If this situation sounds familiar, you should know that unfortunately this is an everyday phenomenon in the field of logistics. It is especially typical for goods that have to pass long distances and have to be loaded several times.
Improper pallet packing can cause unnecessary and absurd additional costs to your company.
Notwithstanding the fact that sometimes the damage to the pallets is caused by speeding truck drivers or negligent warehouse workers in logistics terminals, the main reason for damaged pallets lies in deficient packaging by the sender or the producer.
1. First, choose a proper pallet and examine its quality
It is important to choose a proper pallet, which facilitates the handling of the goods.
A proper pallet conforms to a standard (Euro pallet, ISO pallet, UK pallet, etc), is certified and without mechanical damage. The most common standards in Europe are indicated in adjoining table.
|1/2 Euro (ISO 0)||800×600|
|Euro (ISO 1)||800×1200|
|UK (ISO 2)||1000×1200|
You will recognize the certified Euro pallet by the following elements (see the figure on the right):
In the pallet market there are many disposable, non-standard and uncertified pallets available, which are not recommended to use repeatedly, because their quality and durability may be questionable (especially when handled with a forklift).
2. When placing the goods on pallet, make sure that the goods would not exceed the dimensions of the pallet
Packs, boxes or other packing units may not exceed the dimensions of the pallet, because the different dimensions are imperceptible when handled with warehouse equipment and the damaging of goods occurs quite often.
Also, it is not advisable to pack the goods on a pallet by not using the whole capacity of the pallet. In this case the goods may start moving during transportation and it may result in a damaged or overthrown pallet.
When placing the goods on a pallet, make sure that the heavier goods and those with durable packaging would be in the bottom.
For packages with different shapes, try to place the similar ones on the edges of the pallet and the dissimilar ones on the central area of the pallet. Similarly, protect the most fragile materials by placing them on the central area of the pallet.
When placing beverages on pallets, make sure to place the glass bottles first, then the cans and then the plastic bottles. Remember to place the plastic bottles containing carbonated drinks first and only after that the plastic bottles containing non-carbonated drinks, because those bottles are softer. In order to assure stability, place a cardboard sheet between different layers. If gaps/holes remain between the goods, fill them with special goods protection devices (cushions, shock absorbers, granules, etc).
In case of the so-called soft products, we recommend to use the pallet corner supports or base collars.
The unwritten maximum height of the packed Euro pallet is 1.8 m, which can, of course, depend on the properties of the goods/packages.
3. The goods must be attached to the pallet in a way that assures their stability until reaching the destination
The goods are usually fixed by wrapping them into stretch film, sometimes they are attached with plastic or metal straps (depending on the properties of the goods).
Generally, there are three reasons for wrapping the goods: to protect the goods from damages, to assure pallet stability and to retain the hygiene of the goods.
Start wrapping the stretch film from the lower edge of the pallet and make sure that the goods will be attached to the pallet (see the picture) and they will not slip off the pallet during transportation.
In case of longer distances and several loadings, make sure to use a sufficient amount of stretch film. We have seen on many occasions how the one or two layers of film have stretched out and the whole pallet has collapsed.
Couple of extra layers of stretch film does not cost much, but repacking the goods (especially in some intermediate warehouse in Europe) may cost more than the goods themselves..