If you’re new to the warehousing or shipping industries, you might not understand how to properly pack a pallet. Pallets are used to pack a number of individual goods together. The pallet itself is a wooden box-like base. Boxes are stacked on the pallet, then tightly wrapped with plastic to keep everything held together. This makes it a snap to load and unload items with a forklift, or store them in a warehouse.
Mixing and repalletizing is an art. A standard pallet is about 40” by 48”, although that size can vary. They usually weigh about 30 to 50 pounds on their own, and can support up to 4,600 pounds of freight. However, that doesn’t mean you can simply stack goods willy-nilly and expect good results. Here are the dos and don’ts of palletizing:
- Always use a slip sheet: A slip sheet is a sheet of plastic that sits on the top of the pallet. It protects the cargo on top of the pallet. Since pallets can have gaps of up to four inches between boards, this will help protect your freight from damage. The heavier your freight, the more likely the bottom layer requires a slip sheet.
- Stack boxes by weight: For stability’s sake, stack your heaviest freight at the bottom of the pallet. This creates a stable base and reduces the likelihood that your pallet will tip over.
- Stack in columns for stability: Save Jenga for game night. Your pallet boxes need to be stacked in columns, corner to corner and edge to edge. This will help stabilize the freight and make it easier to transport.
- Use strapping for security: Once your pallet is assembled, use metal strapping or plastic sheeting to wrap the pallet. You can do this by hand or use a wrapping machine—whatever is easiest. Strapping secures the boxes to the pallet and keeps them there throughout the freight and storage process.
- Label your pallet: You might think you’ll remember what your pallet contains, but you don’t want to create a situation where six months down the road, you’re not sure what’s stacked on any given pallet. Label your pallet with your address, phone number and what’s in the pallet.
- Don’t create an overhang: Overhang occurs when your freight boxes hang over the side of the pallet. This makes your pallet unstable and prone to compression. Your freight is much more likely to get damaged when there’s overhang involved.
- Don’t allow wide gaps: Another way to decrease your pallet’s stability is leaving wide gaps in between boxes. Packing your pallet densely is the best way to provide strength and protect the boxes from compression or other damage.
- Don’t make a pyramid: Finally, avoid creating a pyramid shape on your pallet. You might think it looks more secure, but it will increase the potential for damage, and it’s far less efficient.
For all your warehousing and freight needs, including mixing and repalletizing, call K-Way Express, Inc. Find out why we’re Minnesota’s most trusted trucking company!