Simple Modification Makes Pallet Flow a Reality for Large Metal Crates
Our auto parts manufacturing and assembly customers always seem to have interesting pallet and carton flow challenges. This latest pallet flow racking test for a major auto parts supplier is no different.
The Mallard in-house testing lab received several empty crates and others with sample product for testing. As you can see, the crates are unique – open metal containers with heavy-duty hooks for mounting parts. They were quite large at nearly 9 ½’ wide and, when loaded with auto parts, weighed-in at 1,200-1,800 lbs.
Our challenge was to design a forklift-accessible pallet flow rack solution to handle the crates with varying weight loads. Our main concern, as always with pallet flow, is how the bottom of the crate is constructed. These crates have runners, but unfortunately they were too narrow to provide sufficient contact for consistent flow in a the pallet flow lane… or should we say, they “Were” too narrow… and there in lies the solution to our challenge.
By modifying the crates with steel runners, welded to the bottom, the crates exhibited good flow both empty and loaded. The pallet flow lane design included drop-in speed controllers to help control the flow of the crates down lane and, particularly, the shifting that can occur with the loosely, swinging product.
Here are the important details to this success story and our engineering lab test video so you can check it out for yourself.
- Metal crate
- 113” wide x 55” deep
- 53” high
- 1200 – 1800 lbs.
Pallet Flow Lane:
- 3-rail pallet flow roller system -8” rollers in the outside lanes, 4” rollers in the center
- Drop-in speed controllers
- 96” wide from outside rail to outside rail
½” per foot lane pitch
Three runners were carefully welded to the bottom of the crate. The runners were chamfered (cut away at the edge to make a symmetrical slope) to help the runner transition over the rollers. Each runner was 3 ½” wide x 3/8” thick and made from plate steel. They were welded at the top of the runner to ensure a smooth gliding surface on the bottom.
Enlisting these runners to help supply our auto parts was the right move. What are your storage and fulfillment challenges? Contact the Mallard team and let’s see if we can build you an economical and efficient gravity flow solution to take-on your challenges.
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