A carton flow or gravity flow rack is a type of live storage system used for lightweight products in a first-in, first-out (FIFO) inventory management system. When used correctly, it facilitates fast and efficient inventory rotation, which can significantly impact your bottom line.
This system is often used in high-volume warehouses and distribution centers to improve the second-to-last-mile stage of the supply chain . This step involves preparing goods for order fulfillment and distribution.
How Carton Flow Racks Work
Carton flow systems consist of inclined flow rails and rollers installed in a frame, usually made from heavy gauge steel. Cartons or cases are placed on the rails at a loading aisle and flow down the roller tracks using gravity.
These gravity-fed systems have separate loading and picking aisles. Warehouse operators work at a specific point, reducing displacement times and manual product transportation.
The pallet flow speed is controlled by brakes installed onto the roller wheels. Once the cartons reach the picking module, they are kept in place by a stop gate or display trays. Trays are usually positioned at safe heights, allowing products to be picked from the front relatively easily.
Reasons Carton Flow Racks Can Benefit Your Warehouse
eCommerce has changed how people shop. Consumers now buy more frequently, often purchasing individual items in each order. This has forced warehouses to adapt quickly to individualized order processing. There is a growing need for faster and more dynamic order fulfillment in every industry. Discover more reasons why your warehouse needs carton flow racks.
Facilitates Individualized Order Processing
Carton flow racking is a specialist storage solution that can help your facility overcome modern fulfillment issues. It is one of the most efficient storage solutions for managing high-volume orders of individual non-palletized items, like electronics or medical equipment.
Unlike traditional racks, carton flow rack systems store items in smaller, more accessible cartons or cases. Rails can be adjusted to different gradients, ensuring individual items can be accessed quickly and easily. The inclined rails also increase product visibility so warehouse operators can quickly identify items.
MFG conveyor and assembly trays are excellent options for displaying cartons. Their low profile and radius edges mean they don’t take up too much space within the shelf. Their dimensional stability ensures they won’t sag under loads, protecting your inventory and conveyor. The trays are available in various colors, so you can color-coordinate different SKUs.
Rapid Inventory Picking
Large warehouses and distribution centers typically use floor-to-ceiling pallet racks to store high volumes of palletized goods. However, these pallets require material handling equipment and often need to be broken down and packaged for redistribution. This process can slow picking operations significantly and requires an extensive labor force.
The inclined rail system in a case flow rack allows inventory to flow quickly so workers can pick items at a faster pace. This system creates a centralized picking station for workers, so they waste minimal time searching the facility for products.
Since the conveyors are constantly used, they must be constructed from high-quality materials, like steel. We stock a range of conveyors for a variety of product sizes and weights. Our heavy-duty Roll-A-Way rollers are built from 16-gauge, spring-loaded steel. The frame can support up to 1,400 lbs., while the rollers have a weight capacity of 250 lbs. each.
Integrates into a Larger Storage System
Many warehouses use different types of equipment to optimize specific operations. One of the biggest advantages of carton flow systems is that they can be integrated with a larger warehouse storage system.
Carton flow shelves are often installed on lower levels of push back or selective racking, keeping products organized and providing seamless access to smaller goods. Some warehouse managers opt to create separate areas designated specifically for live storage.
Safety should be a priority if you plan to integrate live racks into your existing storage system. Since carton flow systems are manually accessed, consider erecting safety barriers to create separation between forklift aisles. We supply multiple guard rail options, depending on the level of protection required.
Our JescoGard extra heavy-duty welded rail system is a versatile option that meets severe protection needs from forklifts or machinery. The joints are welded for strength, and the rails are finished in safety yellow, ensuring they can be seen easily.
High-Density Storage Option
Carton flow systems allow high-density storage of small, lightweight goods. Cartons can be packed tightly, back to back, and don’t require interference as they move from the loading bay to the pick station. The inclined rail system automatically replenishes the pick face so each row can be kept full at all times.
Naturally, certain features of the system experience wear and tear over time. Since they are in constant use, the rollers on a carton flow system tend to wear down first. We provide replacement wheels for all types of conveyors. Our skate wheels are available in nylon and aluminum and can support up to 100 lbs. in weight capacity.
Modernize Your Facility with Quality Pallet Racking Equipment
Shelving + Rack Systems Inc. is a leading supplier of warehouse equipment. We carry an extensive range of new and used carton flow rack equipment from leading industry brands. We constantly restock our used equipment inventory, so contact us regarding your specific needs.
Our comprehensive service offering goes beyond equipment supplies. We also offer design and consultation services, helping you plan and optimize your warehouse layout. Once you have selected your equipment, our installation team is available to assemble and install it safely and correctly.