When it comes to pallet racking, flow storage is essential for managing perishable, time-sensitive products on a first in, first out (FIFO) basis. Since its design eliminates aisles and fills the space with additional pallets, it provides many times more storage than selective rack. In addition, forklift travel is greatly reduced because drivers only need to place and retrieve loads from either end of the system – significantly reducing operating costs, maintenance, and accidents. Better space utilization also minimizes the need to light, heat and cool the facility, further decreasing expenses.
While the advantages are numerous, due in part to its design and moving parts, there are additional considerations for those operations looking to improve production with a flow storage system. These 10 tips can help prolong the life of the equipment, cut maintenance costs, and enhance safety with the proper design, selection, and operation of the system.
Understanding Flow Storage
1) Consider flow storage when efficient storage is critical and space limited.
Flow storage is useful in many applications including ambient, cooler, and freezer environments, raw materials receiving and storage, work-in-process, buffer storage, finished goods and cross docking. It is also often successfully used in pick module and automatic storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS).
2) Understand how flow storage works. Unlike traditional selective rack, a pallet flow storage system has two parts: a static rack structure and dynamic flow rails. The flow rails are set at an incline in the rack structure, which allows loads placed on one end of the rack to move by gravity down to the unloading end. Rollers let the loads move smoothly while self-energized speed controllers act as gentle brakes. As a load is removed, the loads behind it move forward automatically.
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