So you’re interested in learning more about keg flow racking and how it’s used to store keg beer in a way that’s more efficient for warehouse operators and can boost the bottom line. You may have read about keg storage racks and how craft beer is changing the way we store kegs. Even if you’re familiar with keg flow racking, you might be wondering how to go from learning about keg flow racking to actually using it in your warehouse. What variables need to be considered? How do I order it? How can it work for my warehouse?

4 steps to using keg flow

We’ve organized the process of implementing keg flow rack into four main steps.

While each warehouse is unique and has its own goals, needs, and variables, the steps outlined here can be used in most applications.

1. Assess Keg Sizes Being Stored

There are principally five sizes of kegs found in any beer distribution center in the United States. According to Wikipedia, “Since keg sizes are not standardized, the keg cannot be used as a standard unit of measure for liquid volumes.” The five keg sizes most commonly used in the United States, however, include the Cornelius Keg, Sixth Barrel Keg, Quarter Barrel Keg, Slim Quarter Keg, and Half Barrel Keg. The Half Barrel Keg is the one you might recognize from seeing at bar or party where a keg is tapped, and is also known as a “Full Size Keg.” Beer distributors often stock a full range of keg sizes in their warehouse, so the first step in designing a keg flow system tailored to your operation is to discuss which sizes of kegs the system will need to store. Once this step is hammered out, we can move on to step 2: determining the width of the keg store lanes needed.

three levels of keg flow with two levels of selective pallet rack above

It’s common to find the full spectrum of keg sizes in the same warehouse. The image above is an example of different keg sizes and storage options. Most applications won’t have more than two levels of keg flow due to the weight of the kegs, but this keg flow system serves as an exception.

2. Determine the Width of the Keg Storage Lanes

In order to keep product organized, keg flow systems separate kegs into individual lanes, similar to how pallets are stored in a push back pallet rack system. The keg sizes we talked about in the first step will determine the appropriate width of the keg flow lanes, which of course will vary depending on the size and type of keg being stored in a given lane. In order to maximize efficiency and make the best use of your existing space, we’ll want to use only the space needed to accommodate each keg.

3. Calculate the Number of Keg Flow Lanes

Steps 3 and 4 are also essential to other types of warehouse layout and design projects, but “keg flow lanes” might be substituted with “pallet positions” or something similar. Regardless, the goal is simple: calculate the number of lanes, and ultimately the setup of the rack system, that will best help you reach your business goals. The number of keg flow lanes will depend on a variety of factors, including number of SKUs, keg size, inventory size, number of levels and other variables. A Systems Design Specialist will know exactly how many lanes to provide after listening closely to the customer throughout the previous steps.

4. Conduct a Full Analysis of the Range of SKUs

a store with with lots of shelving with products on it

One of the most important pieces of information for a Systems Design Specialist is to know the full range of SKUs. Will all SKUs go on the keg flow rack, or are some SKUs remaining in full pallets? Do some SKUs move much faster than others?

Keg storage systems are meant to augment and enhance the current storage method, not conflict with it. A full analysis of the current number of SKUs and how they’re stored will help the system designer develop a layout that streamlines the storage and picking process from start to finish. This process includes doing CAD layout drawings, which help the client visualize the footprint of the rack system and how the racking will look and operate once it’s installed.

The Rack Systems Specialist will also ask about other aspects of their operation, such as aisle width and the types of lift trucks used. A major part of refining keg storage operations is discovering opportunities to make keg storage easier, faster, and more efficient. These opportunities don’t always lie in the keg flow system itself, but can include things like travel time and the organization of the system in relation to the rest of the warehouse.

Once you’ve gone through the planning and design phases you’ll move on to the installation and implementation phases. It’s important not to neglect the importance of these steps. As a turnkey rack systems provider, we know from first-hand experience the importance of professional installation and implementation. That’s why we not only see your project through to the end, but continue working with you after your rack system design and installation are complete.

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About AK Material Handling Systems

We deliver value to our customers by providing the absolute best combination of quality products, helpful customer service and competitive pricing. We specialize in warehouse layout & design, pallet rack systems, engineered sales, mezzaninesmodular offices and completed turn-key warehouse systems. For more information email us or call (800) 722-5908