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Pick Module Hardware & System Components

What role can various storage media play in your pick module system, and how do you decide?

pick module with central conveyor line

Pick modules are an integration of simple components into a high-density storage and order picking platform...

Multi-Level pick modules combine multiple levels (most of the time) with first-in/first-out rotation of pallets or cartons by using gravity flow to deliver product from the stocking aisle to the picking aisle. Pick modules increase full case & split case order picking productivity by reducing walk distances between items picked. There are many ways to configure a pick module

Pick modules can be comprised of many elements, but most boil down to these:

Carton flow: first in, first out picking method used in each or carton pick applications. Carton flow is useful since it can be replenished while picking continues at the front. Allows pickers to pick from many faces in a tight amount of horizontal and vertical space. Allows carton picks or each picks from open boxes or containers.

Pallet flow: Another first-in, first-out method for enforcing stock rotation, pallet flow systems allow you to complement high density storage with easy access for picking. Workers can use a full pallet as the basis of the picking operation. As soon as that pallet is picked, another slides in to replace it.

A pick module reserve rack is pallet racking that provides additional product storage to support uninterrupted picking operations. It can be based on several kinds of racking (selective, pushback) and exists to hold bulk quantities of product to be fed into the picking system. For slow movers, pick modules may employ decked rack or shelves in some instances.

Pallet return lanes are configured within the pick module to allow for safe, easy removal of empty pallets. This component is not used in every system, but for those applications that can make use of it, it can be a very useful component. Pallet conveyors may be used to facilitate this if room allows.

Conveyor is utilized to transport products from storage areas to packaging & shipping areas. It can be center-of-lane in the picking aisles. On multilevel systems, a spiral conveyor is often used between levels, or if room allows, an incline conveyor. At times, a vertical lift system can be the best option (particularly with pallets)

Product traveling from receiving or inspection areas back to storage areas (such as product returns) is usually conveyed. These applications can mix gravity and power conveyors, dependent on the kind of system and the product being conveyed.

Conveyor is often used to transport debris, empty containers and other non-product elements that require removal from picking areas. Trash conveyors or carton conveyors are excellent for this application.

A typical pick module flooring system is usually comprised of beams spanning between rack uprights, metal decking and a wood wearing surface. Access & safety components may include staircases, handrails, kickplates, guard rails, gates and support structure, including decking, to support personnel in the pick aisles, conveyor lines, workstations and other needed components. Typically a pick module is a catwalked rack structure, although mezzanines and other elevated platforms may also be utilized.