation products, or some seasonal items that move quickly.

High Rack Cost

To increase and ensure stability, several accessories are necessary,

Medium to Wide Aisles Required for Handling

As the width of aisles depends on the size of forklifts used in drive-in racks, the usage rate reduces.

What is Selective Rack?

The selective rack is the most commonly used warehouse racking system. It allows warehouse operators to select and retrieve any pallet load from the system without having to move other pallets. That’s why the rack is called selective. It has the lowest storage capacity but the lowest cost. Click Selective Rack - The Most Popular Racking System for more information.

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Advantage of Selective Rack


High Range of SKUs

The system can store different types of goods in various sizes and specifications and be changed to fit different.

Available for FIFO or LIFO

Selective racking system has no limit on the inventory systems, the optimal placement depends on the warehouse layout. Contact Heda Shelves for professional advice.

Easy movement

Warehouse operators and forklifts can reach any items directly.

Assembled & Disassembled Simply

The system can be adjusted or moved easily to meet the needs of storage requirements.

Disadvantages of Selective Rack


Low space usage

Aisles must be left between selective racks. Accordingly, storage capacity reduces.

High Cost for High Volume Storage

Selective systems take up lots of space that makes them not suitable for high-volume requirements and their height is limited to no more than 10m.

Which kind of racking system are most suitable for your warehouse?
We will tell you that it mainly depends on:


Types of items you store

Drive-in rack and shuttle system are not well-suited for single-piece picking while selective rack makes quick retrieving available. Accordingly, the latter is a good choice to store a high range of SKUs with a small number.
For the goods with a high throughput rate, shuttle racks with AGVs can increase the flow of goods in and out of the warehouse. Unlike drive-in systems, items of shuttle systems can be grouped by channels, rather than requiring a full lane, making the storage of high ranges of SKUs available.

Equipment you own

The size of your forklifts may affect the aisles of selective racks and drive-in racks and shuttle systems do not need to consider about it by using AGVs.

Ability of Your Forklift Driver

Selective racks and drive-in racks need to take the risk of the crashes of forklifts while it is not a problem for shuttle systems.

Budget for Storage System

the budget you calculate according to the size of your warehouse. Because of its affordable price and regular style, the selective rack is the most common system among them. By contrast, high-density storage may be the biggest advantage but the cost is a bit high than the selective rack. However, the shuttle system is the most efficient storage solution without a doubt as it operates semi-automatically which reduces people's repetitive activity. It needs a costly investment cost but the operating cost reduces.

Cost of Local Human Resource

Obviously, it is a battle between automated equipment and human labor. The cost of local human resources may take into consideration.

About Heda

Guangzhou Heda Shelves Co., Ltd, located in Pazhou - the Exhibition based of Chinese Import & Export Fair Complex, is a professional manufacturer specializing in designing, manufacturing, selling and installing all types of warehouse racking systems like mezzanine for saleheavy duty shelving on wheelspallet rack mezzanine and radio shuttlesupermarket storage shelves like black gondola shelving and wood lozier gondolastore display rack like tool display racks and slatwall freestanding display. We keep making shelves with good quality and providing first-class professional service for 20 years.


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