There is a lot to consider when selecting the most efficient way to handle small carton and each pick order fulfillment. Carton flow rack is a uniquely designed to offer maximum benefits to a picking operation. Using wheeled or roller lanes, carton flow delivers inventory to the pick face with deep-lane reserve at the ready to fill-in as items are selected. Carton flow can be used with a single load and pick aisle or with separate aisles depending on space, inventory, and operational needs.
Advantages of Carton Flow Rack:
- Save Space – up to 60% vs static rack and shelving
- Condense footprint – upwards of 20% reduced floor space
- Add pick lanes – up to 40 locations per bay
- Save labor cost – up to 75% vs static rack with less travel and pick motion
- Higher accuracy – happier customers, fewer returns
- Higher pick rates – consolidated, organized SKUs
Carton flow rack is not universal, however. There are a lot of options available to design the most effective carton flow system for your needs. Starting with the difference between wheeled and roller carton flow tracks.
Typically, wheeled lanes are the go-to for storing different sized and shaped inventory within the carton flow bed. Wheeled rails positioned within a rack bay form a seamless edge to edge system for varying inventory to flow side-by-side.
Roller carton flow lanes are typically scaled to closely match the case width, and thus they are used where inventory is consistently sized (load weights can vary).
Look at this video demonstration comparing wheeled Dyna-Flo HD and roller Cart-Trak lanes with standard boxes.
- 15 1/2″w x 23″d x 16″t
- 12-24 lbs. each
- Seam down the center
Test 2 – Cart-Trak with bearing rollers vs Dyna-Flo HD – both on 2” wheel centers
When considering the inventory specs, the dimensions and weight of the box (or tote) is as important as the condition of the bottom when it comes to carton flow. The goal is for good, consistent contact with the wheels or rollers to achieve consistent flow.
The Mallard in-house Engineering Testing Lab conducted this carton flow test to design an efficient carton pick application for a customer and it serves as a good reference detailing the variations in the two system’s designs.
Making the Best Selection
The test evaluation concluded that all four lane configurations ultimately work. The Cart-Trak with bearing rollers in both 3” and 2” centers most consistently flowed the boxes, however, and the technicians are unsuccessful in getting them to hang-up in the lane.
If the customer is using the system only for like-sized inventory, then the roller carton flow rails are the best choice. Also, as the test video shows, the lanes set on 3” centers work well and since they require less materials, they are the more cost-effective option.
The place to start when building the most effective carton flow lane, is the inventory specs… the next step is to call the Mallard team. We will assist you in finding the most consistent, dependable, and cost-effective solution for your specific needs.
To learn more about building an effective carton flow lane visit: Carton Flow Rack – Stability in a Shifting E-Commerce World.
Click here to see all the carton flow rack accessories that can further boost the efficiency of your carton flow system.