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How to Approach Designing a Pallet Flow System That Will Actually Work!

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Pallet Flow Rack systems are perfect for fast moving storage applications that require a first-in /first-out application for the customers product rotation. They also provide the customer with a system that enables them to achieve “High Density Storage” areas within their warehouse which minimizes the required forklift travel aisles. Reducing the required forklift travel aisles simply equates to having the ability to store more pallet positions of product in the warehouse!

Pallet Flow Racking when compared to traditional selective pallet racking and drive-in pallet racking will appear at a glance to be very expensive per pallet position. A pallet flow system “Used” will average around $100.00 to $150.00 per pallet position depending on the application. When compared to a general selective pallet rack system for example, the costs of pallet flow racking can be 2-3 times more. However, if the application calls for a first-in/ first-out stock rotation then this is the way to go. The additional value that generally overcomes the cost is that fact that by creating the high density storage the customer saves money on their real estate cost by simply storing more material in their warehouse. The goal to any type of storage system is to create as many pallet positions of storage as possible within a given space. Utilizing the cubic feet within the warehouse space is always the key.

Pallet flow systems are very finicky and it is always very important that the user and seller work very closely together to gather as much information as they can up front to ensure that the pallet flow system will actually work properly in the end. In addition, setting up a mock bay to confirm that everything does flow property throughout the system is always a good idea before final design and production. This takes a little extra time and cost but in the end the customer and MHE is ensured that when the system is installed in the customer’s warehouse there won’t be any problems. There have been many pallet flow systems that have failed that looked good on paper!

Setting up a mock system will require that the customer send MHE a sample of their pallet or pallets with the product or products that will be on the pallets within the pallet flow system. This enables MHE to confirm that there aren’t any loose boards on the bottom of the pallet and that the bottom surface area in general is large enough to allow the pallet to flow property down the flow lane. Loose boards and/or a minimal amount of boards simply will not work in a pallet flow system. Often times, the customer will have to replace their old pallets due to their condition or they may have to consider a different style of pallet that has enough bottom boards to actually flow properly. It is also important to take a hard look at the product that is going to be on the pallets. For example, bagged products that are stacked neatly on top of each other up to 4 feet tall that have no overhang on the pallet will flow much better down a flow lane than individual boxes that are stacked 6 feet tall on the pallet and have 4” of overhang. The point here is that every application is different. Since it takes gravity to flow the pallets down the flow lane the actual flow lane must be set with a certain amount of fall so that the pallet will actually roll down the rollers to the end of the flow lane. Without getting in to a physics lesson, the heavier the pallet the faster it will flow down the flow lane that is set at a certain degree of fall/decline.

General things to determine when designing the right pallet flow system:

  • What is the pallet size?
  • What is the pallet made of? Wood, plastic, metal, etc..
  • What is the board configuration on the bottom of the wooden pallet that will be riding on the pallet flow rails?
  • If the pallet is not wood, then what is the surface configuration that will be riding down the pallet flow rails.
  • What is the weight of the pallet?
  • How tall will the pallets be?
  • Depending on whether or not the pallets are very tall, they may need to be shrink wrapped .
  • Are they pallets of product currently shrink wrapped?
  • What is the product that will be on the pallets?
  • Will there be any overhang on the pallets?
  • If so, how much and what sides of the pallets will the overhang occur?

Once all of this information is gathered then MHE can start to put together what the customer will need for their system. Most systems will require either (2) runs of flow rails per lane if the flow rails have the staggered rollers and (3) single rails if they are only inline rollers. MHE typically has both in stock. When building the pallet flow system to support the rails it is generally done a manner similar to building a drive-in system. We will use an upright and/or a mono-post for every other pallet position of depth the system requires. We will typically use 96” beams if there is very minimal or no hangover of product on the pallets or 100”-102” if there is.

Depending on the depth of the system and the weight of the palletized products it may be necessary to include some centrifugal brakes in the system. Any time the system is going more than 3 pallet positions deep MHE will most likely have to install some centrifugal brakes within the flow lanes. Depending on the depth of the system we may have to install numerous brakes in each lane. A centrifugal brake is used to maintain a steady pallet flow throughout the system so that the pallets don’t slam to a stop at the end of the flow lane. Some palletized products will take the flow process much better than others. Especially the pallets that have products stacked 4ft tall or lower. In the case where the product on the pallets exceeds the 4ft height even stretch wrap doesn’t always keep the products from toppling over in the forklift aisle if the pallet is moving too fast down the flow lane. The centrifugal brakes are simple to install and work off of a simple gear design that will only allow the pallets to flow across the brakes at a certain speed. The rubber surface of the centrifugal brake rollers helps the bottom surface of the pallet adhere to the brake as the pallet flows over the brake whereby controlling the speed of the pallet throughout the flow system. The brakes are installed within hanger assemblies that will sell separately to mount the centrifugal rollers in. These assemblies will generally fit in the flue of the rack system or can be spanned within the steps of the beams in a pallet rack bay for example.

The next step, is to get a drawing of the specific area the pallet flow system will be installed in the warehouse and determine the number of pallet positions that can be achieved. If the customer does not have a drawing, then they can simply pick the area in their warehouse where they are wanting to put the system and do some basic field measuring. In this case, they would measure out the area on their floor where they want the system to go while identifying any building columns or any other obstructions. It is very important to know the ceiling clear heights in this area and be fully aware of any obstructions from the ceiling that would pose a clearance problem. Once this information is gathered then MHE can produce engineered drawings on our end showing the layout of the new system within the customers warehouse. These drawings will be preliminary for discussion only until signed off our by the customer for final approval.

Pallet Flow Systems work great if designed properly. There will be some products that will not work properly in a pallet flow system. However, the majority of products will work if all of the proper information and testing is done up front.

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What Our Customers Are Saying

"Over the past 12 years I have had the pleasure of working with Chris Summers and Mark Horwitz with Material Handling Exchange. Over this period of time I have had the pleasure of working with them on large and small projects whether I was selling (or) buying uprights, beams, wire decking, shelving, carts and pick-modules from Chris and Mark. They have always been helpful and friendly. They treat you more like a friend than just a customer and that goes for to entire staff at Material Handling Exchange. They will go out of their way to help you whether your needing racking, shelving or anything necessary to equip your facility. I can’t express just how much they have helped me over the years. Now that Material Handling Exchange has the capability of manufacturing racking they can beat anyone’s price and supply you with quality racking!!"


"Great response time, follow up and delivery. The product was in great shape and the communication never faltered."

Teresa Jones

"Mark Horwitz is a pleasure to deal with. The material was delivered timely and the quality was there. We will definitely be doing business again."

Brian Lowers

"Very satisfied with our experience purchasing from MHE. Orders were processed in a timely manner and we look forward to doing more business with them in the very near future."

Mark Crosby

"Great experience!"

Curtis Feucht

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Wayne Musser

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John B

"Great company to work with."

Sam Tucker

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Kevin Murray

"Always a pleasure to do business with!!!"



Mike Noss

"Always professional and easy to work with."

Steve Newburg

"Great company, Very helpful and knowledgeable"


"MHE has been very helpful under tight time restraints"

Doug Temposky



"Good company to work with , very responsive to emails, good quality product"

Ben Gilb

"Easy to work with and easy to communicate with about quotes, questions or any issues"


"Quick quoting and delivery process. Understands what we are looking for. Very competitive pricing."

Greg Salway

"This is the fourth order I have sent to MHE. Always recieved the racking in good order as promised."


"MHE is a top notch company. If you are in the market for new or used racking I highly recommend this company!"

Charlie Williamson

"Aaron R was very helpful and responsive to our needs! Quoted quickly and helped solve the problem we were having."

Brandon Sutor

"Made multiple purchases, quality products and service for a great price. We will buy from in the future. Thanks again from Ashland Conveyor"

Bobby Ray
Ashland Conveyor

"I have worked with MHE for a year or so. They have helped me with old racking repair parts as well as new racks for our shop floor and warehouse. There team has been very helpful."

Kevin Glieden

"All items were as advertised and in far better condition that expected for be used. Everything arrived quickly and well packaged. Very nice folks to work with."

Spencer Johnson

"MHE has always responded quickly to our requests for quotes and availability of product. The customer service/sales staff are quick and eager to assist our needs and prices are competitive."

Alex Darling

"Chris Summers is always very helpful and gets our quotes to us in a timely manner. If we have a question he’s quick to answer and goes out of his way to provide us excellent customer service."

Jennifer Liebert
Gotta Go Surplus

"Have used MHE several times and it is a good experience each time. I have worked with Chris S. and he has been very helpful as well. They do what they say…what more can you ask for."

Paul Doggett

"MHE was easy to work with and quickly provided the racking we required at a reasonable price. We would definitely recommend them to anyone who is looking to procure warehouse materials."


"Material Handling Exchange employees were knowledgeable, helpful, and involved throughout the design and installation. Very easy to work with. The installation crew were professional and easy to work with."


"We have been outfitting a new 14,000 sqft warehouse with new racking. We worked with MHE a couple years ago and had great experience with getting everything specced out and rated for our needs. We had to get racks custom made for the specific work we do. Their prices were very competitive. We went back and ordered another quantity from them last year. We will likely be ordering more from them in the future. The only issue we had was the delivery. The trucking company they used didn’t brace everything and some of the racking fell off the pallets in the truck. It took us several hours to partially hand-unload a full 53 foot trailer. That was the trucking company though. MHE was great."


"Working with Bradly Cross and Ms Herbert in shipping was great. I had some problems with my shipper and they were very responsive to my needs for photos to help find the mis-shipped material."

Rob Smith
Action Industrial Service

"From layout and design to pricing and delivery M.H.E is the best material handling company I have used. The professionalism from beginning to end has ensured they will be my supplier in the future and i recommend that they become your’s as well."


"I always have a great response when requesting quotes from MHE. When ordering, they always keep me in the loop, letting me know within hours when my product will be delivered. Courteous with all phone calls and emails. I will keep them in my sights when I need any type of racking."

Judy Hill

"I would recommend Material Handling exchange to anyone and everyone that deals with pallet racking cantilever and small store shelving. I’ve been dealing with Material Handling for a few years now an they have never let me down even on messed up orders the product is Rush delivered immediately. Hats off to Brad Cross and his crew there."


"Gleaners Food Bank recently contracted with MHE to install racking in our cooler rooms and Material Handling Exchange was great to work with. They were very responsive to our needs and gave us very reasonable pricing. The install team that came to our facility was outstanding; they worked safely and cleaned the work areas meticulously once the work was completed.

We will absolutely use Material Handling Exchange for future projects in our DC."

Neil M. Underhill

"I had MHE design and build cantilever rack for our cabinet manufacturing company. the sales person I worked with was knowledgable of how our business works and knew exactly what we needed. This order was a custom build due to the limited ceiling height we have to work with in out plant. when we received our cantilever order we built and loaded it with lumber. everthing works great."


"Hands down the best company for racking I have worked with in my 15+ years. The racking is clean,safe,strong and easy to put up fast. I would also say that the sales team is right there if anything comes up with the job. All my questions where answered quick and they made sure to go over every detail to ensure I got the correct racking for my application. My company is located in North Carolina and there was no problems with shipping and was fast to get to us."

Todd Sigler

"Starting at the beginning of this year I have been dealing with Mr. Horwitz. He has been very helpful and accomodating to our needs here at Newegg. He is very knowledgeable and prompt when offering quotations. Once orders are in the process the rest of his team communicates at a very professional level. We’ve ordered from them several times already this year and will continue to do so in the future."

Todd Herman

"We’ve done business a handful of times with MHE. It’s always a problem-free experience. Whether we’re picking up a small order from their warehouse directly or having them ship an order to our shop, the order is always accurate. Prompt shipments. Good quality used stock. New stock is fairly priced. Their sales staff is always personable and checks over orders to make sure you didn’t overlook anything. We have no reason to buy from anyone else."

Michael Bartoli

"Excellent products."

Benavidez L.

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