Push-Back Pallet Flow - Mallard Manufacturing

Just because you have Last-In/First-Out inventory needs doesn’t prohibit you from the advantages of a gravity flow rack system. Push-back on pallet flow rails is highly efficient and offers benefits that a traditional push-back system can’t. Push-back on flow rack can go deep lane, upwards of 12 or more pallets deep, while still being low profile. Also, it’s not limited to standard pallet sizes or workarounds to make the pallets fit. Push-back on pallet flow is easy to operate, low maintenance, and productive. Here, take a look at a recent application test.

Benefits of Push-Back on Flow Rack

  • High-density – 12+ pallets deep
  • Low profile
  • Choose wheeled or roller tracks – to best suit palletized materials
  • LIFO – Last-In/First-Out inventory rotation
  • Converts to pallet flow if inventory needs change
  • Requires a single aisle for load and unload

The Mallard in-house Engineering Testing Lab conducted a test for a health and beauty giant to see if their large pallets would be a good match for push-back pallet flow. The test conditions were:

Push-Back Pallet Flow Rack System

  • 3-rail split-roller pallet flow
  • 1.9” rollers on 2” centers
  • 20 ½’ lane length
  • ½” per foot pitch
  • 53” lane width
  • Bolt-on ramp stops

Customer-Supplied Pallet Load

  • 45” x 45” wood pallets
  • 950 lb. load weight
  • Pallet condition: good
  • Inventory load is slightly larger than the pallet

 What Do We Look for in a Push-Back Test?

Essentially we test to ensure the system is designed to most effectively flow the pallets safely and consistently. We look for pallets to automatically restart after sitting and for forklifts to be able to place and remove pallets without interference or safety concerns.

We’re happy to say that these pallets passed the test… here see for yourself –test video.

Push-Back Pallet Rack - Mallard Manufacturing

The wood pallets were in good condition. Each had 3 bottom boards that made positive contact with the rollers to promote consistent flow.

The pallet loads were banded onto the pallets with plastic wrap. The inventory hung over the edges of the square pallets a few inches on all sides but not enough to impede flow.

The lane pitch was set at ½” per foot which was enough to easily push the pallets back into the lane without undue strain on the forklift and yet with enough pitch that they would easily flow forward when the front pallet was removed, even after sitting in the lane overnight.

The Forklift Has Control

Push-Back Rack - Mallard ManufacturingTraining your forklift operators to properly load and unload gravity flow rack systems is critical for system longevity and warehouse safety. In this push-back application, the driver is really in the operational-safety driver’s seat. Here are 4 operator safety steps:

  1. Quickly scan the load for loose plastic wrap that could get stuck in the rollers and damage the lane or dislodge the load and cause a safety hazard.
  2. Center the load in the load to ensure the pallet sits squarely on the roller rails.
  3. Carefully raise the load above the ramp stop yet not too high as to strike the level above to place the load in the lane.
  4. Control the speed of the pallets flowing forward by slowing backing out of the lane with the pick face pallet.

The Power of Gravity

The Mallard team has extensive experience designing push-back pallet flow solutions for customers to satisfy inventory, space, and processing needs. Can we help you look at gravity flow in a new way? Contact our gravity flow experts for a free consultation to see if we can put the power of gravity to work for you.