Waffles are great! They’re sturdy yet lightweight, versatile, allow for easy washdown and they don’t splinter, which is a big plus. Correct, we’re not talking about breakfast food. Instead we have a cool pallet flow project that improves safety and efficiency on a busy manufacturing line and, of course it’s loaded with fat-free details.
The pallet flow racking system we were asked to design was for manufacturing parts on plastic waffle pallets. The waffle pallets were in good shape and had a picture frame bottom with center runner cross pattern that is favorable to full roller pallet flow, so we dug right in.
Pallet Flow Test
The Mallard in-house engineering testing lab team created this unique pallet flow lane. It wasn’t the inventory, the waffle pallets, or the weight, that was the main challenge, it was the pallet removal process that had us putting on our thinking caps. Luckily we have all the pallet flow accessories we needed; it was just a matter of putting everything into place.
As you can see from the test video, the pallets move well down the full roller pallet flow lane. The flow is controlled with the help of indirect speed controllers mounted underneath the rollers. However, note that the pallets are not removed at the discharge end of the lane by a forklift. Instead, they are slid by hand onto a waiting mobile cart. This application required us to make several pallet flow lane adjustments in order to ensure the safe removal of the pallet and allow easy access to the pallet for the worker.
The best solution was to add split-roller pallet flow rails with the flex separator pallet separator to the front (discharge end) pallet position of the lane. The flex separator is key in that it separates the front (discharge) pallet from the rear pallets. The reason we do that is to remove back pressure from the rear pallets weighing onto the front pallet. This way the front pallet is isolated and free to safely and easily be removed from the lane. Back pressure can be considerable and is determined by multiplying the collective weights of the rear pallets by .06. With pallets weights fluctuating and the discharge pallet being removed by hand, isolating the front pallet is extremely important.
You will note from the video, that the flex separator is reset quickly by the worker once the pallet is pulled onto the mobile cart. It automatically engages to hold back rear pallets once the front pallet position is refilled.
There you have it. A customized solution using standard Mallard products to meet the needs of this manufacturing operation… and all before lunch! Who’s hungry for some inventive pallet flow and carton flow solutions? Give the Mallard team a call and we’ll talk over your warehousing challenges, coffee is on us!