Automated Pallet Shuttle

Automated Pallet Shuttle

Compact, completely automatic pallet storage solution that boosts warehouse capacity and productivity.

The product

Fully automated high-density storage to increase warehouse throughput

The Automated Pallet Shuttle is a compact storage system that employs an electric shuttle to load and unload pallets from racking automatically. Automatic handling equipment (stacker cranes or transfer cars) assists the shuttle, moving it from the storage system’s entry/exit points to the various storage channels.

This solution offers the perfect blend of high-density storage and operational automation. It boosts storage capacity considerably while speeding up inflows and outflows. This maximises available surface area as well as warehouse productivity.

The Automated Pallet Shuttle optimises storage capacity

Advantages of the Automated Pallet Shuttle

  • Increased productivity: a substantial rise in the number of cycles per hour compared to other compact storage systems, particularly in the configuration with transfer cars.
  • Greater storage capacity: with racking that can exceed 40 m in height and storage channels measuring up to 45 m deep, the Automated Pallet Shuttle makes the most of the available space.
  • Totally automatic operations: the complete automation of operations optimises movements, ensures flawless inventory control and eliminates errors.
  • Fast travel speed: the shuttle’s rapid movement (72 m/min loaded and 108 m/min unloaded) reduces storage and retrieval times.
  • Continuous operation: the shuttle car’s supercapacitors charge automatically when the vehicle is on board the stacker crane or transfer car. Therefore, it is always ready to operate.
  • High versatility: each storage channel can house a different SKU. Moreover, the system can operate with pallets of different sizes and widths.
  • Energy savings in cold stores: compact storage reduces the volume of air to be cooled in cold-storage and freezer warehouses.
  • Safety: the shuttle handles and positions pallets with absolute accuracy. Additionally, the system significantly cuts down on the circulation of forklifts and other handling vehicles, enhancing safety in the facility.
  • Comprehensive solution: Mecalux designs, manufactures, installs and commissions all system components. These include the racking, shuttle, automatic handling equipment (stacker cranes or transfer cars), conveyors, and warehouse control and management systems (WCS and WMS).
The advantages of the Automated Pallet Shuttle include increased productivity and storage capacity

We’ve increased the flow of goods in and out of our business, optimised the vehicle loading process and reduced errors

Luís Simões
António Martin Logistics Centre Supervisor
Luís Simões
(Cabanillas del Campo, Spain)

Automated Pallet Shuttle applications

Perfect solution for automating the management of warehouses with high product turnover

Implementing the compact Automated Pallet Shuttle storage system is especially advisable for businesses that need to leverage available space and significantly increase productivity in moving many pallets per hour.

The Automated Pallet Shuttle is ideal for businesses that manage many pallets per SKU

Large-scale storage

For facilities with medium- and high-consumption SKUs or a large number of pallets per SKU.

The automatic Pallet Shuttle is recommended for managing high-turnover goods

High product turnover

For companies with high-turnover SKUs requiring very high throughput.

The Automated Pallet Shuttle is a highly beneficial cold-storage solution

Cold stores

For cold-storage and freezer warehouses: the system reduces the space to be cooled and avoids the presence of operators in low-temperature environments.

The Automated Pallet Shuttle as a buffer for short-term storage


To automatically manage the temporary storage of multiple palletised unit loads, e.g., in shipping areas.

Automated Pallet Shuttle configurations

Complete automation of the storage and retrieval of palletised loads

In an Automated Pallet Shuttle storage system, the forklift used in the semi-automated version is replaced with fully autonomous handling equipment (stacker cranes or transfer cars). This considerably shortens the time spent on each operation.


Cabezuelo Foods

We’re very happy with the Automated Pallet Shuttle system with transfer cars. It makes the most of all the space in our warehouse and allows us to grow without limitations. What’s more, by enhancing our operations, we’ve increased our speed in inflows, outflows and order fulfilment.

Felix Cabezuelo Owner
Cabezuelo Foods
(Socuéllamos, Spain)

We opted for the automatic Pallet Shuttle with a stacker crane because of the large storage capacity it offers us in the limited space we have. Pallet shuttle automation has also cut costs and delivered a quick return on investment.

Vitaloni Marco Owner
(Miradolo Terme, Italy)
Cárnicas Chamberí

To streamline the distribution and delivery of our customers’ orders, we knew we had to organise our products more effectively and run fully automated logistics operations. We’re very satisfied with the warehouse set up by Mecalux. Its commissioning went smoothly, and it has delivered solid results.

Juan Carlos Camacho Hernández CFO
Cárnicas Chamberí
(Casarrubios del Monte, Spain)
Verlhac Logistique

The Automated Pallet Shuttle is the solution we needed to optimise space and boost our storage capacity. Plus, by automating operations completely, we now have continuous inflows and outflows.

Michel Verlhac President
Verlhac Logistique
(Cahors, France)
British Sugar

All movements of goods are automated, which really speeds up product inflows and outflows. Thanks to the automatic movement of the stacker cranes, conveyors and motorised shuttles, we’re able to complete the cycles required to serve our customers.

Samuel Chapman Purchasing Manager
British Sugar
(Wissington, UK)

Case studies

An intelligent warehouse for the frozen chip maker Bem Brasil

Case study of the new intelligent warehouse of Bem Brasil, built with a clad-rack structure and the automatic Pallet Shuttle system with stacker cranes. This involves a high-tech solution that allows the company to supply all of its customers in Brazil and to deal with the future growth of the business. Read more

An intelligent warehouse for the frozen chip maker Bem Brasil

Large-scale cold-chain logistics automation

Congelados de Navarra automates its entire logistics centre in Fustiñana, Spain, with one of Europe’s largest frozen food warehouses. Mecalux’s Easy WMS is the nerve centre of the logistics complex, performing simultaneous and combined management of the different warehouses. Read more

Alinatur Petfood automates its pet food warehouse with the automated Pallet Shuttle

Alinatur Petfood, a manufacturer of dry pet food, has modernised its logistics operations with a Pallet Shuttle AS/RS and transfer cars from Mecalux. The company has also implemented Easy WMS warehouse management software to control the traceability of all its SKUs in stock. Read more

Alinatur Petfood automates its pet food warehouse with the automated Pallet Shuttle

Maximum swiftness and the full use of space in the new automated warehouse with Pallet Shuttles at UNITED CAPS in Luxembourg

Success story of the automatic Pallet Shuttle system in the UNITED CAPS warehouse in Luxembourg developed by Mecalux and other examples of storage systems. Read more

Maximum swiftness and the full use of space in the new automated warehouse with Pallet Shuttles at UNITED CAPS in Luxembourg

Efficient management of canned vegetables from Cistér with a new warehouse

Cistér, canned vegetables manufacturer belonging to the Raimundo & Maia group, has inaugurated a new automated warehouse in the city of Alcobaça (Portugal). Mecalux has installed the Pallet Shuttle system with transfer cars, which provides capacity for 12,672 pallets and a large number of movements per hour. Read more

Efficient management of canned vegetables from Cistér with a new warehouse

Automated management of 1.5 million paper bags a day

Finieco, a manufacturer of paper packaging solutions, has equipped its warehouse in Portugal with the automatic Pallet Shuttle system by Mecalux. This storage solution, serviced by a stacker crane, streamlines goods inflows and outflows. Read more

The Luís Simões logistics centre in Cabanillas del Campo (Guadalajara)

Luís Simões, the logistics operator for food, beverage, perfumery, cosmetics and retail companies, has set up a warehouse. Mecalux has equipped it with pallet racks and a warehouse with automatic Pallet Shuttle with transfer cars for sequencing and organising prepared orders. Read more

See more case studies

How does the Automated Pallet Shuttle work?

Two operating modalities: with stacker cranes and with transfer cars

Each Automated Pallet Shuttle configuration entails a different operation. In the version with stacker cranes, one stacker crane operates in each aisle, while a single shuttle services all storage levels. Meanwhile, in the variant with transfer cars, one transfer car and one shuttle are placed on each level of every aisle of the storage system.

Automated Pallet Shuttle components

The Automated Pallet Shuttle comprises four basic elements: blocks of high-density racking, the electric shuttle that enters the storage channels to store and retrieve pallets, the handling equipment (stacker crane or transfer car) that moves the shuttle along the aisle, and the inbound and outbound pallet conveyors.

The motorised shuttle is the system’s central component. It supports the unit load and enters the channels to perform storage and retrieval operations. This compact, high-performance vehicle operates swiftly and safely.

In this variant, an automatic stacker crane travels along the aisle in a simultaneous translation/elevation movement to transport the shuttle. It moves the shuttle between the aisle entry/exit points and the various storage channels.

This setup also features an automated system: transfer cars and elevators move the shuttle between the aisle entry/exit points and the storage channels.

Automated Pallet Shuttle racking consists of high-density storage structures that increase warehouse capacity significantly. A rail system enables the shuttle to move inside the racking channels.

The shuttle’s antenna receives orders sent by the WMS


Device that enables the shuttle to receive via Wi-Fi the orders generated by the warehouse management system (WMS).

The lifting platform raises the pallet to move it inside the channel

Lifting platform

Located on the shuttle’s top surface, this component lifts the pallet to transport it along the channel.

The running wheels allow the shuttle to travel inside the channel

Running wheels

Eight wheels (four on each side) that sit on the base of the rails. They enable the shuttle to travel inside the storage channel.

The guide wheels direct the shuttle longitudinally

Guide wheels

Four small wheels positioned horizontally on the corners of the shuttle. They guide it longitudinally to ensure smooth, safe movement.

The sensors integrated in the shuttle perform multiple functions


Each shuttle incorporates several sensors to serve various functions: ensure the correct placement of the pallet on the shuttle, detect the last pallet deposited in the channel and determine the distance between the shuttle and the end of the channel.

The supercapacitors constitute the shuttle’s electrical power source


These comprise the shuttle’s high-power electrical energy source. They have a long service life, and their charging process is simple, fast and completely automatic.

The connectors are used to charge the shuttle automatically

Automatic battery connectors

Devices that enable the supercapacitors to charge automatically while on board the cradle of the stacker crane or shuttle.

The fault indicator alerts users to the detection of an issue with the shuttle

Fault indicator

Red warning light that blinks intermittently in the event of an issue with the shuttle’s operation.

The stacker crane runs up and down the working aisle

Stacker crane

Machine that travels vertically and horizontally along the working aisle between the blocks of racking. It transports the lifting cradle upon which the shuttle sits.

The shuttle sits in the stacker crane’s lifting cradle

Lifting cradle

Stacker crane component that holds the shuttle. It moves up and down the mast to place the shuttle at the entrance of the assigned storage channel.

The rails guide the path of the stacker crane along the working aisle

Aisle rails

Set of profiles (one upper and one lower) that guide the stacker crane longitudinally as it travels along the working aisle.

Transfer cars transport the electric shuttle along the working aisle

Transfer cars

One vehicle is installed per level to transport the shuttle along the working aisle to the entrance of the assigned channel.

Elevators move pallets between the conveyor and the different racking levels


These transfer pallets from the conveyor at the storage system input point to the level of the assigned channel (and vice versa). The number of elevators will depend on the volume of pallets to move. As a minimum, two elevators are installed: one inbound and one outbound.

The platform comprises the structural support along which the transfer cars travel

Platform and rails

Structural assembly comprising raised walkways and rails. They form the support surface for the transfer cars as they travel along the aisles. This structure facilitates the connection between the elevators and transfer cars via an accumulation conveyor.

The frames and beams form the racking of the Automated Pallet Shuttle storage system

Frames and beams

Vertical and horizontal profiles that make up the blocks of racking. The motor-driven shuttles navigate inside their storage channels, depositing and retrieving pallets.

The rails are located inside the storage channels of the Automated Pallet Shuttle system


Horizontal profiles positioned inside each channel. Shuttles slide along their lower support level, while pallets are placed on their upper support level.

Fall-protection mesh prevents the loads from falling to the floor

Fall-protection mesh

Placed along the full height of the racking when it coincides with transit areas, to prevent loads from falling.

Safety partitioning delimits the surface area occupied by the Automated Pallet Shuttle

Safety partitioning

Metal fencing that marks off the perimeter of the block of racking and the operating area of the automatic handling equipment and conveyors.


Catalog - 4 - Automated-pallet-shuttle-system - en_UN

Automated Pallet Shuttle (catalogue)

Fully automated, compact storage system

Catalog - 2 - Easy-wms - en_NU

Warehouse management system

Technological innovation for efficient warehousing



The Automated Pallet Shuttle is a high-density storage system that employs electric shuttles and autonomous handling equipment (stacker cranes or transfer cars) to fully automate pallet storage and retrieval from racking structures. This boosts warehouse productivity and maximises available space.

The main difference between the two systems lies in the way they move unit loads to the entrance of the storage channels. In the semi-automated variant, a forklift transports both the shuttle and the pallet to be stored to the channel. It then places them at the channel entrance. With the automated solution, this operation is performed by stacker cranes or transfer cars, fully automating both manoeuvres.

The Automated Pallet Shuttle is a very effective solution for warehouses with high product turnover, where it is essential to leverage all available storage space. Similarly, it is a perfect system for companies with bulk storage of medium- and high-consumption SKUs or with a large number of pallets per SKU. Lastly, the Automated Pallet Shuttle is also advisable for cold stores. Compact storage saves energy considerably by reducing the volume of air to be cooled. Moreover, pallet shuttle automation makes it unnecessary to expose operators to low temperatures.

Opting for one type of handling equipment over another will depend on the required number of entry and exit movements. In the configuration with stacker cranes — which is more cost-effective — a single shuttle car serves the various storage levels located on both sides of the working aisle. This limits the system’s operational capacity, so the stacker crane option is recommended when the number of storage/retrieval cycles per hour is not a priority. The setup with transfer cars allows for one shuttle to operate on each storage level, multiplying the number of cycles per hour by the number of storage levels.

In a Pallet Shuttle system with transfer cars, a minimum of two elevators per aisle should be installed: one inbound and one outbound. Additionally, in cases requiring a higher number of cycles per hour, it is possible to install two inbound and two outbound elevators in a single aisle.

The shuttle used in Mecalux’s Automated Pallet Shuttle system comes in three sizes that adapt to the most typical pallet dimensions. The front measurement is the same for all three models, as the pallet is handled from its wider side (1,200 mm). The depth is the measurement that varies, in line with the most common pallet depths (800, 1,000 and 1,200 mm).

Yes, although not directly. To house a pallet of irregular dimensions, it must be mounted on a standard pallet compatible with the shuttle and the racking. This standard pallet acts as a slave pallet. To accommodate special loads like intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) and big bags, the unit load is placed on a pallet, which is then deposited on the racking rails.

Yes. To operate, the Automated Pallet Shuttle requires two programs. The warehouse management system (WMS) monitors stock and assigns locations to the various unit loads. Meanwhile, the warehouse control system (WCS) sends movement commands to the automatic handling equipment. Mecalux can supply both software solutions.

The shuttle supports unit loads weighing up to 1,500 kg.

The shuttle travels at a speed of 108 m/min unloaded and 72 m/min loaded.

The system is designed to operate within a wide range of temperatures, from -30 °C to +45 °F.

The shuttles operate continuously, as the supercapacitors charge automatically while the shuttle is on board the stacker crane or transfer car. The recharge time is variable depending on the depth of the channels and the weight of the unit loads. Generally, the supercapacitors reach full charge in less than 25 seconds on standby.

Yes, absolutely: there is no risk of degradation or ignition. Plus, they are maintenance-free, perfectly suited for intensive use and have a long lifespan.

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