Also known as case flow, gravity flow, dynamic flow, tote flow and other names, carton flow storage racks are warehouse systems designed to make unit or case picking operations easier. Case flow racking is constructed of pallet rack supporting sets of inclined roller or wheels that allow cartons to glide from the back (loading) aisle to the front (picking) aisle. Shelf frames on both the loading and unloading sides can be individually adjusted to a more ergonomic vertical position on the uprights. Speed arrestors or brakes can be included with rollers depending on application. Cases, cartons, bins, or other units of product are deposited at one end, sliding safely and gradually via gravity toward the pick face where they can be retrieved for order fulfillment. By nature of this design, case flow is the perfect tool for a hand-picked FIFO (First-in, First-Out) storage system.
Case flow can be configured in many different ways, such as a stand-alone system, integrated with various pallet rack types, or within a multi-level pick module. It’s a perfect solution for accommodating temporary inventory fluctuations and seasonal SKU fulfillment. Easy to assemble and/or reconfigure, it can be designed as stationary or mobile system and is also an ideal solution for low ceiling or mezzanine applications. One of the most popular configuration is integrating palletized product overflow in traditional selective pallet rack above a case flow system, with the case flow being restocked from the pallet above. This adaptability can be a great cost saving measure, as new case flow can be incorporated into existing racking systems.
The main advantage of case flow rack over static rack or shelving systems is that merchandise remains better organized and easier to find or pick, making it ideal for picking full cartons or split cases. Picking and stocking tasks are separated into different aisles, providing order picking access to a high quantity of SKU locations in a relatively small space. This high selectivity allows for greater pick rates and overall productivity for warehouses or companies. Labor costs can also be drastically reduced, as SKU storage that is up to 7 times denser per bay than pallet rack storage translates into up to 80% less travel time for pickers.
eCommerce Carton Flow rack and similar dynamic systems provide constant inventory rotation, making it ideal for storing materials that vary in size, products with expiration dates, food and beverage applications, and cold storage. It is well suited to a wide range of sectors from warehouses storing mass consumer goods to pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, computer components and more. Case flow rack allows products to be continuously available to pickers, which increases productivity and provides high volume case-pick and piece-pick applications like large online retailers. As E-commerce rapidly gains traction throughout the world, so too does warehouse picking along with the systems and material that support it, none better suited than case flow.
Unex Manufacturing has the distinction of being the leader in case flow systems for over 50 years. Products like their SpanTrack Lane, SpanTrack Wheel Bed, Keg Flow, FlowCell Gravity Flow Racks, and myriad others allow them to cater the perfect solution to exacting customer specifications and applications. While many of Unex’s products are standalone units, all their case flow rack systems are built with Hannibal Industries pallet rack components. As the largest producer of steel pallet rack west of the Mississippi, they are well equipped to meet the needs of any manufacturer. While their capabilities are on a global scale, Hannibal’s products and services are available to any size warehouse or firm through their Master Dealer program. As their newest Master Dealer, Conveyor & Storage Solutions is the premiere source for both Hannibal rack and Unex roller and conveyor products. With over 28 years of experience in engineered systems, case flow system design, integrated storage solutions and installation you can count on, C&SS is the right choice to make your next project the success it deserves to be.