Storage options for tooling inventory: tool drawers, cabinets, and vertical lifts

Machine shops and manufacturers require a variety of tools and equipment to complete their work effectively. It’s important to have an organized storage system that allows quick and easy access to CNC, machine and cutting tools, to keep workers productive, efficient, and motivated – and to minimise wasted time.

In our last blog, we shone a light on the increasing popularity of tooling vending and dispense machines, such as the RoboCrib® TX750 from Autocrib . There are in fact a wide range of tooling inventory storage solutions available. In this blog we’ll look at tool drawers, tool cabinets and vertical lifts.

Tool Drawers:

Tool drawers, such as those offered by Kuway, are a popular choice for storing smaller items and tools. These can include carbide inserts, drill bits and spare parts. In addition to gauges, fasteners, meters, safety and maintenance equipment, inspection devices and more. They typically come in a variety of sizes and configurations, from single drawers to multiple-drawer units, and are designed to dispense single items or kit components from individual compartments. Many tool drawers feature locking mechanisms for each compartment to keep items secure and prevent unauthorized access.

Tool Cabinets:

Tool cabinets, such as those offered by Lista, are larger storage solutions that come in various sizes and styles, from small cabinets with a few drawers to large cabinets with multiple shelves and compartments. Tool cabinets are also equipped with locking mechanisms, making them a secure storage option for expensive equipment. They can often be customized upon order and configured to fit your business requirements through a variety of different sized compartments and options for lids.

Vertical Lift Modules

Vertical lift modules such as those offered by Kardex, are ideal for high density storage in a compact footprint and utilize a facility’s overhead space. A 6m tall machine can offer as much as 5000-7000 storage locations. They have an ergonomic, high-throughput picking system that dispenses tools automatically to a waist-high window. The modules typically have two columns of trays and a mechanical inserter/extractor that moves up and down between them, locating and retrieving trays as needed. They function similarly to an elevator with doors on both the front and rear.

Vertical carousels are also available, that use a series of carriers fixed to a chain drive to provide tool storage. The carriers move in a vertical loop around a track powered by a motor that can move them in both forward and reverse directions.

Why sensible storage matters

Tool management systems are essential for machine shops and manufacturers to efficiently manage their machine, CNC and cutting tools – and reduce costs while improving productivity. These systems provide transparency and control over tool inventory, usage and maintenance. The benefits of proper storage include:

  1. Improved productivity: With an organized shop floor, machine operators and maintenance staff can quickly locate the tools they need, reducing the time spent searching for tools and increasing productivity.
  2. Enhanced safety: Storing tools in an organized and secure manner can reduce the risk of workplace accidents and injuries.
  3. Increased equipment lifespan: Proper storage and maintenance of tools and equipment can extend their lifespan, reducing the need for costly repairs or replacements.
  4. Better utilization of shop floor space: Tool drawers, cabinets, and vertical lifts are designed to maximize storage space, allowing manufacturers to store more tools in less space. This opens up more of the shop floor for more productive use.


When paired with an effective tool storage system, CRIBWISE tool management software uncovers a new world of tracking, control and visibility of tooling inventory. To talk about your storage needs with one of our experts, and to learn how you can grow your business with intelligent inventory management systems, click here.