Many warehouses and distribution centers are using carton flow to increase storage density and picking efficiency. Carton flow is an excellent first in / first out (FI/FO) storage system where boxes can be loaded on the back of the shelf and flow to the front of the shelf for picking. Simply pick a box from … Continue reading Carton Flow
Many warehouses and distribution centers are using carton flow to increase storage density and picking efficiency. Carton flow is an excellent first in / first out (FI/FO) storage system where boxes can be loaded on the back of the shelf and flow to the front of the shelf for picking. Simply pick a box from the front of the carton flow shelving and the boxes behind it flow forward.
Carton flow racks can also be loaded and unloaded from the front of the shelf like a pushback system. By having the boxes flow to the front of the shelf it increases pick times and also offers better ergonomics because it prevents the need for employees having to reach to the back of the shelf and possible strain their backs.
The biggest problem with carton flow is knowing which style of carton flow you need. Someone may come to us wanting roller carton flow and they actually need wheeled carton flow or vise-versa. Therefore you must be prepared to answer the following questions:
Question #1: What are you flowing? Tell us the size and weight. It will help us determine if you need a wheeled vs. roller flow system.
Question #2: Are you going to flow the same size boxes in each lane or flow different size boxes? If you are flowing the same size box in each lane you should consider a roller flow system. If you are wanting to flow boxes of different sizes you will want to purchase a staggered wheel carton flow system.
There are a few different types of pallet rack integrated carton flow that you should consider. Going from the bottom to the top in quality and price you have the following:
- 1. Quik Pik Style with Track and Guides or Rack-Track – You know the style, the one with the little plastic wheels that are embedded into the u-shaped metal tracks. This is the traditional style of carton flow that was provided by the pallet rack manufacturers for decades. These carton flow beds can be clipped into back to back sections of pallet rack. The carton flow bed is a roughly 8′ wide x 8′ deep steel frame that has u-shaped tracks with plastic wheels that need to be adjusted just right in order to get the boxes or cases to flow. We still provide this style but it is far less popular because of the high maintenance cost of replacing those little plastic wheels.
TIP FROM THE PRO’S: Quik Pik style carton flow is going out of style. There are tons of tracks and guides and quite frankly it is a maintenance nightmare. Ask any Warehouse Supervisor who has it. It is designed for light boxes and if you are flowing heavier boxes the plastic wheeled system will fall apart quickly. The most popular retrofit lately is switching out the old tracks and guides with our Dyna-Deck product – it’s simple and affordable because it pops into existing flow beds.
- 2. Span Track or as we call it Cart-Trak carton flow with Full Width Rollers. Span-Track is the most common name for the product (like Kleenex) but the idea is the same. You have full width aluminum or galvanized steel roller tracks in widths ranging from 8″, 12″ and 16″ (depending on the size of boxes you are wanting to flow). The roller tracks have beam hangers on the front and back that allow it to hang from the front and back pallet rack step beams.
- Advantages of Dyna-Flow full width roller carton flow is that it is easy to install and very durable for handling heavy boxes and totes. It retrofits on all brands and style of pallet rack with easy bracket attachments for easy drop-in install. Ideal for consistent box sizes. The down side is you get less shelf density due to lane gaps vs. our staggered wheel carton flow. You are also confined having lanes that are equal in size to the width of your rollers.
- 3. Staggered Wheel Carton Flow (also known as Magnum Dyna-flow) utilizes full size beds of staggered polypropylene wheels. Each flow bed is 12″ – 16″ wide with staggered 1.9″ poly wheels in 1/4″ diameter axles that are spaced on 2″ or 3″ centers securely incased in a 16 GA galvanized steel frame. The 2″ on-center wheel spacing is more expensive but allows for best flow of smaller boxes whereas 3″ on center wheel spacing is less expensive but great for flowing larger boxes.
- Staggered wheel carton flow is really the ultimate in carton flow because of it’s easy drop-in installation, the staggered wheels are very durable, perfect for heavy boxes and cases and the staggered wheel alignment allows you to have flexible lanes and flow multiple box sizes increasing the number of pick slots.
TIP FROM THE PRO’S: If you like Dyna-Flow staggered wheel carton flow beds you are going to love our Dyna-Flow HD heavy duty staggered wheel carton flow. It is designed for efficient flow of heavy boxes. We sell more Dyna-Flow HD than any other type of carton flow. You will find it in all of the Home Depot DC’s. It is more expensive than the other types of carton flow but it offers larger wheels, heavier components for better flowing heavy boxes. It really takes a beating and will last longer and flow better than any other style of carton flow. If your employees drop heavy boxes on your carton flow you should strongly consider Dyna-Flow HD.