From Custom to Common: Keg-Flow Solutions
At UNEX Manufacturing, we often use the phrase “Engineered to order.” This means that the solutions we provide are built from the ground up to meet the specific needs of the operation in question. Our engineers take a lot of pride in supplying exactly what the operation needs to achieve its goals. Our keg-flow Span-Track, for example, was originally designed to meet the needs of one beer distributor. Since then, the design has been honed and perfected, and has found its way into the operations of many distribution centers. Today, we’ll take a close look at the engineering process of our keg-flow Span-Track.
Flowing round, bulky objects has been a long-standing
challenge in the world of carton flow. This challenge is one that many beer distributors face on a daily basis. Kegs in particular can be taxing on an operation in many ways. They can be incredibly heavy, and their weight and shape tend to eat up valuable floor space when stored in pallet positions. Kegs are a burden to carry, a problem that is exacerbated by bending to lift the keg and reaching across the pallet to retrieve the next keg. On top of the stress on your facility and workforce, labeling systems for kegs and mini-kegs can be quite spotty as well- there is simply no convenient place to stick a tag or label on a pallet of kegs.
UNEX’s engineers were eager to take on the unique challenge of flowing kegs in pallet rack. The team developed several simple yet ingenious features for Span-Track that made it ideal for flowing kegs. The first task was developing a roller that could withstand the extra punishment that mini-kegs can impose upon a carton flow system. This challenge was overcome by using our JRS series rollers. These 1 3/8″ diameter steel rollers are stronger and more durable than the .75″ diameter aluminum rollers used for less strenuous order picking operations. This ensured that the rollers supporting the kegs would not bend or snap under the extra pressure. Impact testing was performed to guarantee that the standard mini-keg was within the roller’s capacity.
The height of the standard keg also provided our engineering team with an interesting challenge. The pitch of the track had to be enough to allow the heavy product to flow, but the height of the keg means that when it reaches the end of the track, it would topple over due to its higher center of gravity. Our engineers came up with two designs to alleviate this problem. First, they developed a custom hanger to provide fractional pitch. This would stop the keg from careening down the track. Next, they integrated a high roller stop. This roller would block the keg around its “waist” to prevent it from toppling end over end. If that’s not enough problem-solving, the engineers created an angled label holder for the hangers. This made the product information perfectly visible to the order picker, even if the label was down at the floor level.
UNEX’s Keg-Flow solutions are just one example of how our engineers tackle every aspect of the order picking process, optimizing each step specifically for the operation in question. UNEX’s engineers relish a challenge. If your problems in your operation have you scratching your head, chances are our engineers have the know-how to solve them. Give us a challenge- we double dog dare you. If you need a quote on a Keg-Flow solution, click the badge to the right or here to get started, or call one of our expert Pickologists at 1800-695-SPAN(7726).