It’s always important to test non-standard pallets before committing to a pallet flow lane configuration. While the Mallard team has a large variety of products and features to apply to a pallet flow lane to ensure success, on rare occasions we come across pallets that present too many challenges to be able to recommend use in a pallet flow lane… at least without alteration. These oversized metal frame pallets present a perfect example of what can go wrong and what can be done about it.
- Metal frame pallet: 72”w x 48”d
- Pallet weight: 316 lbs.
- Pallet load weight: 2000 lbs.
- Metal feet
- Added sheet metal bottom
Metal Sheet Bottom
The pallet on its own presents a few challenges. As you can see, the pallet is a metal frame with runners and stackable feet. A sheet metal bottom has been added which could provide a stable, flat surface to flow the pallet; however, it is attached to the frame above the bottom runners and feet, so it never actually makes contact with the pallet flow rails. Additionally, it is only attached at the edges and is not supported through the middle causing the steel to bow and flex during flow.
To address these challenges in the pallet flow lane, the test engineers tried several solutions.
Pallet Flow Lane Configuration
- 3-rail wheeled pallet flow
- Drop-in speed controllers at 56” intervals
- 7/16” per foot pitch in 30’ lane
Flow Test 1 –
The first test confirmed that the pallet design did not provide the amount of contact with the wheels and speed controllers to safely flow the pallet.
Flow Test 2 –
As a second option, the Mallard team reoriented the pallet to see if that front and rear runners would be enough to flow the pallet, but unfortunately with the large size and heavyweight of the load, the pallet flowed too fast and deflected as it progressed down the lane.
The steel sheet was effectively of no consequence to help with the flow lane because it was above the runners and pallet feet.
Flow Test 3 –
Bring in the captive pallet. As you can see from the video, once the captive pallet is added below the metal frame pallet, the load flows well and controlled in the lane.
Pallet Flow Test Evaluations & Recommendations
Pallets with a flat surface are typically the gold standard for pallet flow rack. What we are looking for is good contact with wheels and rollers to the bottom surface of the pallet. Conversely, footed pallets are always a challenge to configure the pallet flow system to have enough contact with the pallet to control the flow. In this case, the pallet does have a flat sheet metal layer, but it was very flimsy and is secured above the feet, so it does not make contact with the rollers. With the use of a captive pallet, however, the pallet can be effectively used in the pallet flow lane.
As you can see it is not in our nature to give up. If we have a test fail, we will try again… and again to find the best workable solution for the customer. Pallet flow rack is beneficial in so many ways, from personnel and equipment efficiency to space use, to safety, and more that it is worth finding the solution to pallet challenges.
What challenges can the Mallard team solve for you today? Call our gravity flow rack specialists and let’s talk ideas.