Growing Business with Pallet Rack Flow Storage System

This case history about C&M Fine Pack comes courtesy of Steel King. It has been selected and edited by the MHM editorial staff for clarity, content and style.

To continue growth, clear logistics bottlenecks and meet end-of-year demand, C&M Fine Pack, the fastest growing packaging company in the industry, required maximum pallet rack space in a minimal footprint. The solution: a warehouse dynamic flow storage system. Yet challenges loomed. "Because we have high standards for food safety, our facility primarily uses plastic pallets internally, which generally have difficulty flowing on typical industry dynamic storage racks," says Tim Pancake, a C&M Fine Pack project engineer.

"We use a wide range of pallet weights, which typical dynamic storage braking systems can't accommodate," adds Pancake. "Vendors wanted us to designate half our storage for light loads and half for heavy loads. Our concern was, if half our product mix was all light or heavy from month to month, half our warehouse capacity could go unused."

The company turned to Southwest Docking and Handling, a material handling and automated systems distributor, and Steel King, a flow storage system and pallet rack manufacturer. "Steel King's was the only system that allowed flow of the plastic pallets we needed," says Pancake, who was impressed by how fast the project was completed to meet end-of-year demand.

Because the dynamic flow system depth, height, and width were limited only by the size of the facility and capabilities of the material handling equipment, it was a good fit for C&M Fine Pack's high volume, space efficient needs. Forklifts are required only for the initial and final unloading. Since only two aisles are necessary, aisle space can be reduced by 75 percent and up to 100 percent more product can be stored than with traditional selective pallet racking.

To avoid construction and logistics bottlenecks, Southwest Docking and Handling helped to integrate the pallet rack dynamic flow storage system with warehouse space and material handling equipment. To minimize interference between production and warehouse forklift traffic, load and unload aisles were created, and the aisles were rotated by 90° to improve sightlines. Steel Guard protective railings were added to protect equipment and personnel from fork lift damage.

"The improved logistics has sped inventory pick time and reduced rack damage significantly," says Pancake. "It keeps production and warehouse working smoothly together."

To allow for a varied product mix and demand, pallet rack depths between 7 and 12 deep were specified on the dynamic storage racks. An indirect braking system, using one interior wheel controlling two outer wheels in contact with the pallets, provides the flexibility needed to handle various pallet loads without designating light or heavy lanes.

"The indirect braking system accommodates all our pallet loads, so we avoid designating lanes and avoid the labor and trouble of sorting or mis-sorting by pallet load," says Pancake. "This gives us the flexibility to store product where and when we want it, so we reclaim warehouse space that could otherwise go unused."

"With the flexibility and reliability of Steel King's pallet rack (www.steelking.com) flow storage system, we don't worry about storage limitations," concludes Pancake. "It's helped us to vary our product mix while streamlining logistics and delivery so we can continue growing to meet customers' needs."

MHMonline.com welcomes relevant, exclusive case histories that explain in specific detail the business benefits that new software and material-handling equipment has provided to specific users. Send submissions to Clyde Witt([email protected]), MHM Editor-in-Cheif. All submissions will be edited for clarity, content and style.

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