Drive-in/drive-through racking system
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Drive-in/drive-through racking system

High-density racking based on the storage-by-accumulation principle. Designed to store homogeneous goods and make maximum use of available space.

The product

Drive-in/drive-through racking system: perfect for warehouses with homogeneous goods and a large number of pallets per SKU

Drive-in racking is the simplest and most affordable high-density storage method. It is comprised of multiple racks with a series of lanes accessed by forklifts to deposit or retrieve pallets. Compared to conventional pallet racking, this solution notably increases storage capacity.

These racks can have two configurations: drive-in (pallets are loaded and unloaded from the same working aisle) or drive-through (pallets are loaded through the front aisle and unloaded through the rear aisle).

Drive-in racking increases warehouse capacity

Advantages of a drive-in/drive-through racking system

  • Maximum utilisation of space: it makes excellent use of both the available surface area and height, thus increasing storage capacity compared to conventional pallet racking.
  • Simple and economical: it’s the simplest high-density storage system and requires the lowest investment.
  • Configurable: the depth and height of this racking can be adapted to the needs of each customer and to the characteristics of the goods handled.
  • One or two aisles: this solution can be used with just one aisle (loading and unloading from the front) or with two (loading in the front, unloading from the back).
  • Guiding elements: Mecalux drive-in racks incorporate accessories that facilitate forklift movements and correct pallet positioning.
  • Energy savings: the smaller footprint reduces the surface area to be cooled in cold storage and freezer warehouses.
  • Easy inventory management: each lane stores a single SKU, streamlining stock control.
  • Different pallet types: this racking can accommodate pallets of varying weights and dimensions.
The main advantage of drive-in racking is space optimisation

The drive-in racks have made great use of our available space and significantly boosted our storage capacity

Selvafil logo
Ivan Bohigas Operations Manager
(Maçanet de la Selva, Spain)

Drive-in racking applications

Ideal for warehouses with few SKUs and many pallets

Drive-in racking is ideal for companies that manage homogeneous SKUs with a large number of pallets per SKU and want to maximise their available surface area and storage capacity.

A drive-in system is ideal for storing very homogeneous goods

Facilities with largely homogeneous goods

Drive-in warehouse racking is especially suitable for a small variety of SKUs and many pallets per SKU.

High-density racking reduces costs related to logistics floor space

Logistics centres in large cities

The space savings makes these racks a perfect fit for warehouses in areas with high logistics real estate costs.

Drive-in racking is a widely used system in cold stores

Cold stores

This solution is extremely common in cold storage rooms that need to leverage all space allocated to controlled temperature storage.

Drive-in racking can fulfil FIFO and LIFO inventory management

Buffer warehouses

In its drive-through configuration (two aisles), the racking system functions as a buffer.

How does drive-in high-density racking work?

Loading and unloading operations with the drive-in and drive-through varieties

In a high-density racking system, load management depends on the configuration of the racks. With drive-in pallet racking, storage and retrieval are carried out from a single working aisle. With drive-through pallet racking, two different aisles are used.


Coca-Cola Refrescos Bandeirantes

We opted for a drive-in storage system because it’s designed to increase capacity and improve warehouse organisation. It’s enabled us to expand storage capacity in our centre considerably.

Alisson Ferreira Planning and Logistics Operations Manager
Coca-Cola Refrescos Bandeirantes
(Trindade, Brazil)

The advantage of drive-in racking is that it makes the most of all the available surface area to increase the storage capacity. We’ve boosted our warehousing capacity by over 50%.

César Garraza Project Manager
(Tarragona, Spain)

With drive-in racking, we’ve improved our storage density. Since renovating our warehouse, we’ve ramped up our capacity. Now, we can continue growing as the opportunity presents itself.

Pablo Albertín Logistics Manager
(La Tablada, Argentina)

Case studies


INCASA boosts the storage capacity of its detergent warehouse

Mecalux, the storage solutions provider, will install drive-in pallet racking in the INCASA warehouse in Barcelona where the company will store detergents and personal care products. This system makes full use of the available space to provide a storage capacity for more than 4,800 pallets. Read more



Selvafil modernises and leverages all its warehouse space

Yarn manufacturer Selvafil has opened a new warehouse in Girona in order to increase its storage capacity and provide its customers with optimal service. Mecalux has installed six high-density drive-in racking units offering a total capacity of 2,700 pallets. Read more


Coca-Cola Refrescos Bandeirantes

Warehouse with Coca-Cola soft drinks of Refrescos Bandeirantes in Brazil

Coca-Cola Refrescos Bandeirantes has expanded the storage capacity of its centre in Trindade (Goiás, Brazil) with two high-density solutions from Mecalux: drive-in racks and racks run by the Pallet Shuttle system, which includes a tunnel with live channels to speed up order preparation. Read more

Coca-Cola Refrescos Bandeirantes


Mecalux drive-in racks have demonstrated their earthquake-proofing in the plant that the frozen fruits and vegetables producer Alifrut has in Quilicura (Santiago de Chile)

Earthquake resistance meets drive-in racks at the Alifrut frozen storage installation in Chile, developed by Mecalux. Read more

See more case studies

Drive-in racking components

Mecalux’s drive-in warehouse racking stands out for the manufacturing quality of all its components. Cataphoresis coating is applied to the elements most prone to wear and corrosion.

The structure of drive-in racking is made up of a set of frames that provide the system’s vertical support. These frames incorporate interior lanes equipped with support rails, i.e., horizontal profiles on which the pallets are placed.

Mecalux drive-in racking has a series of components — some optional — that reinforce the safety of the system and help to prevent accidents when forklifts operate inside it.

Drive-in racking frames


Consisting of two uprights with the corresponding diagonal bracing, footplates and accessories. They­ are slotted every 50­ mm to fit the upper beams and supports/brackets.

Drive-in racking upper beam

Top beams

Horizontal profiles that connect the frames at the top, forming a portal frame structure. They are placed in all storage lanes.

Drive-in racking GP support rail

GP rails

Exclusive to Mecalux. These support rails enable pallet centring with minimal loss of space in height (only 50 mm). Ideal when all pallets stored have the same dimensions.

Drive-in racking C support rail

C rails

C-shaped support rails that do not allow self-centring. They are used for pallets with different frontal measurements or unit loads requiring greater support clearances.

Drive-in racking brackets


Orange metal parts that connect the rails to the frame uprights.

Drive-in racking upright footplate

Upright footplates

Components forming part of the frame and that are designed to be fitted with two anchor bolts and levelling plates.

Stiffness via structural drive-in footplate is achieved by anchoring the uprights to the floor

Stiffness via structural drive-in footplate

Stiffness is obtained through the connection between the uprights and beams, plus the extent to which the upright flootplates are embedded into the floor, using two anchor bolts.

Transverse stability can be achieved by means of spine bracing installed in the lanes and top spine bracing

Stiffness via spine-braced lanes and top spine bracing

The spine bracing installed in the lanes and top spine bracing transmit horizontal forces directly to the floor.

The stiffness of the pallet racking can be obtained by means of vertical spine bracing

Stiffness via vertical spine bracing

Spine-braced lanes are replaced by vertical spine bracing at the back (in single-access racking units) or in the centre (in double-access racking units). Only for drive-in configuration.

Upright protectors safeguard the drive-in racking frames against possible impacts

Upright protectors

Optional. Fitted to the front of the first upright of each row of frames to guard them against possible minor impacts.

The lower guide rails guide the forklifts inside the drive-in racking

Lower guide rails

Optional. These facilitate the movement of forklifts and prevent accidental blows against the side of the racking structure. Depending on the type of forklift truck used, there are two models (LPN or VGPC).

Pallet centring devices make it easier to insert the pallet into the racking system

Pallet centralisers

With GP rails, each load level is equipped with two yellow centring devices placed on the front end of the rails. They help to guide the pallet at the entrance to each level.

The rail stops on drive-in racking help to place the pallets on the racks

Rail stops

Attached to the end of C rails, they restrain loads and prevent them from protruding.

The stop beam prevents the pallet from coming out of the lane

Stop beams

Optional. These prevent pallets from overhanging the lane or touching the wall. They also protect the vertical bracing at the rear.

The safe load warning notice contains the technical details of the drive-in racking

Safe load warning notice

This details the storage system’s technical information. It includes the technical inspection sticker, which indicates the due date of the next service. These notices are placed in easily visible areas at the ends of the racking.


Catalog - 7 - Drive-in-pallet-racking - en_GB

Drive-in racking system

Maximum utilisation of available space

MS Compacta_ENG

Warehouse safety manual

Operation, use, inspection and maintenance of drive-in/drive-through racking systems

Catalog - 0 - Storage-solutions-for-pallets - en_UN

Storage systems for pallets

Storage systems for palletised goods

Catalog - 2 - Easy-wms - en_UN

Warehouse management software

Technological innovation for efficient warehousing



Drive-in racking, also known as drive-in and drive-through racking, is a high-density pallet racking system made up of multiple racks that form internal lanes with support rails to hold pallets. Forklifts enter the structure, moving inside these lanes to load and unload goods. Thanks to the height and depth of the lanes, this solution makes excellent use of the available space and increases storage capacity compared to conventional pallet racking.

Depending on the type of load management strategy required, this high-density storage system can be configured in two ways: drive-in or drive-through racking. In the first and most common variety, loading and unloading operations are carried out from the same working aisle. Thus, stock is managed following the LIFO (last in, first out) principle. With drive-through storage, on the other hand, pallets are deposited and retrieved in two different aisles: goods go in on one end and are removed from the other. In this case, the loading/unloading sequence is done in line with the FIFO method (first in, first out). This configuration is typically employed when the system is used as a buffer or interim warehouse to effectively regulate flows between two work areas (for example, between production and dispatch or between different manufacturing stages).

The drive-in/drive-through racking system is a compact storage solution that meets a wide range of requirements. Its storage capacity is greater than that of conventional racking. Additionally, it’s the simplest and most affordable system compared to other high-density storage solutions. However, since the forklifts have to enter the racking, more manoeuvring time is required for storage and removal operations. Furthermore, as each storage lane is reserved for a single SKU, drive-in pallet racking is not recommended for warehouses that manage a broad array of products. For these scenarios, Mecalux has other compact solutions that facilitate the management of a more diverse goods. These include live pallet racking, push-back racking and the Pallet Shuttle system.

There are no structural limitations to a drive-in racking system design. However, the maximum height of these racking units will be conditioned by the maximum lifting capacity of the handling equipment employed and by the manoeuvring assistance systems they incorporate (camera, height pre-selector, etc.).

The height of each drive-in racking storage level will depend on the height of the pallets and the type of construction system used to build the racks (with GP rails or with C rails). In the first case, the height of the storage level is equal to the height of the pallet plus 150 mm. For systems using C rails, the height of the storage level is equal to the height of the pallet plus 200 mm.

The depth of each lane is the sum of the depth of all the pallets (including the load dimensions if the goods protrude) plus a clearance per unit load of at least 25 mm. Meanwhile, the number of pallets stored in each lane is usually a multiple of the production batches or of the pallets that fit in a lorry. For instance, the lanes of a drive-in unit used to store finished orders could be designed to hold 11 pallets deep and 3 high. This would add up to the 33-pallet capacity of a trailer.

To achieve maximum efficiency, all pallets deposited in the same storage lane should have the same SKU. This avoids unnecessary handling.

As opposed to conventional pallet racking, with compact drive-in racking, pallets are handled from the wider side, with their bottom deckboards perpendicular to the support profiles. That is, the forklift truck deposits the pallet by resting its bottom deckboards at a 90° angle to the support rails.

Counterbalanced forklifts and reach trucks are used with drive-in racking. While counterbalanced forklifts do not usually surpass 7.5 m in height, reach trucks can exceed 11 m in height.

Given that forklifts drive inside the storage lanes, adequate clearances must be calculated to allow them to work safely, (e.g. a minimum clearance of 75 mm between each side of the forklift and the vertical elements). Likewise, the first level of support rails must be positioned at a height that does not interfere with forklift components (such as the chassis).