Global logistics. That phrase alone these days connotes a “challenge”. And that’s just fine with us because we like a challenge… and even better, we like solving a challenge. We’ve got a really interesting take on building a Cart-Trak carton flow lane that you likely haven’t seen before. This lane was configured to help a global logistics company meet the ever-increasing demand for accurate, fast order processing.

Take a look at this unusual Cart-Trak carton flow test:

Cart-Trak Carton Flow - Mallard Manufacturing

Carton Flow Test Parameters – Plastic Totes with Attached Lids

  • Loaded weights – 5, 10, 15, 25, 35, 40
  • Flat bottom – 21” x 13.5”
  • Lipped top – 5” x 15.5”
  • Crates are in good condition

Carton Flow Racking - Mallard ManufacturingTesting the Carton Flow Lane Designs

This test is a bit like a process of elimination. Keep what works and replace what isn’t meeting expectations.

Test Goals

  • Consistent flow down the lane
  • Gentle stop at the end of the lane
  • Maintain a flow centered within the lane
  • Effective loading
  • Automatic restart of totes flowing down lane
  • Minimized hang-ups

Initially, we flowed the totes on a simple straight Cart-Trak lane to ensure the roller spacing was adequate. Once we knew the totes would flow, we ran three more tests with a few lane modifications to obtain the best-fit carton flow design for the range of tote weights.

Cart-Trak Lane Design

  • Roller diameter – .75”
  • Rollers set on 3” centers
  • Lane length – test lab 8’ (12’ field)
  • Rail spacing 15.75” out to out

Test 1 – Knuckle shelf is set at the charge (load) end of the lane for easier tote loading. Bolt-on impact tray (skid plate) is added at the pick end of the lane for the purpose of slowing the totes. Full-length guides are mounted on both sides for tote guidance.

Results – the system flowed well but the bolt-on tray was not effective in slowing the totes.

Test 2 – The knuckle section remains as it seemed to be useful in loading the heavier totes into the lane, but the impact tray is replaced with a slightly smaller (13” vs 14”) lap over skid plate to slow the totes.

Results – What we found with this substitution is that the smaller lap over skid plate works more consistently. Additionally, the lap over design is beneficial in that it drops into place versus bolting so it’s faster to install and can be positioned wherever it is most beneficial in the lane. Full-length guides continue to keep totes centered in the lane for safer, faster discharge. This is a good lane design and will work as the customer expects… but we have one more idea up our sleeves. On to Test 3.

Test 3 – In this test, we swapped the roller knuckle shelf for a tilt tray to see if it would offer the customer an opportunity to load the totes right there at the edge of the lane and then just send them on through.

Results – The custom fit tilt tray is a good option should the customer’s application lend itself to needing a workstation for filling the totes. Once it’s loaded the tote can simply be pushed into the proper lane.

Cart-Trak Carton Flow Rack - Mallard ManufacturingWhere Do Warehouse Challenges Meet Their Match?

Once again the in-house Engineering Testing Lab is able to provide an optimized warehouse solution for a customer in need. Our ability to custom fit the optional carton flow lane features such as the tilt tray and lane dividers to match the rack configuration provides the warehouse team with the best conditions for safely meeting pick rates and accurate order fulfillment. What can the gravity flow experts do for your team? Call us today for pallet flow, carton flow, and gravity conveyor system design ideas, testing, and a quote.