How some creative pallet flow engineering found a way… when there really wasn’t a way!

Buying in bulk will certainly save you money, but what if you just don’t have the warehousing space to store a 4-6 month supply of product?  Recently a customer presented us with this interesting challenge – bulk purchasing by container load two or three times a year really worked for them financially, but there seemed to be no way to store this large amount of product in their new warehouse.  This challenged them (and us) to look at pallet flow racking literally in whole new direction…

The Parameters:

  • Concrete countertop supplier with bulk shipments of countertop forms & accessories
  • Limited warehouse space for storage of slow moving product
  • Static double-deep pallet racking occupies most of the space storing longer countertop forms, also requiring extra-wide aisle space for forklift access

The Challenge:

  • To design a very dense FIFO storage solution for 36+ pallets of fiberglass mesh/reinforcement sheets, all within an extremely tight space

We knew we could just barely squeeze in a 3-high, 12-deep pallet flow rack lane behind the double-deep rack, but that wouldn’t allow us enough room for a pick aisle at the end of the lane – the 12-deep system measured exactly between the far wall and the center dock doors.  We could load the system conventionally, but the pick face would be against a wall, unless we could figure out a way to access it from the side??

Tricky, yes… But not impossible.  Mallard engineers went to work to custom design the end frame, ensuring the strength and stability of a traditional pallet flow rack while providing forklift access to the front pallet position from the side.  See image below.

pallet flow rackWhat About Back Pressure?

Pallet Flow Pneumatic Separator and Control Box With any deep pallet flow rack solution, you also have to consider the effects of back pressure – the amount of force exerted on the front pallet from the combined weight of the rear pallets. It is calculated as approximately 6% of the combined weight of the rear pallet loads. So this 12-deep system with 2500# pallets creates as much as 1800# of back pressure, making it difficult and potentially unsafe for the forklift driver to unload the front pallet.

In order to eliminate back pressure, a pneumatic pallet flow separator was installed on each level of the system. The separator holds back the remaining 11 pallets in queue iso that the front pallet can be safely extracted from the side.  A specially designed control pedestal ensures the forklift driver does not have to exit the forklift in order to release next pallet held in queue for indexing.

One last measure of safety and efficiency was added with the addition of speed controllers, 9 per lane, to control the speed and tracking of the pallets downlane.

The Solution:

  • Custom designed 12-deep pallet flow rack with conventional loading from end, and side extrUnique Pallet Flow Racking Solutionaction
  • Pneumatic operated pallet separator holdback separation system to allow for side extraction installed on all three levels
  • Custom mounting stand to house the three pneumatic separator control boxes
  • Speed controllers installed in each pallet flow lane to ensure a safe, steady speed of advancing pallets and to help with tracking evenly down lane

This unique pallet flow rack system is just what the customer needed – another great application driven by creative design expertise and quality gravity flow products. We’d love to work with you on your next project.  Give us a call and we’ll get started right away!

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