Flow Rack System – Driven By Gravity Or Safety?

Powered flow rack warehouses for pallets, unit loads and trays up to 1500 kg are based on the renowned GEBHARDT pallet accumulation conveyor type 525 – which has been synonymous with robust handling and energy efficiency technology for decades.


This system has many benefits. Space is used optimally since the lanes do not Need to decline. There is also a low profile construction. The warehouse works according to the first-in first-out principle. This ensures that the goods stored first are also removed from the warehouse first. As compared to the gravity systems, the GEBHARDT flow rack warehouse offers a much higher amount of safety for both the goods and the staff. The system works without a decline; brakes cannot fail; it works without line pressure and guarantees safe removal of the pallets even with damaged running rails. The warehouse has a load side and removal side. This leads to short travel and efficient work. The warehouse also can be expanded virtually without limitation. The flow rack channels can be 10 m or 100 m long. – No decline needs to be considered.

Sorting and Supply with AS/RS Supply T-Car e.g. with pallet lifter


The powered flow rack warehouse offers safety that is only possible with a powered horizontally placed flow rack system of accumulation roller conveyors. This means comprehensive safety for pallets with heavy and light conveyed goods and for the people who operate the warehouse. GEBHARDT accumulation roller conveyors guarantee safe continuous operation as every single roller is powered. The pallets are transported on powered rollers and accumulate automatically with zero line pressure. No „braking“ – therefore also no danger that pallets break free and hit the floor with destructive force.

Technical Features

  • Horizontal flow rack channels – each carrier roller is driven
  • Drive of several channels by a common motor – Drive parts like chains and gears are protected in the frame profile
  • Secure, smooth pallet transport – conveyor speed 0.2 m/s – each flow rack channel is designed as an accumulation roller conveyor
  • Lowest power demand, only approx. 5 Watt per pallet – no group transport

Examples of application

  Chemical industry

  • Powered flow rack system with 3 levels and 17.5 m long channels
  • Feeding with an ASRS
  • Removal with a forklift truck
  • Storage capacity for 504 pallets, each with a weight of 500 kg
Food industry
  • Powered flow rack system with 2 levels for pallets
  • Top level for storage, lower for load supply
  • Top: Fully automated feeding by conveyor system, removal by lift truck
  • Lower: Feeding and removal by forklift truck
  • In the same company there is a second double level flow rack system with a storage capacity of 1000 pallets and an hourly capacity of 60 pallets. The lower level lies has a height of 2 m. The space beneath is used for stowing the partial pallets and for order picking. The feeding of the flow rack system takes place automatically by an AS/RS. The removal is carried out by a lift truck.
Beverage industry

Powered flow rack system for beverage pallets 1000 x 1200 x 1800 mm. Three levels, one on top of the other, 45 m long. Fully automatic in-feeding by an AS/RS system. Removal by a lift truck. ASS removal is planned within the framework of an expansion. A warehouse update by a material flow computer with integrated printer and screen provides constant information on the stock levels of 25 beverage types.

Warehouse capacity
approx. 2000 Pallets
Conveyance capacity
100 Pallets/h
Conveyor speed
0,2 m/s
Total drive output
10 kW

Plug&Convey – Future of conveyor technology

How easy can material handling systems be? Actually they can be very simple. All you need are a few different modules. Thereby powerful and reliable intralogistics systems can be created. Is a control such as a PLC required? No, in future not anymore. If each conveyor module has its own intelligent control box, an intelligent algorithm can set up the communication between the modules and enable an extensive functionality.

Flexibility is another advantage of this innovation. It is very easy and extremely quick to implement changes in function or layout. It doesn’t matter whether you want to expand the system or just change it, there is no programming knowledge needed, that is real plug and play. In addition to the intelligent control, it also needs an intelligent, configurable mechanic construction set which also makes it possible to reuse conveyor modules.

Image converted using ifftoany

How does it work? The software automatically detects the current layout, fully autonomous. This generates the base for an independent recognition of conveying routes. This is in turn the base for the automatically configuration of the material flow computer. Anyway the material flow computer can not be imagined as in the classical and central sense. The material flow functionality is represented by the decentralized intelligence. Thus, complex conveyor systems that are extremely fast and very easy to set up and to operate are coming up.


Also the visualization in this system is intelligent. The system reacts to every change in the status or even in the layout. The visualization is updated immediately – of course without any programming. The surface also provides information regarding the error handling, the maintenance or the status of the sensor and the actuator.

FlexBox Visualisierung

What are the benefits? First of all there is a massive reduction of the commissioning time. All modules are delivered preconfigured and ready for plug & convey.

Thereby the material flow can be easily set up, but also changed later without any problems. This is ideal for the intralogistics, the production and the assembly. Just if you think about Lean / Kaizen activities in companies, this system offers incredible benefits. Where it was previously necessary to plan complicated reconstructions, you can now independently optimize and adjust the material flow with the GEBHARDT System 600 without much preparation. The same applies to extensions of the system.

Due to the decentralization, the availability of the system is also increased because the downtimes can be minimized. Defective modules can be easily replaced in a few minutes.

This conveyor system enables completely new possibilities. In times of Industry 4.0, Internet of Things and increasing flexibility requirements, the GEBHARDT System 600 enables already today futuristic functions.