Carton flow is a type of dynamic shelving that is commonly used in fulfillment centers and warehouses. This type of shelving is great for accelerating picking processes as it uses gravity to move products from the back of the shelf to the front without the need for workers to intervene. Aside from gravity, the shelves of carton flow are constructed with a track system that makes it easier for products to move. During picking operations, as products are picked from the front, the design of the shelving system allows products in the back to move forward and replenish the stock. This type of "first in first out" (FIFO) inventory system minimizes the restocking process and keeps the inventory fresh.
Two main types of carton flow track systems are the carton flow roller and wheel beds. Each track system works best with certain operations and product types. When making a purchasing decision between the different track systems, make sure to consider your products and operational needs.
What is a Carton Flow Roller Track System?
Carton flow roller track systems utilize rollers to guide products down the carton flow track. The rollers come in different sizes to match products of certain dimensions. For this reason, they are better suited for operations where product sizes are fairly consistent. The rollers create designated lanes for products and make it easier to keep them separate. They also work better for products with rounded bottoms or rims such as kegs. Roller track systems are best suited for applications such as the beverage industry with cases of products that are similar in size.
Advantages of Carton Flow Rollers
Less likely to damage packaging: The increased surface area of rollers distributes weight more evenly and makes it easier to move products in packaging that can easily get damaged
Easier to move heavier products: The even weight distribution makes it easier to move heavy products
Products are less likely to get stuck on track to the consistent size of rollers
Roller tracks help keep items in designated lanes
Disadvantages of Carton Flow Rollers
Less flexible: Roller tracks are not a great fit for warehouses that change products frequently or have to accommodate products of different dimensions
Roller tracks consume more space on the carton flow than other options
9"W x 90"L Used High Profile Span-Track Carton Flow Lane, Metal Rollers
Carton Flow solutions drop into existing structures to create a flow system to increase efficiency of order picking. Recommended for use in existing pallet rack systems. Hangers sold separately. Free-spinning rollers powered by gravity 9" track width; 9-1/2" overall width 90"… read more
What is a Wheel Bed Track System?
A wheel bed track system consists of wheels that are built on linear tracks. Products of various sizes can be moved by a wheel bed, which makes it is a better fit for operations that have to remain flexible. Wheel beds work best for products with flat and sturdy bottoms. If you have to accommodate different types of products and carry seasonal merchandise, a wheel bed track system may be a better fit for you.
Advantages of Wheel Beds
Increased efficiency: Wheel beds allow for more flexibility and can increase usable space on the track
Versatile: Works with various sizes of products
Makes rerouting and re-slotting easier
Disadvantages of Wheel Beds
Products are more likely to get stuck
Can cause damage or indentations to certain types of packaging especially in humid conditions
Things to Consider When Ordering a Track System
Here are some questions to ask yourself when making a decision between wheel beds and roller tracks:
Do your product sizes vary?
Do you re-slot frequently?
Do you have seasonal inventory?
Do you carry products in study packaging with flat bottoms?
If you’ve answered yes to these questions then you more than likely need a wheel bed system. If you’ve answered no, then consider roller tracks.
Installing Your Carton Flow with Hangers
Carton flow hangers are used to attach carton flow shelving to pallet rack. American Storage and Logistics hangers are easily installed by dropping them into existing structures. There are different hanger types to use depending on the carton flow track profile.
Low-profile lanes require hangers to be installed at the front and back of the bay.
High-profile lanes require a set of retainer angles or a combination of a front-end stop and a rear impact bar. Retainer angles attach to the full length of the front and rear pallet rack beams to secure the high-profile carton flow track. The lock arm flips over to secure tracks into position in all three planes.
American Storage and Logistics Has All of your Warehouse Picking and Carton Flow Needs
Whether you’re setting up a new warehouse and designing a pick system from scratch or reconfiguring your existing warehouse to improve your current picking operations, American Storage & Logistics has all of the equipment you need to build cost-saving and efficient pick modules. We have a complete inventory of in-stock carton flow in both new and used condition, ready for same-day pickup or next-day delivery. Click here to shop online today! If you have any questions about what type of carton flow may be a better fit for you, give us a call at 616-246-9800 to speak with a sales engineer.