8 Crucial Tips for Safe & Proper Pallet Packing
No one wants to receive a package in poor or even just okay condition. The goal of shipping workers across the industry is to do as much as possible to preserve and protect shipments. Success is not always guaranteed, especially once the carrier takes the package out of the shipping company’s hands. Still, with smart practices and plenty of preparation, it becomes much more likely.
Pallet shippers face their unique challenges. When they stack container after container atop a construct of wooden boards, they must be careful and considerate. Here are eight pearls of wisdom for top-notch pallet packing.
Fill the Entire Container
One of the greatest threats to the condition of any shipped item is space. Even a little bit of space between an item and the container’s walls leaves room for it to get bumped around during transportation. Too much jostling can leave it banged up, scratched, chipped, or otherwise damaged.
Whenever you place something inside a container for shipping, you should also include cushioning materials. Each type may be better for certain goods than others, but anything is better than nothing at all. We grant that this advice is not specific to pallet packing, but any shipping worker would be wise to remember.
Distribute the Weight Carefully
The packages slated for a single pallet may span a wide range of weights, from small boxes to enormous cardboard slabs. They should not be stacked at random for the same reason that grocery items should not be bagged at random. If you place a loaf of bread or a bunch of bananas under a jug of milk, they can get crushed or bruised.
In both cases, one should place the heaviest items at the bottom and decrease the weight with each additional layer. Try to keep the distribution as even as possible. At the same time, you should try to maintain a manageable shape for the pile so it can be easily shrink-wrapped later.
Remember the Pallet’s Weight Limit
While we are on the subject of weight, it is often tempting to put as many packages on one pallet as possible. In theory, the approach allows for more goods to be transported quicker. In practice, though, one should be careful. Pallets can only hold so much weight before snapping.
As you allocate packages to pallets, remember that these platforms can usually hold up to a few thousand pounds. Remember also that forklifts are limited in how much they can carry. Much of proper pallet packing is being considerate towards the workers at the other end of the shipping process.
Avoid Any Overhang
Roller coaster operators often warn riders to keep their arms, feet, and legs inside the vehicle at all times. They set up this rule so no one injures their limbs and appendages as the train makes its steep drops and hairpin turns. The overhang can be dangerous and damaging to your health in these situations.
The same holds for pallet packing. As you stack packages atop the platform, you must make sure that nothing in the heap sticks out beyond the pallet’s borders. Boxes can get bumped or scratched because of overhang. If the section gets caught in anything, the whole pallet may come crashing down.
Add Cardboard and Corner Beads
When you have plenty of cardboard strewn around the work area, you might as well put it to good use. Many seasoned pallet shippers place a sheet of cardboard between every few layers of containers. The soft material decreases abrasion without adding much weight.
Speaking of cardboard, corner beads made from that material are also useful for protecting the pallet. They reinforce each corner of the pallet, providing additional strength — especially when the whole pile and pallet are shrink-wrapped. We highly recommend using both to prevent any of the containers from falling out or getting damaged during the transportation process.
Shrink Wrap the Pallets
Arguably the most crucial step in the whole pallet packing process is the shrink wrap stage. This plastic film clings tightly to the exterior surfaces of the package stack. If you wrap enough of it around everything, it will stick together into one great mass that is much easier to handle and transport.
You should wrap the pallet as well so that it grips onto the shrink-wrapped pile above it. With that said, do not be overenthusiastic as you apply it. If you cover the holes on the pallet, forklift operators will not be able to insert the forks and haul the platform. Make sure to leave room for them. They will thank you for your courtesy.
Apply Plenty of Shrink Wrap
Applying enough shrink wrap is not safe enough. One layer is fine, but it could fall away or get yanked off from the rigors of the shipping process. Two layers are an improvement, and five is even better. There is no need to be thrifty when it comes to this material: using that much for each pallet is a substantial safety boost.
If you want to do an even better job, we also recommend twisting the shrink wrap with every few spins around the stack. It adds pressure to the layers of shrink wrap below, which brings even greater reinforcement and protection. Little techniques like this can have a tremendously positive effect on the quality of the packages.
Use High-Quality Products for Proper Pallet Packing
The biggest mistake that anyone can make during pallet packing is using low-quality products. The boxes you pick for shipping items should be well-constructed with sturdy materials. The tape and wraps you choose should be strong enough to properly handle great weights.
When you need high-quality products, you should turn to a reliable resource. Here at Tigerpak, we can be a one-stop online shop for all your pallet packing and shipping needs. Every item in our store is made with the best practices and materials, and we can supply them to you at bulk prices and with great speed. Shop with us today and see our excellent quality standards for yourself.