Carton Flow is a form of shelving that uses gravity feed rear-load design. This storage system helps to keep the product more organized because it is automatically rotated on a FIFO basis.
One type of carton flow system is a full width roller, which typically consists of gravity roller conveyor tracks of varying widths, roller centers, and capacities.
As with wheel track, it relies on pallet rack or standalone supports to provide the structural support. However, it typically uses standard pallet rack beams as the primary means for installation.
Tracks can either be confined to the depth of the racking using rack beams as end stops or mounting areas for accessories. In some cases, they can attach on top of the beams allowing for more depth, ergo, and accessory options. Some require brackets that allow the track to be attached to the beam and others simply lay in place and are secured as is.
Deep lane applications may require additional beams for support above and beyond the infeed and discharge zones. This is typically accomplished through the use of intermediated beams within the normal pallet rack structure. Some manufacturers may also provide a shelf or frame that allows accessories to be installed and depth adjustment beyond beam support.
Some advantages to the full width roller include:
- They provide more surface area contact and may provide better conveyance for products with flimsy bottoms or in high humidity environments.
- The width is only confined by the total bay width and beam capacities if no support shelf or frame is used.
- This results in no lost pickable space
- The roller centers and track widths can be modified to strike a balance between cost and functionality. Some products overhang is allowable.
- Tracks are easy to install as new product or in a retrofit. This typically involves infeed and discharge brackets and a lay in section of conveyor for rack beam installation.
In addition to these advantages, full width rollers also have some drawbacks, such as:
- The specific width means you are limited in the size of product you can accommodate if business changes. They may be too large or too small ass things change.
- Cost is typically higher per bay than wheel track applications.
- There is no ability for width adjustments once installed. Tracks are fixed width so new product is required if changes are desired.