The ever-growing consumer appetite for “more” delivered faster and cheaper is putting a strain on order picking operations. Case picking and split-case picking are the means by which most customer demands are fulfilled, but these can also be expensive, labor intensive processes with some inherent difficulties. We can help eliminate case picking challenges with smart pre-planning and our unique case-pick separator for pallet flow.
Pallet flow is an efficiency booster, enabling quick pallet loading from a rear charge aisle and organized picking from a dedicated discharge aisle… with lots of reserve storage in the middle. Pallet flow also ensures that the pick face is automatically replenished to optimize the picking process. The role of the case-pick separator is to isolate the pick face pallet from rear pallet forces – also known as eliminating the back pressure, ensuring safer picking and easier removal of the empty pallet.
Calculating back pressure: multiply .06 x pallet weight x # of pallets in the lane.
For example, a 5-deep lane with 1200# pallets would create .06 x 1200 x 5 = 360 lbs. of extra weight pressing down on the front pallet! That’s 360 lbs. of additional weight that workers have to fight against in removing each empty pallet.
7 FAQs to help determine if the case-pick separator is right for your application:
- How do I know I need a CP separator?
Case-pick separators are ideal for high volume, full and split-case order picking applications. The separator allows faster, more efficient case selection for increased pick rates and reduced worker injury and damage to inventory.
- Can I retrofit my existing rack for case picking with the CP separator?
Pallet flow lanes, with the case-pick separator installed, can be retrofit into existing roll-formed or structural rack systems. These lanes will require an additional 6”-8” in overall length needed to account for the pallet separation.
Separators can also be installed into existing pallet flow lanes; however, you may have to splice additional rail length of at least 6”-8”required for the pallet separation. Another option is to add the separator above the lane. We recommend that your Mallard sales representative review your existing lane design and provide the best options for your custom separator retrofit.
- Can I use the CP Separator in a Pick Module?
Yes, the case pick separator is commonly used in floor-mounted pallet flow and pick-to-conveyor applications but can also be used in higher pick levels within the module – i.e. case pickers working on the upper deck of the pick module – pick-to-conveyor or pick cart. The case-pick separator can also be used at higher standard pallet rack levels using an order picker forklift.
Note: The case-pick separator should not be used for forklift pallet extraction – Mallard’s forklift separator is used for multi-level, full-pallet pick applications.
- How are the rear pallets released?
A foot-operated lever automatically releases rear pallets once the front pallet is removed.
- How deep can the pallet flow system go when equipped with the CP separator?
2-4 pallets deep is recommended for the case-pick separator. The flex separator is specified for deeper lane systems.
- What pallet flow rack options are available for use with the CP separator?
Mallard offers split roller, Magnum wheel and steel skate wheel pallet flow that can all be used with the case-pick separator. The application is versatile regarding pallet weights, inventory type, pallet style and it is also washdown compatible for food safety compliance.
- What are the benefits of an empty pallet return lane for case picking?
As you can see in the 3D animated video above, the case-pick separator equipped pallet flow lane works very well with an empty pallet return lane to ensure quick, secure removal of empty pallets from the pick area, protect pallets from damage and increase restocking efficiency. Mallard offers 4 styles of empty pallet return to meet all operational needs.
Case-Pick Separator Advantages
- Relieves back pressure on front pallet during order selection
- Allows pallets to safely index forward
- Allows operators to easily remove front pallets
- Reduces repetitive motion and back injuries
- Removes potential for rear pallet hanging onto front pallet hindering removal
Contact the Mallard gravity flow experts for any additional support you may need in determining if case-pick separator for pallet flow is the best way to optimize your case picking operation.