At Mallard, we look at each challenge to find not just the gravity flow product that best fits the need, but the most intelligent way to implement a complete gravity flow solution. Recently, we designed a pallet flow system to be used with a layer-pick order fulfillment application for a leading paint manufacturer. While that in and of itself is not at all unusual… how we designed the pallet flow rack to work with the layer picker is unique.
Layer picking is a popular high-volume, case picking method used across several industries such as grocery, beverage and home goods. Using a special forklift clamp or suction attachment, layer picking provides the ability to pick one or more full carton layers at a time to build multi-SKU pallets for order fulfillment. Most often the pallets are staged in pallet flow lanes with layers picked and pallets built in a center pick aisle.
Layer pick pallet separators are used to hold back rear pallets and provide additional space so that the front pallet can be easily accessed by forklift attachment without pressure from rear pallet forces.
Now for the Reverse Part…
We converted some of the pallet flow lanes (1 per every 10) to inverse pallet flow as “build and take-away lane” lanes. This gave the customer the ability to organize and stage the outbound pallets while freeing up some valuable center aisle space and streamlining the picking application.
Pallet Flow Lanes for Layer Picking:
- Floor-mounted pallet flow lanes
– Each with a layer pick separator to hold back rear pallets from the front picking pallet
– Each storing a unique SKU… in this case paint cans as you can see in the test video
- After the tenth traditional pallet flow lane, we installed 1 floor-mounted pallet flow lane flowing in the opposite direction
- The reverse flow lane is equipped with a pallet separator but at that load-side not the pick side to hold the pallet in place until it is built
- Forklift with layer pick attachment picks up layers of product by SKU from the traditional pallet flow lanes and builds a multi-SKU pallet, up to 5 layers high, in the reverse flow lane
- When the pallet is complete the forklift driver uses a latch release tool to release the layer pick separator and send the pallet gently flowing to the takeaway aisle
- Standard forklift retrieves the pallet and delivers for shipping
Using pallet flow to hold the pallet while it’s being built then releasing it to flow to a takeaway aisle we were able to add the “build” lane right within the pick lanes eliminating the need to use the center aisle but also increase efficiency and safety by keeping the layer pick and take-away aisles organized and separate
If you’ve been thinking about implementing a layer pick order processing system to handle your high-volume, full case order fulfillment, give us a call. We’d be happy to evaluate your space, inventory and equipment to see if we can work an intelligent gravity flow solution to suit your needs.
(800) 243-6694 (USA only)