Understanding how to properly load a pallet is key to protecting your goods from start to finish. The principles of pallet loading explain how your pallet is secured and put together.
Because boxes and pallets can be stacked on top of each other, your ability to load a pellet properly can save you time, and money, and prevent accidents. Most people are aware that to load a wooden pallet properly, you should start stacking boxes — with the heavier boxes on the bottom and lighter boxes as well as smaller boxes on the top.
But this is only the beginning. Let's take a closer look at a few pallet loading best practices for cardboard boxes and techniques. Read on are pallet loading hacks.
Get Started by Inspecting Your Pallet Properly
The first step to loading wooden pallets is to check them out. Inspect your standard pallet to make sure it's in good working order and can withstand the load. Some pallets may be a lighter duty and made with lighter materials, which may compromise their ability to accommodate heavier stacked boxes.
As such, you should avoid using any pallets that have broken or cracked deck boards. Broken or damaged boards can place your load at risk. Even more important, broken boards can create a dangerous safety hazard.
Check Out Your Boxes and Box Size
The actual size of the boxes being loaded should dictate the size of the skid. When you have a properly sized skid, you can confidently lay the first layer of boxes uniformly to the edge of every side. When doing so, make sure to minimize empty space and avoid boxes that overhang, which can create a risk during transport.
What About Different Sized Boxes?
In a perfect world, every box would be uniform and the same size. However, this is rarely the case when you're loading pallets. Because of this, you can save yourself a lot of time and headache by simply inspecting your boxes before getting started.
In either case, the goal is to have the boxes layered uniformly with the pallet. If your boxes aren't uniform, make sure to go to a higher gauge of stretch wrap or shrink wrap to ensure the pallet is securely packed. This can help prevent shifts, tearing, and damage.
Choosing the Best Stretch Film for Your Pallet
Now you've inspected your pallet and boxes, the next general step is to choose the best stretch film based on the load.
Type A Loads Are the Easiest to Wrap and Stack
Type A loads are uniform and have almost perfect dimensions. These types of pallets are made up of boxes or cartons of all the same size. The consistent horizontal and horizontal edges make stacking and stretch wrapping easier because fewer areas exist that can potentially tear or damage the stretch film. If you are wrapping a loading A-Types of pallets, most lighter weight or lower gauge stretch film should suffice.
Type B Loads Are a Little More Difficult
While not as uniform as type A loads. B-Types of pallet loads are relatively even in shape. However, the B-Type load is harder to wrap because it may have jagged and extruding edges. This creates more puncture points for the stretch wrap. Loading and wrapping this type of pallet requires more strategy in stacking the stretch wrapping process.
Type C Pallet Loads Are the Most Difficult
Type-C loads are the least uniform and are riddled with sections with irregular edges and sharp edges that deviate from the general shape. With Type-C loads, no two are ever alike. In addition, the load could be identified as Type C if it is extremely heavy, very light, or has poor weight distribution.
In either case, all of these factors make this type of pallet harder to handle and more unstable. To properly stack and wrap these loads, you will need the strongest, most reliable stretch wrap and packing materials.
How to Load a Pallet Like a Seasoned Pro
Once the bases have been covered, here are a few key tips you can use to properly load your pallet.
Heavy Items Should Go First
One general tip is to always place heavier items on the bottom layer and lighter items on the top layer. This simple step will help you create a more stable base with a lower center of gravity. At the same time, putting heavier items on the bottom will help you avoid crushing less-dense, lighter goods.
Up to But Not Over the Edge
To maximize the pallet density and stability, arrange all boxes in a manner that brings them close to the edge without being over. In addition to stability, this makes stretch wrapping your goods easier while maximizing every square inch of the pallet. However, any goods or boxes that are hanging over the edge of the pallet will compromise stability and are more likely to be damaged.
Laying Boxes, Laying Bricks...Same Thing
If you've never laid bricks, this sentiment may not mean much to you. In either case, you should attempt to stack every box in an overlapping pattern. This process may be more suitable if you are stacking Type A or B loads — where every box is about the same size.
While there are many ways to achieve a stable load, stacking boxes in columns with all of them facing the same direction isn't one of those methods. This faulty method makes it easier for boxes to slide during transit or tip over. And above all, avoid the pyramid shape. In the best case, your pallet should resemble a cubic shape.
Use Stretch Wrap Liberally
The success and security of your pallet hinge on your ability to secure it with straps and stretch wrap. The strap and stretch wrap works together to secure all of the boxes together as a single unit instead of several boxes. If you are wrapping the pallet by hand, start at the bottom corner of your pallet.
Then, start wrapping the boxes from the bottom up. Make sure to include boxes on the bottom row as well as about three inches of your pallet. As you make your way up the pallet, you should wrap every stack twice and overlap about three inches with each row.
Make a similar wrapping motion for the top of the pallet to ensure your load is tight. If you wrap several pallets a day, investing in a stretch wrapping machine and machine stretch film could result in immense time savings. Not ready to invest in a stretch wrapping machine? An excellent alternative is pre-stretch film.
Contact AAA Polymer for the Best Stretch Film
Since 1974, the team at AAA Polymer has been helping businesses, warehouses, and distribution centers. We offer a vast range of different types of stretch films, stretch wraps, can liners, and stretch film recycling backed by decades of experience.
Contact AAA Polymer today.