• Decreased cost per square foot or stored pallet
  • Improved pick rates through 100% selectivity
  • Reduced risk of pallet rack damage from vehicle strikes
  • Easy and cost-effective to implement’
  • Wide aisles > 10′
  • Narrow aisles = 9’
  • VNA < 9’

If your warehouse or distribution center is like many others, space is undoubtedly at a premium. Rather than expand to a larger facility, narrow and very narrow aisle (VNA) storage options may provide the storage rack capacity you need with room to grow. In many cases, VNA racking can increase your storage capabilities by up to 50 percent. It offers optimized use of available space and selectivity with 100% access to every pallet on the rack.

What Is Very Narrow Aisle Racking?

Very narrow aisle racking is similar to standard in general system design, but the aisles are minimized to maximize storage capacity.
Typical selective rack system aisles are 10’-12’ wide while narrow aisles range from 8’-10’, and very narrow aisle can be reduced to as low as 6’ wide, approximately half the size of standard racks.

Implementing narrow aisle or VNA racking also means maximizing vertical space making it. ideal for facilities with higher ceilings.

What Are the Advantages of Narrow-Aisle and VNA Racking?

We have already discussed some of the space-saving benefits of narrow-aisle and VNA racking, but they have many other advantages as well, such as:

The reduced floor space that results from narrower aisles generally means less debris on the floor, as well, reducing the risk of potential accidents. The more space you have on your warehouse floor, the more opportunity there will be for errant items and safety risks.

VNA Pallet FIFO Options

When FIFO is required for pallets in VNA systems, powered  allow pallet loading and unloading with VNA equipment. Some VNA lifts do not accommodate a tilt function of the forks which rules out gravity conveyor for FIFO. Powered pallet conveyor allows VNA lifts to load and unload pallets flat on to a powered conveyor for indexing the pallets forward. This type of conveyor setup can be integrated into existing or new rack systems. On 2-deep applications the conveyors would fit under a back-to-back rack unit. Low profile conveyance of pallets can be achieved on the floor level and be accessed with VNA lifts.

Specialized Forklift Equipment Required for Narrow-Aisle and VNA Racking Systems

One important thing to consider about narrow-aisle and VNA racking is that it uses specialized lift trucks that can maneuver in and out of the aisles. These vehicles are able to operate in aisle space that is reduced by a minimum of 40% compared to traditional forklifts. Narrow-aisle and VNA racking also allow your staff to pick cases at higher levels with an order picker truck
Many of today’s newer forklift models that are conductive to narrow-aisle or VNA rack systems have swing-masts or articulated forks that can fit aisles as narrow as five feet. Turret trucks for narrow-aisle or VNA maneuvering are designed with taller main masts to be able to access pallets on both sides of the aisle at high elevations. Forks are mounted on a smaller front mast and can move 180 degrees in narrower aisles.
Other types of vehicles that can be used for narrow-aisle and VNA racking systems Include:

  • Order Pickers – Ideal for picking items at higher elevations. All operators are required to wear a harness while operating any order picker at any height.
  • Reach Trucks – Specifically designed for VNA racking, reach trucks have a tighter turn radius that allows them to operate and maneuver in smaller spaces.

While these vehicles may require a one-time investment, the cost-per-square-foot savings and space maximization are offsets of this cost.

VNA Vehicle Automation

Wire guidance can be installed in the aisle floor to control the movement of the order picker and turret trucks in navigating up and down the aisle without the operator steering the vehicle. Automating vehicle movement has shown to minimize operator injury, and result in less damage to inventory and rack.