The New Year is the perfect time to check in with your warehouse team for a quick refresher course on the right way to load and unload your pallet flow rack system. Proper system interface ensures worker safety, better system performance, less equipment damage and enhanced productivity. The following guidelines and videos outline easy steps for pallet loading, unloading and clearing (plugging) a pallet hang-up within the lane.
Loading a Pallet Flow Rack System
- Position the fork truck squarely at the opening on the charge side of the system. Optional entry guides are mounted parallel and tight to flow rails with about ½”-1” clearance on both sides or are slightly tapered out at the first intermediate beam.
- Line up the fork truck with the entry guides or the center middle stringer of pallet with center rail.
- Enter the lane 2“- 3” above rollers. Do not launch pallets from the lift truck using forks.
- Tilt forks forward to place pallet onto lane, allowing pallet to roll away from fork truck to ensure it does not get hung up on entry guides. Avoid hitting the tips of the forks to the wheels.
- Note: If you notice a pallet with missing or broken bottom board DO NOT place it in the system.
- Back out clearing the end stop before turning.
- Position and load the subsequent pallets using the same process.
Click on the video to see proper loading/unloading procedures in action. This is a pallet flow push-back system which uses the same process as traditional pallet flow.
Unloading a Pallet Flow System
- Enter the system squared to the face of the rack.
- Lift the front pallet to a level position just high enough to clear the front beam.
- Gently push the pallet back to bump the adjoining pallet which helps help start the forward flow and prevent any potential hang-ups of the subsequent pallets.
- Slowly extract the pallet.
- The remaining pallets will flow toward the aisle face.
- If the rear pallet(s) do not flow forward as the front pallet is removed, follow the steps for “Plugging the Pallet Flow” as demonstrated in our video below:
- Lift the front pallet 1″ above the rollers.
- Firmly push or bump the rear pallets back into the lane, about 4″.
- Back out, extracting the front pallet and gently “plugging” the rear pallets forward.
- If this does not start the pallets freely moving within the system then reload the front pallet and do not unload until the system has been properly inspected and the blockage has been addressed.
Remember: Never climb into the live flow system for a stuck pallet. For additional maintenance tips and pallet safety, see our blog on optimizing your flow system:
And, if you have any additional questions regarding pallet flow usage or system design, call the experts:
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