Archive for February, 2019

February 28, 2019

Here’s What You Need To Know About Carton Flow Racks

We talk a lot about what pallet racks can do to increase your warehouse efficiency, because we’ve been selling them and assembling them for years in Illinois and surrounding states. In fact, we have even come up with our own line of warehouse and distribution center equipment called K3 Werks, compatible with other teardrop racking that we offer while still saving you quite a bit of money. We knew what we wanted in racks because we deal with it every day.

But it’s not just standard pallet racks that we sell, because we also make carton flow racks under the K3 Werks name. If you’re new to the world of carton flow racks, no matter the manufacturer, that’s fine…we’re about to give you a crash course in the advantages of such a warehouse storage system and how it can deliver advantages over other types of racking systems.

The Purpose of Carton Flow Racks

First questions first…what are carton flow racks? While you might have already run into them somewhere today, such as the grocery store, you might not know what role they play in a warehouse.

Carton flow racks use gravity in order to move inventory. Racks are set up at a slight pitch that is angled down toward the aisle or packing station, and rollers sit underneath every box on the rack. As the frontmost box (or other item) is removed, gravity brings the boxes behind closer so that the next box is within reach the next time that particular SKU is needed. A lip at the edge of the rack prevents the advancing boxes from crashing to the floor.

What Are The Advantages?

Whether you are using carton flow boxes in the back of the warehouse or up front where the pickers and packers are grabbing inventory and putting it directly into boxes, there can be considerable advantages to using carton flow racks.

  1. Carton flow racks can be assembled in just about any size you need, from small to very large.
  2. This type of racking system is an excellent option for first-in first-out if you are loading them from the back. This means that that you’ll always be moving through old inventory instead of having it be pushed to the back every time new stock comes in.
  3. Carton flow racks, and their picking and packing station, can utilize the space under a mezzanine where forklifts aren’t allowed.
  4. Gravity is free! Instead of having a powered system move inventory forward, that new inventory will just slide into place without anyone even thinking about it.
  5. These racks can be attached to and incorporated into any other teardrop racking system. In the end, you can connect carton flow racks to other types of industrial shelving such as pallet racks, drive-in pallet racking, push-back racking, double-deep pallet racking, and even mezzanines.
  6. Carton flow racks help reduce the risk of an employee overreaching and pulling a muscle or, even worse, hurting their spine.
  7. These racks increase visibility of inventory, making sure that everything is front and center instead of being forgotten at the back of the rack.
  8. Loading these racks from the rear keeps your stockers and picker/packers separated, eliminating the chance that they’ll get in each other’s way.
  9. Carton flow racks can actually save you from having to hire another person. Instead of hiring someone to head back into the warehouse (which wastes time) every time a single box is needed, carton flow racks can already be stocked with dozens of boxes that will replace the first. When new inventory comes it, it might never even need to head to the pallet racks deeper in the warehouse. Instead, you can load up the carton flow racks directly and avoid that middle step. It’s simply a more efficient means of keeping inventory at the ready.

Are Carton Flow Racks Always the Answer?

We work with so many different industries as we’re selling and assembling industrial shelving, and we know that carton flow racks won’t work in absolutely every situation. Some warehouses are storing 100-pound feed bags, which are usually lifted by forklifts and not really “picked and packed.” Other warehouses specialize in large, heavy items (take industrial generators, for instance) that are taking up an entire pallet rack space and would not work on a carton flow rack.

Let Us Show You What They Can Do!

As we said, carton flow racks are incredibly versatile. You might not think that the particular inventory you send out the door makes them right for you… and you may be right. But we also bet that you’d be surprised at the types of items of every size that can make use of this unique form of industrial shelving. Click here to learn more about them, then contact DAK equipment to find out exactly how inexpensive this special type of rack system can be. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

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February 09, 2019

Why Warehouse Wire Decking Should Be The Default In Most Warehouse Strategy Plans

When you order industrial pallet racks after creating the perfect warehouse strategy plan, there’s something you don’t want to forget: wire decking. In general, most pallet racks are made considerably better with the simple addition of these wire mesh panels.

Even if you don’t need wire decking on every single pallet rack you’re using, it’s important to have enough of them around so that you can drop them in as necessary. And we’re not exaggerating when we say “drop them in”…that’s all you have to do in order to make your racking system much more flexible. So, what makes this simple — and inexpensive — option such a necessity in most warehouses? Let’s take a look.

Improve Your Flexibility

If you have pallet racks without any wire mesh, you’re missing out on the option to store items that don’t naturally fit. For instance, you can store items on your industrial shelves without even having to have a pallet at all. You can now put on boxes, cartons, barrels, oversized/unboxed components, and so much more. It’s also a great place to store odd-shaped pallets that don’t conform to your particular type of pallet rack.

You can even turn parts of your warehouse into non-inventory space, like if you put all of the cleaning equipment on a wire mesh-covered pallet rack section. Or use it to hold rolls of cellophane wrapping, tape guns, or scanning equipment chargers.

Wire Decking Improves Visibility

Yes, the warehouse of the future is coming, filled with RFID chips and barcodes that only drones will be able to read. Line of sight won’t be nearly as important when the workers themselves don’t have eyes!

But for most warehouses, that future isn’t here yet. In most cases, being able to see inventory is one of the easiest ways for warehouse workers to find what they’re looking for. If you have a solid flooring for each of your pallet racks, they’re not going to be able to tell what’s on the higher shelves. Is it an entire pallet? Or just an empty barrel? Wire decking can give employees a quick idea of what’s where.

Wire decking doesn’t just help with visibility from below, but also visibility from above. Warehouse wire decking lets light through, which means that the warehouse floor is going to be better illuminated. Not only can this reduce the amount of lighting you need, but it can also illuminate the spaces in which employees are working and could help prevent accidents.

Wire Decking Improves Cleanliness

How easy is it to clean the tops of pallet racks if they have a solid, impermeable floor? Not very. Dust and debris collects up there year after year, and every time the pallet on it is disturbed, dust is going to go flying everywhere. If someone does get up there to clean them, it can introduce a safety risk.

Wire decking reduces the need for cleaning. Because it’s made from mesh instead of solid panels, the dust ends up falling through level after level. Yes, there’s the same amount of dust as there’s always been, but now it’s on the warehouse floor where it can be easily and safely cleaned up.

Improve Safety

It might sound strange that these reasonably priced wire mesh panels can increase warehouse safety, so let us explain.

Protect Your Employees

The problem with warehouses is that their increased height means items can fall from higher than in most places. And as items fall from higher up, they gain more momentum and become a greater danger to employees.

Wire mesh can prevent that from happening. Instead of something from a pallet dropping a full 30-feet, wire mesh means that it will probably only drop to the next pallet down where it won’t harm anyone working in the warehouse. From a moral standpoint, keeping your employees safe is the right thing to do. From a practical standpoint, it keeps your workers comp claims down.

Protect Your Inventory

This one is pretty simple: falling a shorter distance is better than falling a greater distance for most products. Certainly there are items that don’t care how far they drop, and there is some inventory that will be destroyed whether it falls from the top of the warehouse or if it simply falls a few feet. But in many instances, wire mesh will catch your inventory and prevent it from getting damaged.

Make Your Sprinkler System More Efficient

If a fire starts at the bottom pallet rack of a warehouse, solid decking is going to prevent the water from a sprinkler system from effectively getting down to it. The fire can burn much longer and do much more damage if all of the water is hitting the solid deck and ending up on the warehouse floor.

Now consider warehouse wire decking for pallet racks. The water from a sprinkler system can pass through the top pallet racks (and the next two as well) in order to get to the fire in a more direct manner.

Be Sure To Include Wire Mesh With Your Pallet Rack Order

Whether you’ll use them on absolutely every pallet rack or you just need some around every so often, it’s important that you keep wire decking somewhere in your warehouse. It just makes your space more versatile and efficient, and that’s something we can all get behind. Contact us today to learn more about it!

 

 

 

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February 07, 2019

Your Pallet Racks Are In…Now What?

Whether you’re putting new pallet racks into an old warehouse, used pallet racks into a  new house, or any combination thereof, getting them professionally installed is an exciting day. It’s probably the only time they’ll be completely empty for years, and they hold so much potential in making your warehouse a more efficient place to work. Now it’s time to fill them up and get down to business!

But once they’re in, you can’t just think that they’re never going to need some maintenance. Yes, they might be huge pieces of metal that can handle tens of thousands of pounds, but they’re also susceptible to damage. Forklift damage, imperceptible earthquakes, and overloading can all take a toll on your pallet rack system, so it’s vitally important that you keep and eye on them for the sake of your employees and your inventory.

Know (and Follow) The Weight Capacity

When you have your pallet rack system installed, you don’t want to ignore all of the information you’ll be given on it. The installation experts will give you paperwork that tells you, among other things, how much weight you should put on it and how you should load each rack.

One of the most common ways that pallet racks are damaged is that they become overloaded. They might be made of incredibly strong steel, but even steel has its breaking point. Be aware of the weight limits, and make sure to pass that information to anyone who might be putting a load on them.

Check the Braces

When you do a visual inspection of you industrial pallet racks, be sure to check the braces for signs of warping. If a pallet rack is overloaded or if isn’t loaded evenly, it might start to buckle and shift to one side. That’s why you should always…

Have a Bubble Level On Hand

As a warehouse manager, it’s your responsibility to keep your pallet racks in the best possible condition. It’s also up to you to make sure that they’re not in any danger of collapse anytime soon. And eyeballing it isn’t enough.

A $10 level is all you need to put your mind at ease that the rack that looks like it might be leaning is actually okay. Inventory on the racking can cause optical illusions, making plumb pallet racks look unlevel and unlevel pallet racks look plumb. Just doing a periodic check with a bubble level can let you know if your eyes are playing tricks on you.

Look For Upright Damage

Yes, we know that you have a policy saying that absolutely every contact between forklifts and the pallet rack system has to be reported. You might have told forklift operators that they won’t get in trouble if they report it happening, or you might have threatened them with firing if they don’t. Maybe you have a no-questions-asked, completely-confidential policy.

They’re still not going to tell you every time.

No employee wants to admit they messed up, so while they might tell you about the first and second time they hit the pallet racks with the forklift this year, they’re not going to tell you about the third and fourth times they did so. They don’t want to be the one to get fired when review time comes around, so they’ll just drive away and hope no one finds out.

So, whether you hear about hits or not, you’ve got to go looking for them, especially on upright columns. While damage to horizontal shelving might not cause the whole thing to come down, damage to uprights might.

Be Aware Of Rust and Discoloration

If you’ve purchased new pallet racks, it’s unlikely that you’ll have to worry about rust for a very long time. But it’s still important to look for rust, because that means that something might be wrong with the warehouse itself. If you find rust, it’s likely that the warehouse has a leak and that you should do something about it. Not only will you be protecting the warehouse itself, but also the pallet rack and your inventory.

Make Sure Others Look For Damage

Once you know what you’re looking for, take a bit of time and have some training with your employees. No matter the size of your warehouse, you probably don’t want to be the only one to have their eyes looking for damage. The more people you have looking for damage to a pallet rack system, the greater chance a problem will be found.

You might even want to consider putting some reward system in place to encourage employees to report damage. A $50 gift card here and there could prevent tens of thousands of dollars in damage.

Get Regular Pallet Rack Inspection

A homeowner should keep an eye on the condition of their roof, but it’s always a good idea for them to have a professional get up there and inspect it up close every so often.

It’s the same with pallet racks. While you might do a good job at giving them a visual inspection, it’s very important for you to use a pallet rack inspection service in the Chicago area to come in and do a much more thorough inspection. Doing so protects your employees, and if something goes wrong then you can at least show OSHA that you had them inspected recently.

DAK Can Help!

At DAK Equipment and Engineering, we can handle it all. We’ll be your warehouse layout optimization experts, sell you the pallet racks, be your pallet rack installers, and perform the inspection on them for years to come. Just click here to learn more about our pallet rack preventive maintenance program. We’ll help keep you pallet racks in the best condition possible.

 

 

 

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