Product damage during transportation is exceedingly common. But proper palletization can go a long way toward keeping your products safe and sound during shipping.

Load instability is one reason products may become damaged during transit. Unstable loads can shift around during handling and transit and, in some cases, even collapse, causing crushing damage to the products contained on the pallet. Here are some considerations for pallet load stability so that you can protect your pallets and prevent disastrous product damage.

Pallet Utilization

You want to unitize products on the pallet in the best way possible. Unitizing a load basically means turning a bunch of items into one unit. The more gaps you have between boxes and products on the pallet, the more likely they are to shift during transit, which leads to primary packaging and product damage.

Stack Height

Don’t stack your pallets too high, as this can cause multiple problems. Taller pallets tend to have an uneven center of balance, which puts them at an enhanced risk for instability. Forklift operators may have a hard time seeing over or around the pallet during transportation. This can be hazardous to both the pallet and forklift driver. For most forklifts, a height of 60 inches or less is deemed safe.

Weight Distribution

Weight distribution is an extremely important consideration for pallet load stability because top-heavy and unbalanced pallets are prone to toppling.

For a lower center of gravity and, consequently, a more stable load, distribute your heaviest products evenly around the pallet deck and place lightweight products closer to the top.

Stretch Film

Putting the stretch film on too tightly can crush your products, leading to primary packaging and product damage. Wrapping your products without enough containment force can also allow them to shift during transit, causing damage. To ensure your products arrive at their final destination without damage, it’s important to palletize your products correctly with a reliable palletizer, then use a stretch wrapper with the correct containment force. In some instances, your palletizers may include an integrated stretch wrapper that saves valuable floor space and overall investment costs.

Pallet Pattern

The pallet pattern you use can also affect load stability. A columnar stacking pattern provides better compressive strength, but an interlocked stacking pattern, which is when each new layer has cases turned a different way, will provide more lateral strength and overall stability.

Pallet Weight

Exceeding a pallet’s weight limit can compromise load stability, so ensure your loads aren’t too heavy for the pallet you’re placing them on. Most wood pallets have a capacity of roughly 3,000 pounds. For heavier loads, you’ll need something sturdier and more robust. Certain plastic pallets can handle up to 5,000 pounds.

Want to make sorting, transferring, and stacking cases onto pallets easier? A palletizer machine handles the process automatically, ensuring perfect load stability every time. For state-of-the-art and high-tech secondary packaging machinery, including palletizers and stretch wrappers, shop with Robopac USA today!