Up to 90% of Mallard pallet flow lanes are installed on multi-level pallet racking– that’s a lot of uprights and beams creating the essential foundation for your pallet flow system. Even more critical are the rack design and installation procedures that ensure that this foundation is the best possible for effective, efficient pallet flow performance.
The following are Mallard’s best practice tools for Pallet Rack/Pallet Flow integration, broken out into component and configuration recommendations. If you have any questions regarding the guidelines, please reach out to our Gravity Flow Specialists who can assist you.
Pallet Rack- Pallet Flow Design Guidelines – Components
The ideal rack structure to support pallet flow is a hybrid system comprised of front and rear structural beams combined with roll-form inner beams and frames. Here’s an example:
- The structural beams for charge and discharge pallet flow mounts are placed with web out or (reverse channel orientation).
- Pallet flow rails are mounted on the beams with structural beam brackets (provided) that run the full length of the beam. (see photo right)
- Inner beam cans be either roll-formed or structural. Interior beam connectors are either fixed (pre-welded for a given pitch), or slotted which provides infinite adjustability, which is Mallard’s preference.
- Rails are mounted on brackets with tek-screws on site. For rail to roll-formed connection, this can be challenging to do on site, especially >20’ deep. To simplify installation, when possible use structural inner beams punched with additional holes to provide more options for rail placement. OR, use structural every other beam.
Note: It is extremely important to have a secure connection on all middle beams. As a suggestion, many installers use the 1st level as reference/storyboard to build out the upper level rail configurations – i.e. slope requirements and inner beam elevations.
Example – Standard Lane Mount
Frames – Rolled or Structural:
- We recommended a front and rear frame depth of 54″ deep for a 48 pallet. This ensures sufficient clearance of cross beam of the lane above which is mounted below the pallet flow rails for all inner beams. Otherwise, exterior frame depth should be 6” deeper than depth of deepest load/pallet, whichever is greater.
- Inner frames within the frame lane can be more narrow.
Pallet Rack – Pallet Flow Design Guidelines – System Configuration
- Slope – In order to maintain a consistent/recommended slope, the rack support structure needs to be level and plumb. Shims may be required, depending on floor conditions, particularly on middle frames.
- Maximum rail length = 20 ft. – deeper systems will require splicing
- Maximum depth of system – 11 pallets deep
- Rack Depth – Determining minimum depth (length) of pallet rack frame line for standard pallet flow lanes is:
Total depth of pallets or load (whichever is greater) + 12-18″. If the system has pallet separators additional depth will be required. See our Pallet Separator Brochure for specific depth requirements for each pallet separator series.
NOTE: Lane depth as well as slope requirements very dependent on environment, pallet quality, load, load variances, etc.
- Bay Width
- A 48″ clear bay width is recommended for a standard GMA pallet (40″wide). This leaves 4″ on each side of the pallet. NOTE: If the load is wider than the pallet, take the total load width + 8” to determine MINIMUM clear bay width.
- Single pallet bay width is highly recommended for most systems, especially for pallet loads over 2000 lbs. and/or systems greater than 5-deep
- Double wide bays recommended for 2000 lb. pallet weight limit
- Wheeled pallet flow systems – require beam 8″ wider than the pallet or load width (whichever is GREATER) e. 48″wide pallet = 54″
- Roller systems – Same as above + 11″-12″
- Double stacked pallets – suggest more clearance on sides
- Aisle Clearance – Aisle width requirements are different than selective rack for forklift right angle stacking aisles. When designing selective rack, it is assumed the forklift driver will start to turn the truck before entering the selective rack. For pallet flow and push-back rack, the forklift operator must first square the forklift in front of the lane prior to accessing the lane and retrieving the pallet. This requires a wider aisle for ease of maneuvering. Here’s the formula for allowing for proper aisle clearance:
Aisle Clearance Formula – head length of truck (distance from heel of forks to rear of end of drive unit) + load depth + 18″
e.g. 62.9″ + 48″ + 18″
While we sincerely hope that these Best Practices guidelines will be put to use, but we also remind you that the best way to ensure optimal pallet flow performance is to test the system configuration in our in-house Engineering Testing Lab. Each test comes with a complete pallet flow racking test report and video for your review and approval before the project is moved forward.
Additionally, customers can now evaluate their application’s design from broad system scope down to individual pallet lane configuration using Mallard’s proprietary M-Elevation drawings to ensure proper pallet flow / pallet rack fit within the building and among other existing material handling systems.
Thank you for checking out our Pallet Rack Design Best Practices for pallet flow lane configuration. Don’t forget our tools and expertise are here to help… just give us a call!
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