Carton Flow Racks

What are Carton Flow Racks?

Carton Flow Racks are a first-in-first-out high-volume order picking solution. Carton flow racks are loaded in through the back and order fulfillment happens on the opposing end. Carton flow lanes are powered by gravity because each level has a slight pitch to it.

Carton flow rack is also commonly called case flow rack.

SKU: Carton Flow Racks Category:


How Does Carton Flow Racking Work?

Carton flow racks work because the storage lanes have a slight pitch to them allowing gravity to pull the pallets from the back of the system to the front.

Each shelf level has some variation of conveyor rollers that boxes flow from back to front on. Carton flow is typically supported by standard pallet rack systems but some manufacturers will make their own structure that carton flow will be integrated into.

Carton flow can also be put on wheels to make it easier to roll around your facility if you need a carton flow work cell.

Benefits of Carton Flow Rack

  • Saves up to 50% of space utilization versus standard static shelves
  • Increases your pick slots
  • Improves picking efficiencies
  • Reduces labor costs by reducing overall workload
  • FIFO inventory management
  • Increase storage space and floor space
  • Increases warehouse space

Industries Where Carton Flow Systems are Used

  • Order fulfillment centers
  • Wine and spirits distribution
  • Retail
  • E-commerce fulfillment
  • Manufacturing facilities
  • Distribution Centers

Carton flow allows you to pick off of a dynamic shelf where replenishment is automatic. This can be superior to picking off of a static shelf where replenishments have to constantly be put back on the shelf. It also allows you to rotate your inventory by default. Whether you are doing split case picking or full carton picks, carton flow can be a great solution.

What Components Make Up Carton Flow Systems?

Pallet Racks: this is what supports the carton flow shelves in most carton flow systems. The height and number of shelves can be adjusted to fit your needs.

Carton Flow Shelf Levels: This is what the cases sit on and flow through the system.

Types of Carton Flow Racking Systems

There are two main types of carton flow options. The determining factor is the cartons or cases that you will be flowing through the system.

  1. Varying Carton Widths: If you have varying carton widths full wheel beds carton flow rack will be the best option for you. This allows you to put any carton in any spot on the shelves as long as the height of the carton will fit on the shelf.
  2. Consistent carton widths: If you have a high volume inventory with a low amount of SKUs then a dedicated lane carton flow racking system is a good choice for you. Dedicated carton flow is a little more cost-efficient but will limit your flexibility in the future. Dedicated carton flow lanes are commonly referred to as span track.

Who Does a Carton Flow Rack System Not Work For?

Carton flow racking systems may not be a good choice if you pick from an inventory with a wide variety of parts and sizes. For example, a heavy truck dealership has spark plugs and brake drums. These items are so different in size and weight that standard shelving or racking is going to be the best option to pick from.

To utilize gravity flow racks you need all of your items to be boxed in cartons or cases and groupings of similar sizes for it to work.

How to Design Carton Flow Rack Systems

When designing your carton flow rack there are some things that you need to keep in mind.

  • How much do my cases weigh?
  • What type of case are they in? Cardboard or plastic?
  • Does my case have a solid bottom? Cases with solid bottoms flow better
  • Do I have consistent size cartons or do I have a wide variety of carton sizes?


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