American Surplus Blog
Contact us: 800-876-3736

Advanced Carton Flow Rack Guide


All types of flow rack use wheels or rollers, which are gravity powered, to transport products from the rear of the racking system to the front automatically. This is a first in, first out style of inventory, which is great for automatically rotating products.


Dynamic vs. Static

Used flow rack is a dynamic racking system, because stocking and picking operations are kept separate. This allows for less accidents and time lost due to traffic interference, and more accurate inventory upkeep. A static system would be traditional rows of shelving, where products are loaded and unloaded from the same location. This is good for certain applications, but can also cause a lot of traffic, which can slow down picking and stocking times.


Four Main Types of Flow Rack


Used pallet flow racking is one of the least expensive styles of flow rack because it only requires slim lanes of wheels, also known as pallet flow rails, to transport the product. As the name implies, this style requires inventory to be placed on pallets, as the wheels are spaced in a way that is only compatible with pallets. The pallet flow rails have brakes that slow down the pallet as it travels to the front of the rack.


The main advantage of this style is it allows for pallets to be stored 15 pallets deep. However, the braking system is set to a certain weight based off of the product on the rails, so all of the pallets must be of similar weight. Otherwise a pallet that is too light will stop sliding forward, causing that row of pallets to stop. If pallets are similar weight, then the braking system allows for controlled movement down the rails.


Used skate-wheel flow rack uses staggered and equally spaced “skate” wheels to transport the product to the front of the racking. This style allows for unrestricted product weight and size because there are no lanes. Skate wheels can be made of plastic or metal, depending on the product being stored. Typically skate wheels can hold more weight than flow rails because the weight is more evenly distributed among a larger number of wheels.


Used carton flow rack is similar to pallet flow, except product travels along equally spaced gravity rollers. Unlike pallet flow, carton flow rack does not require products to be loaded onto pallets. This style allows for different sized and shaped products to travel along the rollers to the front of the system. There is no braking system built into carton flow rack, but most feature a lip on the front to prevent products from falling out.


Used span-track uses roller lanes to transport product to the front of the racking. Because the lanes are a certain width, products must also be of similar width to be transported to the front of the racking. Flow tracks can actually be installed into existing pallet racks using a clip to secure each to the beams. Rollers come in varying widths depending on your application.


So Which Type is Right for Me? We understand that this might help explain a lot, but you still have questions. Feel free to give us a call at American Surplus Inc. anytime, we will be happy to work with you to provide solutions to your potential material handling problems. Our sales team will speak with you to figure out what you are trying to accomplish so that they can recommend the best material handling solution. We will take the time to explain to you the possible options and why we recommend one over the other, based off of your specific needs.

What to Consider When Buying Used Bins and Totes


Used bins and totes might seem like a straightforward purchase, but there are actually many options that go along with it. One of the first questions to ask is do you need totes that stack on top of each other, or do you need them to sit inside each other or “nest”? There are also bins and totes that actually do both if you require that. Used bins and totes are typically made of high density polyethylene material, which won’t rust, corrode, or bend.


Stackable bins and totes are great for storing inventory because they can be placed on top of each other without a lid and without putting pressure on the contents of the container below. If they are only stackable, then they will not nest into each other when they are empty, so they do take up a lot of additional storage space when they are not being used. Stackable containers also typically do not have lids, and provide more cubic capacity.


Nestable bins and totes are able to sit inside of each other when they are not in use, which greatly saves space when transporting and storing empty containers. They cannot be stacked unless they also include lids that allow for stacking, which depends on the manufacturer.


If you require the ability to both store empty containers in a small space, but also stack them when they are full of product, then stackable and nestable bins and totes may be the right choice. Some styles of nestable and stackable totes allow for stacking with or without a lid. Lids are usually finger lid style, which are attached to the tote itself.


Another popular container specifically for handling bulk fluids is an Intermediate Bulk Container. This style of container is usually a cube with metal frame around it to protect the contents. Typically IBC containers transport chemicals, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and liquids with their capacity ranging from 500 to 3000 liters. They also have bases that are compatible with lift equipment, so they can easily be moved by forklifts.


For electronic parts storage, Electrostatic Dissipative Material totes (ESD totes) are commonly used. Made of polypropylene, ESD totes protect sensitive electronic parts from radio waves and electricity. Covers snap on to keep dust and debris from getting in, keeping your electrical storage safe.


There are clearly many factors to consider when deciding what type of tote or bin is ideal for your storage application. Let ASI help you determine the size, shape, and style that is right for you by asking relevant questions about the project you are trying to complete, or what storage you are trying to organize. Our experienced and knowledgeable staff and our massive 530,000 square foot facility of inventory should be able to provide you more than enough options when purchasing used totes or bins from us.


Benefits of Used Carton Flow Rack


Used carton flow rack is a style of racking that uses a “gravity feed rear load design. Inventory sits on skate wheels or rollers that are set on a pitch, allowing for products to glide to the front of the rack via gravity. Items are fed into the backside of the racking, so it is a first in, first out style of inventory. When an inventory item is removed from the front, all of the other pallets slide forward into the front most position.


Most new or used pallet rack can be converted into carton flow racking by purchasing carton flow shelves with tracks of either roller or skate wheels. These shelves secure onto the existing uprights of the pallet rack, and no extra supports are required to support them. This is great way to increase storage efficiency while still utilizing your existing system.


The two main styles of carton flow rack is skate wheel and roller wheel. Skate wheels allow for products to be different sizes and weights. Skate wheels are typically plastic or steel, with capacities ranging from 25 to 50 lbs per square foot. Rollers can hold up to 50 lbs. a square foot (on average, depending on manufacturer).


Some of the benefits of carton flow racking include:


  • Saves on Labor  over 50% labor savings depending on the system installed. This will save money due to reduced labor costs.
  • Keep Product Organized  Products automatically move to the front of the racking, making it more accessible and easier to pick, and it also automatically rotates the product.
  • Inventory Upkeep Because of its open design, inventory can easily be counted without having to pick items off of the racking.
  • Even Distribution Carton flow puts evenly distributed contact onto the products being stored to allow for smooth flow through the racking system.


The main drawback to buying new carton flow rack is lead time and the drastic price increase when compared to buying used. Lead time from the factory can be anywhere from 2-4 weeks to a few months.


Unfortunately buying new carton flow rack appears to create a price barrier that deters potential buyers. American Surplus Inc. went into the business of used material handling equipment for that reason. We can sell used carton flow rack at a fraction of the cost of new, and it is in very good working condition. This eliminates the price barrier and long delay times from the factory for a lot of potential buyers, leaving both parties happy. We want to save you money, while also providing you a top quality product that will allow you to save even more time and money in the long run.

Used Cantilever Rack Helpful Tips


Used cantilever rack is a style of racking that has beams that only anchor on one end, and are commonly found in lumber yards or plumbing supply warehouses where items being stored are long and bulky. It consists of vertical columns, bases, arms, and bracing. The vertical columns are held up by the base, and arms extend out of the vertical columns to act as shelves. The bracing adds stability to the racking by holding the uprights together.


There are two common styles of used cantilever rack, single and double sided. Double sided allows for storage on both sides, but also requires clearance on both sides of the racking. Single sided used cantilever rack can be positioned against a wall to save valuable floor space, but will not allow for as much storage as double sided. Determining which type is right for you depends on what you are trying to store and how much of it.


There are many options when choosing used cantilever rack. When deciding on arms, which are the actual storage levels or shelves, it is important to determine how much weight you will be putting on each, and what kind of material is being stored. There are two main styles of arms, straight and inclined. If materials have the ability to roll, like pipes, rolled carpet, and logs, than the inclined arm is preferred because it is set at a pitch to prevent products from falling. Otherwise for materials with a flat bottom or that can’t roll, straight arm is preferred. Used cantilever arm’s capacity is based off of its length and the metal gauge that was used. The longer the arm, the less weight it can hold because it is that much farther from the upright.


Uprights are sold in different heights with varying shelving weight capacities, so taking careful weight and size measurements of what you are going to store is crucial. Once you know how many arms are to be included on each upright, and the weight capacity of each of those arms, you can multiply these two numbers together to get the weight capacity needed for the uprights. Example: Double sided cantilever arms: 12 (2 rows of 3, double sided)Weight Capacity of 1 arm: 1,500 lbs.Weight capacity required for upright: 12 x 1,500lbs = 18,000lbs


Brace sets provide additional structure to the uprights, and the number of these needed depends on the number of arms, the height, the capacity of the arms and the uprights, and the length of the storage items. Braces are not intended to be load bearing, and only stabilizes the rack horizontally.


There are clearly many factors to consider when purchasing used cantilever rack. These options and considerations can be overwhelming, but ASI will work with you to design the racking system that is right for you. Our sales staff will get to know you and your specific material handling needs before recommending a certain configuration.