02 May Case & Carton Flow Rack Guide
Warehouses, distribution centers, and manufacturing facilities that pick from extensive inventories benefit from case and carton flow racks. This racking is a dynamic, gravity-driven, and high-density storage solution supporting continuous inventory rotation. Twinlode Automation implements best-in-class case and carton flow racks to support various industries and their supply chains.
What Is Case Flow Racking?
Case flow racking, also called carton flow racking, is a flow racking system designed for picking inventory efficiently and accurately. In a first-in, first-out (FIFO) system, products are loaded into the back and picked from the front.
The racks have four to six shelves with several lanes, and each stock-keeping unit (SKU) has its own lane. An inclined conveyor of wheeled tracks allows cases to easily move along sloped rollers, so the next unit is readily available for picking as soon as a forklift removes the product in front of it.
Benefits of Carton Flow Racking Systems
Companies that choose case flow racks for assembly and order fulfillment can gain many benefits. This racking solution:
- Enhances storage density: A case flow rack is a high-density storage system that stores more inventory in the space.
- Organizes inventory: Inventory remains better organized and easier to find or pick, reducing order preparation time.
- Maintains FIFO inventory flow: Carton flow racking automatically rotates products on a first-in, first-out basis. The FIFO system makes it easier to have high product turnover rates and ideal product rotation. Forklift operators can pick the first item loaded to support the FIFO system, keeping reserve storage in the rear cases.
- Reduces labor costs: Labor savings of up to 75% can be realized.
- Minimizes maneuvering and displacement: Carton flow systems have more pick faces at the front of the racks, allowing workers to reduce their maneuvering and displacement times to take short, efficient routes around the system.
- Maximizes pick faces: In order pick areas, case flow racks increase the number of SKU pick faces because only one case or carton of each SKU is presented to the picker per lane. Incorporating pallet racks and mezzanine racks further enhances pick faces.
- Promotes safe distribution: Case flow solutions can be used with accessories such as brakes and lane guides for safe and efficient inventory distribution.
- Increases pick accuracy: Pick accuracy is enhanced when carton flow racks are combined with a pick-to-light (PTL) system that guides workers through the racking using lights. The product location reduces the extraction time required for loads.
- Separates picking and stocking: Case flow racks are a dynamic rack system and avoid interference in material preparation and restocking tasks while ensuring FIFO order fulfillment is productive. This system minimizes operator and picking interference because picking is performed on one side of the rack system while restocking is performed at the opposite end. SKUs can be replenished without interfering with order-picking operations, and forklift operators can pick and stock items without interference from stocking.
How to Operate a Case Flow Rack
A carton flow system has a base frame and two uprights made from beams with several roller tracks, guide rails, and entry, exit, and side profiles. Each load face has rollers to move the inventory and separators to keep like SKUs together. Braking systems can be implemented to control the speed.
With case flow, merchandise is stocked in the rear of the rack, and it moves forward toward the picking station down the inclined shelf with a roller track. When a carton is selected from the picking area, the next one in line rolls forward. This setup is also known as indexing. The load and pick aisles are separated on opposite sides of the racking system.
Where to Use a Carton Flow Rack
Case flow racking is ideal for operations that:
- Have inventory with date-sensitive products, such as best-by or warranty dates, that requires frequent rotation.
- Need a solution that can integrate with other racking systems for a pick module.
- Have high selectivity and density of products.
- Frequently profile and re-slot inventory.
- Require cases to be distributed evenly.
- Pick full cases instead of individual products.
Carton racks can store a variety of products, including:
- Food and beverage products
- Canned goods
- Health and beauty products
- Parts and components
Contact Us to Learn More About Our Case and Carton Flow Solutions
Carton flow racking systems keep inventory organized and save on labor costs, and Twinlode Automation implements case flow racking systems for warehouses in various industries. We have years of experience with pallet rack solutions. Twinlode Automation also offers professional services for assistance with consultation, design, and implementation.
To learn more about carton and case flow racks for your warehouse, contact us online.