A carton flow rack, also known as gravity flow, is a dynamic, high-density storage and retrieval system designed to deliver small items, such as cardboard cartons, from one aisle (the loading or charging face) to another (the picking or discharging face).
The carton flow rack uses gravity-fed roller tracks on an incline to feed these items quickly and efficiently. This non-pallet racking system is designed for use with human order pickers and can be used with light-, medium-, or heavy-duty goods. Carton flow racks play an essential role in many warehouse fulfillment operations.
What are the Advantages of Carton Flow Rack Systems?
One of several types of racking, carton flow racks are popular in warehouses where throughput efficiency is paramount and high-volume order processing is necessary. Both a storage and material handling solution, some of carton flow rack’s advantages include:
Increased storage capacity
Because carton flow racks are high-density storage systems, they can significantly increase your warehouse’s storage capacity by reducing aisle width.
Products remain visible
Workers can easily identify and access products in carton flow racks, increasing picking accuracy and efficiency.
You can use carton flow racks for various stock, varying in weight, size, and packaging.
FIFO inventory rotation
Carton flow racking uses the first in, first out (FIFO) method of inventory rotation. In FIFO, the first item that a worker loads into the system is also the first to be removed. This is ideal for high-volume turnover picking operations and facilities distributing perishable goods.
What to Consider Before Buying a Carton Flow Rack
Before purchasing a storage system, it’s important to evaluate your warehouse’s needs and determine whether a carton flow rack would benefit you. Some of the criteria you can consider are the following:
How many SKUs do you intend to process
Knowing the number of SKUs, or stock-keeping units, that you’ll be processing can affect the configuration of the carton flow rack, including the number of lanes and shelves per bay that you’ll require. This improves the efficiency of order fulfillment.
What are your long-term goals?
The long-term goals of your warehouse can help you determine whether a carton flow rack is a cost-effective solution to your storage and retrieval needs. Carton flow racks are ideal for high-density storage and high-volume picking if you intend to expand your business.
What’s your SKU velocity?
Do you stock products with a high rate of turnover? What about products that fluctuate in demand according to the season or sales event? Having a carton flow rack you can adjust is useful for managing stock fluctuations.
Is your stock consistent?
How does your stock arrive? Storing items in totes can simplify the order-picking process, increasing worker productivity. The consistency of the stock can affect the carton flow track that you’ll need.
What are the surfaces of your products?
The surface areas of the products you store and distribute can determine whether wheel beds, roller tracks for your carton flow racking system, how far apart the wheels should be spaced, and the configuration of the wheels.
Once you have this information, you can order or assemble a system to handle your specific product requirements.
How do you intend to store your products? By SKU, product category, or customer? The more organized you keep your inventory items in the system, the more easily workers can locate them for picking, improving accuracy.
Do you intend to install a pick module?
A pick module combines several systems, including traditional pallet racking, pallet flow racks, carton flow racks, conveyor belts, and pick-to-light systems to maximize throughput efficiency.
How does your stock replenishment work? Do you replenish as workers pick? Do you need the shelves to be inclined? Carton flow racks normally use inclined shelves to take advantage of gravity. Any of this information can help you determine the exact configuration of your carton flow rack.
Contact Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc. for Custom Storage Solutions
At Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc., we supply a variety of shelving and racking systems for the warehouse, factory, home, office, and retail store. If you need help finding the right kind of storage system for your business, give us a call at (800) 589-7225.