If you’re used to more traditional pallet storage, this image may be a little intimidating. What are you looking at you ask? This is a 5½’ long, 2400# drum on an extra-long plastic pallet.
Usually we would describe why a gravity flow pallet lane test was needed by listing the challenges, but in this case… the challenges must be pretty evident! A huge, round product like this certainly needs uniquely shaped pallets to safely transport and store within a warehouse, and these get the job done, but what storage rack would be the best to accommodate them? Our gravity flow experts have a seen a thing or two and so experience was telling them split roller pallet flow would be the solution, but a test would have to prove it out.
As you can see, the underneath design of the pallet has three vertical runners to make contact with the pallet flow rails. The extra-long length of the pallet didn’t concern the design team except to account for it when planning for pallet positions, however the plastic material of the pallet had us wondering about “pallet flex” and what it could do to the flow of the product down the lane. Pallet flex is something that can happen when using plastic pallets. Depending on how the product sits on a plastic pallet, concentrated weight or pressure points can cause the pallet to flex and therefore apply non-uniform pressure to the flow lanes so we had to watch out for that in the test.
Here were the Challenges:
- Extra-long plastic pallets
- 5½’ long circular drums on top
- Pallet forms “V” shape in center
- 3-rows of bottom runners parallel to rails
- No horizontal runners
- Heavy, centrally weighted load
Taking these challenges into consideration we went to the Mallard Testing Lab to test for a controlled, reliable, even pallet flow solution. We set up the test lane as follows:
- 3-rail split roller pallet flow with 1.9” diameter centers
- Drop-In speed controllers on 32” centers
- 7/16” pitch on a 30’ lane
As you can see in the video, the center rail takes an abundance of the pallet weight due to the way the load is cradled into the center of the pallet. With the speed controllers in the center lane they are able to provide safe, even flow despite the long, heavy awkward design. Split roller pallet flow is ideal for storage and retrieval of this type of pallet/product configuration. The pallets did hang-up after sitting overnight so the testing engineers suggested that the customer employ plugging the lane, or gently pushing back against the rear pallets before extracting the front pallet, as a matter of course when removing the pallets.
- Good results on this 3-rail system
- Drop-In brakes on 32” centers provided excellent control of the pallet
- “V”-shaped pallet design with round load in center causes most of the weight to be carried by the middle runner
- Pallets did hang-up after sitting overnight but were easily restarted by using the plugging method
- Besides the concentrated weight in the center of the pallet, no additional “flex” was noticed
- System works well with these pallets
Would you like to speak with a gravity flow expert about your inventory challenges? We’d appreciate the opportunity to discuss possible solutions, unique configurations, and accessories to make your inventory goals a lot easier to attain. Just give us a call.