We often test the effectiveness of pallet flow rack for warehouse storage and distribution functions. Many of those test results are detailed in our regular blog series, but less often do we discuss the benefits for manufacturing and assembly operations. However, when these giant foam blocks arrived at our in-house Engineering and Testing Lab, we knew we needed to share this application.
While they look like menacing stone or concrete, the blocks are raw material foam that is used in manufacturing automobile interiors. The name of the game for car materials is energy-efficient yet durable and so the lightweight foam makes a lot of sense… and seeing as how we also try to deliver energy-efficient, durable solutions, we got to work on a pallet flow design to help this manufacturer meet their goals.
Pallet Flow Lane Design
- 3-Rail polycarbonate wheeled system
- Wheel diameter – 2.9”
- Drop-in speed controllers
- Bolt-on ramp stops
- Pitch ¾” per foot over 30’ length
- Load weight 300 lbs.
- Rail spacing 64” out to out
Besides the unusual size and configuration of the inventory, we also found that the blocks were not situated on traditional pallets, but instead on captive cardboard “pallets”. The cardboard does have a flat bottom surface, but it is much less sturdy and more susceptible to damage than typical pallets. In this case, we found that there was damage to the underside that we would have to ensure did not cause a hang-up in the pallet flow lane. What we got was a little surprise at first, however.
Test 1 – Whoa There
Initially the pallet flow lane design called for drop-in speed controllers in the center rail of the 3-rail pallet flow lane. This is a very typical configuration assuming good contact with the bottom of the pallet and the lightweight load we expected it to work. And, that is why we test first!
As you can see in the test video, the foam blocks gained way too much speed in the lane because the speed controller was not able to make good consistent contact with the captive pallet due to existing underside damage.
Test 2 – Slow & Steady Wins the Race
Moving the speed controllers to the outer rails ensured more significant contact with the captive pallet which helped to keep the load in control as it flowed down the lane. Good contact also helps to keep the load centered as it moves to arrive squared at the pick face for faster, easier extraction.
The bolt-on ramp stops at the end of the lane help to bring the load to a safe stop and hold it in place until extracted by the forklift.
Let Mallard Keep Your Manufacturing & Assembly Lines Flowing
Another successful application keeps this manufacturer cruisin’ in the fast lane. How can the Mallard team be of help for your operations? Contact the gravity flow experts today for pallet flow, carton flow, and gravity conveyor configuration specs and design ideas. It’s our goal to find the most efficient, effective application to suit your budget and operational needs.