Are Gravity Flow Racks Right for Your Operation?

Using gravity flow racks for your inventory management is a cost-effective option since gravity is used to move the products into picking position, as opposed to the product being moved via power/electric. In gravity flow rack, products are placed in the loading side of the system. When the front item is picked, the following products glide forward so that the next product is in the front position.

gravity flow racksGravity flow racks include options for first-in, first-out (FIFO) and last-in, first-out (LIFO) inventory management. The goal of both FIFO and LIFO gravity flow racking is to ensure the efficient flow of products while maximizing space. It provides increased selectivity, saving time vs. static racking systems because the products to be picked don’t have to be manually brought forward.

There are three types of gravity flow racks: carton flow, pallet flow, and push back. Read on to learn more about each style and help decide which is right for your distribution center.

Carton Flow Rack

Carton flow racking is a FIFO rack system that provides excellent volume utilization for high volume case pick or piece pick applications. Customers can integrate carton flow roller tracks into various size racks, whether that be a stand-alone system or integrated with various pallet rack types.

Carton flow rack is made up of uprights, beams, and inclined lanes of rollers or wheels that allow cartons to glide from the back loading aisle to the front picking aisle. When the front carton is unloaded, the next automatically glides into picking position.

carton flow rack product flow

Carton flow rack systems can be configured with three styles of rollers based on the size of the cartons being stored: full bed polycarbonate wheels, full width steel rollers, and full width polycarbonate wheels.

  • Full bed polycarbonate wheels are best varying carton widths, since there are no fixed lanes.
  • Full width steel rollers and polycarbonate wheels are ideal for storing consistent carton widths, since they do have fixed lanes. Keep in mind, though,

Accessory options for carton flow rack include guides to create individual lanes, and tilt trays located at the discharge end to allow for easy access into the top of a case or tote for piece-picking.

Carton flow options

Pallet Flow Rack

Pallet flow racking systems are a FIFO rack options that provide superb volume utilization for pallet storage applications. It is made up of uprights, beams, and inclined lanes of rollers or wheels that allow pallets to glide from the back loading aisle to the front picking aisle. When the front pallet is unloaded, the next automatically glides into picking position.

pallet flow rack product flow

Pallet flow rails are available in three styles: polycarbonate wheels, and full or split steel rollers.

  • Polycarbonate wheels are ideal for loads over 3,000 lbs and would be the best choice for freezer storage applications.
  • Full and split steel rollers are ideal for all light or medium weight pallet types, as they allow for easily changing pallet configurations.

Accessory options for pallet flow rack include entry guides, ramp stops, and “brakes” that provide speed control.

Pallet flow options

Push Back Rack

Push back rack is a last-in, first-out (LIFO) gravity storage system that uses carts that are pushed along inclined rails.

push back rack product flow

Each pallet is loaded from the front of the system on to a cart. In order to load the next pallet, you must push the first placed pallet position with the pallet you are attempting to store next.

When the next pallet is loaded, it slowly pushes the previous pallet back to allow for the new pallet to align with the next available cart. When the front pallet is unloaded, the pallet behind glides to the front for picking.

This rack system provides high-density storage as it only requires one aisle for picking (vs. pallet flow and carton flow) and allows access to multiple groups of SKUs.

Gravity Flow Racks for Your Distribution Center

Now that you have a better understanding of gravity flow racks, we’d appreciate the opportunity to help you further, whether that be more information or a quote request. Fill in the contact form on this page or call 800-252-5955 to get in touch with one of REB’s material handling specialists.

REB Storage Systems offers pallet racking and automation solutions. We know your options and will make sure your system is the best fit for your SKU profiles, space, and growth projections. We work with you to provide a turnkey system. From engineering, design, products procurement, subcontractor management, install, and permitting support, REB handles it all for you.

REB has 17 in-house project managers and engineers, all highly experienced in the material handling industry. These people know this industry inside and out.

So don’t settle for an inadequate material handling system. Instead, call or email us and get an awesomely efficient material handling system.

If you’d like to speak with a representative regarding our products or services, fill in the contact form on this page or call today!

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