Recent Articles

Search Articles




Warehouse aisles in a standard warehouse rack configuration are usually 10’ wide.
In a VNA or Very Narrow Aisle system, the aisles are 6’ to 6’5” wide.
It’s easy to see that the space saved by the narrower aisles would quickly add room for more pallet positions in your warehouse.
But before you type in racking systems near me, consider this:
Warehouse design is where it all begins.

How much space does VNA save?

Read more…

Example: Read how narrow aisles can increase your storage capacity.

Three 10-foot (120”) aisles add up to a width of 360 inches, while four aisles measuring 6 foot 5” would total 308 inches.

This means that four rows of racking separated by very narrow aisles would take up less space than three rows of racking with standard ten foot spacing.

So in this example we’ve increased our storage capacity by more than 25%.

How does VNA work?

The main factor to bear in mind when considering a switch to VNA, is that you will need a forklift that is compatible with the system you install.

A stand up ‘reach truck’ or three-wheel counterbalance truck designed for 10-foot aisles won’t have enough space to turn 90 degrees.
Therefore, VNA racking systems require narrow aisle forklifts.

What is a narrow-aisle forklift?

The main difference, between a conventional lift-truck and a narrow-aisle lift-truck, is that the body of a VNA friendly forklift does not need to turn for order picking or stocking.

There are two main types of lift trucks available for VNA systems:

1. Articulated narrow aisle forklift

The AisleMaster or Bendi type forklift is designed to pivot at the point where the mast connects to the body.

This makes for a tight turning radius as the body of the machine stays parallel to the row of racking while the mast can be turned 90 degrees to the left or the right.

These versatile lift trucks can be used for most warehousing activities. A picture containing graphical user interfaceDescription automatically generated

2. Swing reach turret truck

For some warehouse managers and forklift operators, the swing reach turret truck provides the ultimate operational efficiency for order picking and stocking.

Like the articulated forklifts mentioned above, the mast also pivots 90 degrees to the left or right. But more than that, the mast slides along a geared track that functions as a reach mechanism.

The cabin moves with the forks, so the operator is always at the same level as the pallet that’s being handled.

Wire Guidance

A conductive wire installed down the centre of each aisle guides these forklifts. No more rack damage with this system! 

These large machines are strictly designed for picking and stocking, so when the forklift decision is being made, remember that you will need smaller forklifts for tasks such as truck loading and unloading, or general transport inside the warehouse.


Swing reach lift truck - man up

Swing reach turret trucks are also available as ‘man down’ models – where the operator remains at ground level.
The model below is suitable for warehouses where the racks are 20ft or less.
It also features the 180-degree mast swing as well as the geared track reach mechanism.

Swing reach turret truck man down 

Four-wheel counterbalance truck with swing reach turret attachment 

You can see the benefits of implementing a VNA system. But perhaps it isn’t practical for your business to have more than one lift truck. Or maybe you need a forklift that is more versatile. 

Consider the man down model pictured below. It can be used for all the regular warehouse lift tasks from the loading dock to the production area. This forklift can lift loads of up to 2,500lbs to a height of 20ft. 

Add to that a reach mechanism and a 180-degree mast swing function. 

4 wheel counterbalance truck with swing reach turret attachment


VNA and your ROI (Return on Investment)

Two main factors contribute to a healthy ROI when you install VNA:

  1. 25% to 35% more pallet positions in a given area.

  2. Damage to racking is eliminated or minimised because VNA handling equipment is usually rail or wire-guided. This reduces operator errors and accidents. 

Meriton warehouse plans start with design

Adequate storage capacity and an effective picking system are fundamental to an efficient warehousing operation. However, these must-haves won’t happen without a good warehouse design.

Is VNA the answer to your space requirements? Not automatically. 

To figure out the best solution for you, Make an appointment with a technical rep through our Contact page.

Our mission is to fit the maximum number of pallets into your warehouse – And VNA is one of our success stories.

Free Download

VNA white paper on our Resource page.