Flow Rack

Jan. 14, 2008
Creform Corporation (Greer, SC) demonstrates the dramatic adaptive nature of its Creform System with the design and construction of a new flow rack. The

Creform® Corporation (Greer, SC) demonstrates the dramatic adaptive nature of its Creform® System with the design and construction of a new flow rack. The new structure combines heavy duty handling and storage capacity with gravity-fed point-of-use part/container conveyance along with ergonomic part presentation for offloading pieces, plus the convenience of a flat shelf conveyor section for loading parts onto the rack system. The unit features two tiers...the upper level consists of two side-by-side supply lanes that slope towards the point of use, such as an assembly procedure, machining operation, or processing stage. At the offloading end of the rack, each lane incorporates a more acute angle to orient the container into an enhanced ergonomic presentation position. This angle provides good physical access while making it easy to see parts in the totes.
The lower tier of the rack has two return lanes for moving empty totes or filled containers away from the work station and out to the parts transfer area. At the loading area of the rack, the lower lanes feature a horizontal shelf that provides a stable platform to easily load the box. When it’s full, the associate just pushes it back to send it down the skate wheel conveyor lane.
By positioning components close to workers and at appropriate heights, the dual angle lanes minimize repetitive bending and overreaching motions that can lead to strains and injuries. And, with its large holding capacity, the rack units provide abundant inventory storage space to keep containers off the production floor, making work areas safer. The angled alignment of the container or tote box at the workstation also provides an easy visual aide to monitor inventory levels and need for restocking.

To enhance the load bearing capacity, the structure design includes multiple angled bracing for rigidity with the addition of horizontal support beams and base frame members using doubled-up pipe sections for strength and stability. Heavy duty adjustable feet provide safe leveling to ensure high weight loads are evenly distributed and the structure is solidly supported.

To bolster load stability and safe part/container conveyance sections of slide pipe (pipe that has a flat surface extruded into its plastic coating along its length) is installed on the sides of each lane. Mounted with the flat surface facing inward, the slide pipe acts as both railings to prevent totes from falling and as side guides to ensure boxes flow unobstructed down the lanes.

The Creform dual angle flow rack is constructed using the Creform System components, including plastic-coated steel pipe, metal joints and hardware accessories that allow structures to be custom designed and built to meet specific application needs. Thus, units can be wider with additional supply and return lanes, of varying lengths, or compact to fit in tight locations, and to handle an array of container sizes.

Two styles of conveyor sections are available. If containers have a uniform bottom surface and are relatively rigid, ‘skatewheel’ style conveyor units can be used. Where surfaces are irregular or the container is fabricated from softer corrugated or box board material, then full width roller conveyor sections may be used to provide a wide support area.

Other construction options include using heavy duty casters to make the units
easily maneuverable for housekeeping duties, or for transport to other areas. Casters with stops hold the racks securely in place during use. Racks constructed using available ESD-rated components provide protection for sensitive electronics from static electricity.

In addition to providing system components, the Creform Corporation also offers design and assembly services for the virtually infinite number of structures and applications possible…and partners with its customers in developing, implementing, maintaining and expanding progressive lean manufacturing missions.

Visit www.creform.com for additional information regarding Creform Corporation, its products and applications.