A pallet flow rack, also known as ‘gravity flow’ is a type of racking system that provides an excellent solution for when a first-in-first-out (FIFO) system is needed. It is typically used in operations that have a high inventory turnover and require quick access to products. They can be found primarily in manufacturing environments where many pallets of the same product are produced. Others will use Flowrack to stage orders that are ready for shipment, or many times in picking systems to store pallet loads of product for high volume case picks.
They are also useful for companies with limited warehouse space or that want to reduce their operating costs.
Pallet flow racks are designed with a slightly angled rail to create a downwards slant. When a pallet is loaded onto the system, it moves over rollers with the aid of gravity. The systems are designed with brakes to control flow. In a properly designed system, a load will flow at a safe, controlled rate and the loads will start to move at any position when the load of it front indexes forward. A ramp stop at the end is used to ensure the pallet is brought to a controlled stop. When the pallet is removed, it will create a space and the pallet behind will automatically roll into its place.
Depending on the footprint of the pallet, different types of rollers will be used to ensure that the load flows -including full-width rollers, polycarbonate wheels, magnum wheel rollers, and skate wheel rollers.
Automatic braking systems are utilized to control the speed of the movement to ensure the pallet flow system is always safe.
Pallet flow racks are incredibly versatile and can be configured in various sizes and density to meet almost any warehouse requirements. Pallet flow racks can be a single pallet high, or you can choose a multilevel pick module. Individual racks can also be extended to reach up to 20 pallets per lane.
When deciding on how to configure your pallet flow rack, take into consideration the following:
Pallet flow rack systems are ideal for warehouses where space is tight as they take up to 60% less space than traditional pallet racking systems. They maximize space by removing the need for aisles as there are specific load and removal faces.
Using the FIFO method ensures automatic stock rotation and can help businesses to manage massive inventory more efficiently. This is especially important for the food and beverage industries where “best before” dates need to be carefully managed to avoid waste. Freezers are a good application of Flowracks.
Pallet flow racks also offer ease of accessibility when loading and unloading pallets of goods, meaning higher productivity and speed of operations in the warehouse.
It is a good idea to have a maintenance plan in place and to perform routine safety checks to ensure pallets are flowing correctly, and the system remains safe.
Shelving + Rack Systems can design the right pallet flow rack for your specific requirements by offering advice on the different customization options available.
Contact us today for all of your storage and material handling concerns.