FlowTube – Building Material Handling Solutions With Aluminium Tube
FlowTube Aluminium extrusions provide a lightweight solution that is ideal for creating mobile and static material handling equipment. FlowTube Aluminium tubes are the prefered solution for lean manufacturing practitioners creating material handling solutions. The wide range of tubes and accessories allows material handling equipment to be versatile, flexible and reusable. With most companies having their own specific processes, custom solutions can be designed for many industrial and manufacturing applications.
Construction and installation is simple with only standard tools required. Structures can be designed quickly and easily assembled using interlocking joints and connectors.
FlowTube Aluminium tubes are used in a variety of material handling applications including assembly benches, work stations, AGV trolleys, picking carts, packing stations and flow racks. Applications beyond material handling include medical computer carts, exhibition stands, display boards and garment rails.
Modular Tube System and Accessories
FlowTube Aluminium extrusions can be used in a stand-alone structure or solutions can be repeated with subtle changes to add extra functionality such as docking trolleys. Aluminium tubes can also be combined with our steel modular system as it is designed to use the same diameter tube.
With many sectors using similar solutions but tailored for their specific cartons and components, FlowTube Aluminium offers a wide range of accessories. From different sized castors and lane dividers, to roller track, lighting and power, the FlowTube product range offers a complete customisible solution.
Ergonomic accessories make workspaces more functional to improve productivity and wellbeing of the user. A range of compatible draw slides, rotational accessories, screen mounts, pulleys and gas struts etc can be incorporated into aluminium tube solutions. Louvred or Perfo panels and shadow boards can also be mounted.
The FlowTube Aluminium tube range is also compatible with the FlowTube Aluminium squared profiles, as well as other industry-standard square and rectangular aluminium profiles.
Many special accessories can be created thanks to the unique properties of aluminium extrusion and casting processes.
A Wide Range of Connectors and Sizes
One of the key benefits of FlowTube Aluminium extrusions is the easy maintenance as a result of the shallow grooves and pyramidal grip on the brackets. This prevents dirt and debris from accumulating along the structure, whilst the pyramidal grip ensures all tubes are held tightly.
There is a complete range of aluminium tube connectors, joints and accessories. The standard 28mm diameter aluminium tubes are available in regular and heavy duty use. The aluminium tube extrusion is also available in a range of profiles. Profiles include our normal profiled tube, smooth round tube, T-slot tube and slide tube.
Due to the versatility of aluminium extrusion processes, specialist extrusions are available. Tube profiles such as double tubes (figure of eight shape) for extra equipment rigidity, and other composite shapes are available.
Many of the 28mm steel joints and accessories can be used with 28mm aluminium tubing. In addition, the aluminium joints come in both standard (‘outer’ A) type, and where smoother or sleeker appearance is required, flush (‘inner’ B type) versions are available.
For heavier duty applications, the 43mm aluminium extrusions are the ideal solution. These can be stand-alone constructions, and can also be combined with the 28mm size for inner parts of the structure. In addition to greater weight-bearing uses, the applications for 43mm size include access platforms and walk-over bridging units, complete with handrails, kickplates, stairways and gates.
Modular Aluminium Tubing / Pipe Advantages
Solutions built with FlowTube Aluminium are typically 33% lighter, making material handling equipment lighter and easier to move
Many people appreciate the aesthetics of aluminium tube, especially with the choice of flush connector joints
Aluminium extrusion is faster to cut and easier to assemble for engineers wanting to design and build in-house
Made from environmentally-friendly aluminium alloy material and easier to reuse for new solutions
Off-cuts or redundant parts are fully recyclable
Aluminium tubes are hard-wearing. The PE coated surface which is more durable than anodising, which helps to better retain its smart appearance
Joints have a special surface treatment to resist corrosion
The aluminium tube modular system provides a high strength to weight ratio.
Outer joints connect around the outer face of the tubes
Where smoother continuous surfaces are required, inner joints are available. The joint is inserted into the aluminium tube to keep the surface flush with the joint surface.
Electrostatic discharge compliant equipment can be created with aluminium tubes using earth-bonding clips between components, combined with correct ESD practice.
FlowTube Aluminium Tube Solutions
FlowTube Aluminium is ideal for implementing continuous improvement strategies in storage and manufacturing environments. When developing your material flow solutions, FlowTube Aluminium’s features allow you to:
Create lightweight flow racks and trolleys with aluminium tubes that are compatible with Automatic Guide Vehicles for Industry 4.0 warehouse and production facilities for increased material throughput.
FlowTube Aluminium extrusions are ideal for building flexible, modular mobile solutions for short-term custom builds and dynamic processes to optimise picking and operator efficiency.
FlowTube has a wide range of accessories available such as lighting, power bars, castor wheels and dunnage bags. To protect your equipment for knocks, foam rollers are available for impact protection in your warehouse and production facilities.
Create adjustable height workstations to provide ergonomic solutions that lead to improved well being and increased productivity. Adjustable adaptation can be via hand crank or electronic adjustments.
Quickly adapt your existing structures to implement new processes using dunnage bags, standard tubes, brackets and accessories from the FlowTube range.
FlowTube’s wide range of roller tracks allows you to create quieter material flow and utilise low gradients to maximise space.
Use standard tools to join aluminium tubes and brackets together, as well as integrating with FlowTube Steel tubes for greater flexibility of your solutions.
Heavy-duty aluminium tubes are available to enable FIFO and live carton flow for larger, heavier cartons and components.
FlowTube’s wide selection of aluminium profiles and an extensive range of brackets allows you to create optimised solutions for your warehouse or production facility.
For maintenance, Aluminium tubes can be inspected visually for signs of wear and tear, as well as cleaned with soap and water for an easier to manage maintenance regime.
Reasons to Use Aluminium Modules in Lean Production Environments
The versatility of FlowTube Aluminium extrusions allows it to be used in any lean manufacturing application.
This makes it ideal for continuous improvement environments and can be easily adapted to implement new improvements.
Combine with the standard steel Flow Tube system to add extra strength to the main frame.
For the inner structure, use aluminium to create the tiers and lanes.
Modular Aluminium Tubing / Pipe Advantages
Building Gravity Flow Racks with FlowTube Aluminium Tubes
Gravity Flow Racks are also known as Live Carton Flow, where racks are created using inclined roller tracks to help cartons continue to flow forward towards the picking line. Goods are fed into the back of the rack to minimise disruption to the picking line thus creating more efficient material handling processes.
Creating Lightweight and Mobile Trolleys/Carts with Aluminium Tubes
Trolleys/Carts create a faster movement of stock/components from storage to the assembly line. These are lightweight and mobile solutions that can be used to carry odd-shaped goods or designed to work with AGVs for automated production spaces.
Trolleys can be designed to spin on one central wheel, have sliding door for side access, or enclosures for protecting large components. When used in production cells, trolleys can improve material handling by docking with the production cell for loading and delivering components.
Building Multi-Functional Workstations / Workbenches / Production Cells with Aluminium Tubes
Workstations, workbenches and production cells create an isolated space for one specific aspect of the assembly process. These can be linked with conveyors to other production cells to create a seamless flow of material and semi-finished goods.
Production cells can be designed to integrate any material handling equipment including flow racks, trolleys, conveyors, workstations and storage racks.
Building Flexible Packing Stations
Packing stations are one of the most important parts of the supply chain with goods having to be packaged quickly and securely to help keep goods flowing reliably. Create packing stations to meet your shipping requirements.
Packaging stations can be designed with compartments for multiple boxes sizes, rollers for wrapping and docking trolleys to move packages to the shipping area.
Keep Teams Informed with Lean Display Boards
Measure and provide live updates on KPI’s to production teams, as well as making production schedules visible for everyone to work towards. Create lean display boards in any style you want.
Where large facilities have multiple teams or cells, lean boards can be used to monitor progress and highlight any issues that can affect other cells. FlowTube’s aluminium tubes make lean boards lightweight and mobile making it easy to move as production cells evolve in use and size.
Products are stored in long to medium-term storage with inclined shelves for easier identification of boxes. Storage racks can be wheel-mounted to allow moving to another area when space is required for production line expansion.