Gravity flow systems are an economical and efficient component to many material handling operations. Whether it’s a case, carton or pallet, as long as the product sits evenly on the flow track, we can engineer the right system to work for you. Sometimes a customer’s order profile is a perfect candidate for a gravity flow system, but the product or storage medium is too unwieldy. When this is the case, we bring our work home with us…to our In-house Testing Lab and find a solution.
Here is a recent example of the perfect candidate for pallet flow…that didn’t actually have a pallet:
The Challenge – Customer has an ideal pallet flow application:
- High volume SKUs
- FIFO inventory rotation
- High density storage
The Product – But, the product just doesn’t work for pallet flow:
- Soft cardboard boxes stretch wrapped together
- Oversized load – 48” x 76” x 44”
- Light weight – 150-300 lbs.
In this example, a commercial insulation manufacturer has large shrink wrapped loads containing cartons of foam tubing. The loads are lightweight and secure, however they don’t rest on a pallet. We tested several rollers and configurations with the product as is and were unsuccessful in getting an efficient flow. We added slip sheets which tested well, and then we added a slave pallet which tested ideally.
A simple economical solution is to add a “custom” pallet, slip sheet, or standard pallet underneath the wrapped boxes. With uniform contact on the rollers, the product flows evenly and securely. While stretch wrapped corrugated boxes can be a challenge for gravity flow, other products situations may also require a work-around to get the most out of your flow system. Some flow challenges we’ve faced are: soft, wet wood pallets, IBC containers, uneven loads with poor weight distribution, and non-GMA plastic or custom pallets.
If your warehouse application speaks to gravity flow and/or pallet flow specifically, yet the product seems unwieldy and not so ideal, let us Test It. We’ll find the solution, just call Mallard’s pallet flow experts.
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