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High-bay warehouse

In the logistics industry, high-bay warehouses are rack systems that are between 12 m and 50 m high and built in silo design. They are characterized by large storage quantities and space utilization 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 digitalized transport systems take care of incoming and outgoing goods at predetermined delivery points. In high-bay warehouses, there are different zones. There is a storage area where the goods are located directly for storage, the pre-zone with an infeed and storage area for receiving the goods and the outfeed area for delivering the goods.

Fully automated and with few personnel

The storage of flat goods and long goods is possible with a high rack. It is also used, for example, 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, a saving is made in the required warehouse personnel. Loading and unloading of high-bay warehouses is usually done with forkliftsroller conveyors, automated guided vehicles, etc. In automated systems, the storage areas are closed off to personnel for safety reasons. IT systems are used to coordinate the goods processes.

Advantages of a high bay warehouse

  • Large capacity
  • High utilization of space and area
  • Fast storage and retrieval
  • Fully electronic control with a warehouse management system
  • Storage of flat and long goods possible
  • High efficiency with reduced manpower requirements

Some examples of the largest high-bay warehouses worldwide

High-bay warehouse

Consumer goods manufacturer Henkel 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).

High-bay warehouse

BLG International Logistics built a high-bay warehouse for a total of more than 180,000 pallets in Bremen in 2002 for Tchibo, one of Germany's largest consumer goods and retail companies. (Photo: BLG Logistics)

High-bay warehouse

The world's largest wooden high-bay warehouse with around 31,000 pallet spaces has been used by the organic food company Alnatura has been using since 2013 in Lorsch in southern Hesse. (Photo: Alnatura/Marc Doradzillo)

High-bay warehouse

In Shenzhen in southern China, voestalpine Krems put a fully automated frozen food warehouse into operation in 2016. According to the company, the "world's highest freezer" has space for almost 70,000 pallets. (Photo: Voestalpine Krems)