Pallet orientation is a critical part of pallet flow rack lane design. When we refer to orientation, we are defining the positioning of the pallet stringers (a.k.a. runners) to the direction of flow. Pallets can be positioned for the stringers to flow perpendicular or parallel to the direction of flow.
When the stringers run parallel to the direction of flow, that is oriented the “easy” way or the “right” way. Positioning the stringers to run perpendicular to the direction of flow is termed the “hard” or “wrong” way.
Goal number one for orienting the pallet is to obtain the most consistent flow, but lane depth must also be considered depending on pallet dimensions and positioning in the lane.
Testing Reveals Best Flow the Hard Way
In a recent test completed by our in-house Engineering Testing Lab, we examined three differently sized pallets and load capacities to find a single pallet flow lane solution that would accommodate the customer’s varied inventory need. Watch the test video.
- 3-deep pallet flow
- 3-rail wheeled rails
- 7/16 per foot pitch
- Drop-in speed controllers
- Bolt-on end stops
- Hard-way pallet orientation
The test pallets range in size and load capacity as well as level of integrity. All the pallets showed some areas of concern from splitting or cracked boards to protruding nails or other metal pieces. Our team stresses that pallets of good to excellent condition are the pallets you want to use in your pallet flow system to ensure efficient and safe flow.
Elements of a Dependable Pallet Flow Lane
Our Magnum wheel rails are the most durable wheeled pallet flow. They are almost double the width of standard polycarbonate wheels for better pallet to wheel contact and they come with a lifetime abuse warranty against splitting and cracking.
The drop-in speed controllers act effectively to prevent pallets from gaining too much speed down the lane, while the bolt-on ramp stops ensure that each pallet flows to a safe holding position at the pick face.
As always, we caution customers against loading poor condition pallets into the lane and to beware of dangling plastic wrap hanging from pallet loads. The best advice is to train forklift operators to quickly scan the load before placing it into the lane. A moment of caution can save downtime and replacement part expense should splintered pallet fragments or loose wrap hang up or damage a flow lane.
For more gravity flow rack solutions and sample testing, call the Mallard team. We are ready to apply our experience and superior products to your warehousing challenges. Let’s put the power of gravity to work for you.
For more information on pallet orientation, pallet flow racking, and, well, everything about pallets… check out our blog: Everything About the Pallet for Designing Pallet Flow | Mallard Best Practices.