And How to Eliminate It!

We’ve talked a lot about the growing popularity of high density, case-pick applications using pallet flow… and we fully expect the trend to continue. These systems offer the best of both worlds for manufacturers and distributors looking to maximize space and boost order picking productivity.  Pallet flow provides easily accessible, dense reserve storage located directly behind the pick line.

Cases are picked from the front pallet position to the conveyor. The empty pallet is removed as the next pallet in line flows forward to the picking position.  Full pallets are replenished in the opposite forklift aisle, eliminating contention between order picking and replenishment functions.

This is great solution with one relatively ‘heavy’ glitch; there’s a tremendous amount of force exerted on that front empty pallet (after cases are picked to conveyor) from the rear pallets and loads.  This “back pressure” is approximately 6% of the full weight of all rear pallets, making it extremely difficult for an individual to lift and remove the front pallet.

Example: 5-deep system with 2,500 lb. loads
Back pressure = .06 x 2,500 lbs. x 4 pallets = 600 lbs.


The Back-Saving Pallet Separator at Work

See Mallard's Pallet Release in action

There is an easy, affordable solution to the problem – Mallard’s Latching Separator.  This pallet separator holds and locks back all rear pallets at a comfortable 6″- 12″ distance behind the first pallet, removing all forces.  The order selector can safely remove the empty pallet. Once back in order picking position, he or she can lift the manual pallet release latch to gently flow the 2nd pallet into position.  All remaining pallets are again locked in place behind until engaged for release.

Pallet Separator Advantages:

  • Reduce repetitive motion and back injuries
  • Allow operators to remove pallets manually without added back pressure
  • Prevents injuries caused by having to force or kick rear pallets back
  • Saves on insurance by reducing workers compensation claims

Design Considerations:

  • Allow an additional 6″-12″ lane length for separator and gap


Easy Pallet Return Video

See Mallard's Pallet Return in actionAnother Labor Saver – Mallard’s Empty Pallet Return

Efficient handling of empty pallets in a case-pick application ensures the work space remains productive, organized and safe. Reverse flow lanes, strategically placed along the pick aisle are used to stack empty pallets and return them to the forklift aisle.  Mallard’s empty pallet return allows for up to 10 stacked empty pallets. Using a simple handle lever, the empty pallet stack is released and gradually flowed toward the forklift aisle for removal.


  • Separation of fulfillment and forklift operations
  • Reduced travel time for carrying empty pallets
  • Reduced worker back injuries
  • Increased productivity 

    Call Mallard’s gravity flow specialists for more details, design advice or a free quote.

    (800) 243-6694 (USA only)
    (815) 624-9491