When you rely on air shipping to transport your goods, you want to make sure every product you send arrives at its destination safely. In many cases, product protection and successful shipping operations start at your warehouse. The way you pack products, stack products, and wrap loads influences the stability of your goods as they move through your supply chain.
There are several tips and best practices you can establish in your warehouse to avoid common packaging mishaps and find greater success when transporting goods via airfreight. Keep an eye out for these mistakes to avoid when shipping airfreight pallets.
Overloading Your Pallet
As with any kind of product transportation, it’s important to pay attention to how you stack your products on the pallet. Improper product stacking can create unbalanced, unstable loads that are more likely to fall apart or experience damage during shipping. Palletizing mistakes can also lead to accidents with forklift operators and other employees throughout the supply chain.
When stacking pallets for shipping via airfreight, make sure you avoid two major mistakes: overpacked pallets and overhanging pallets.
Avoid Overpacked Pallets
Overpacking is one of the most expensive mistakes you can make when shipping airfreight pallets. Your carrier calculates shipping costs based on the size of each pallet load. Most carriers measure both the weight and the volume of the shipment, then charge for whichever is higher. As a result, larger and heavier pallets are far more expensive to ship than lighter ones.
You can’t always avoid sending heavier shipments, but you can optimize your palletizing and pallet wrapping processes to ensure your product loads are never bigger than they need to be. Don’t waste supplies and money on excess packing and other product protection materials. Instead, carefully wrap the loads with the right amount of containment force with semi-automatic or automatic stretch wrap machines that deliver greater pre-stretch with your stretch film. These steps will help you avoid wasting materials and increasing your shipping costs.
Avoid Pallet Overhang
Pallet overhang occurs when your products extend over the edges of the pallets. To avoid pallet overhang, you have to find a balance between making the most of every inch of space in each pallet load and overloading pallets to the point of danger.
When boxes and goods hang over the edge of the pallet, they create danger for both products and employees. Pallet overhang creates uneven sides that can cause accidents while loading or unloading pallets. Overhanging goods are also less protected than those that sit securely within the boundaries of the pallet.
Two main problems that stem from overhanging pallets are structural stress and exposure to impact. In the case of structural stress, an overhanging box exerts force on the opposite edge of the pallet. The overhanging product itself also suffers stress on its side. Because the product wasn’t designed to sustain force on that side, this can lead to collapsed boxes, broken packaging, and other damage that compromises products.
Exposure to impact refers to the increased risk of employees hitting or bumping into the overhanging products. This can happen as employees walk around pallets, during forklift transportation, or even as the pallet shifts and moves during transit.
Letting Goods Hang Beneath the Top Deck Board
Another thing to keep in mind when building pallet loads is to keep the deck boards of the pallet clear. When goods fall below the top deck board, it means they cover the opening where the forks of a forklift are supposed to go.
It doesn’t matter if this happens while the pallet is stationary. However, as soon as employees need to lift or move those pallets with a forklift, the products that have fallen down are going to be in the way. This can lead to operators accidentally crushing products or tearing parts of the packaging with their forklifts. Moreover, goods that slip through the top deck board become unstable and can ruin the structural integrity of your entire product load.
How do you avoid this issue? There are a few tips to remember. First, be mindful of the gaps in the pallet’s top deck board. If this is a reoccurring issue, you might want to switch to pallets that have narrower spaces that make it harder for products to fall through. Second, take care when stacking pallets to avoid placing the edges or corners of products directly over the spaces in the deck board. This will make it more difficult for products to fall through, even as they vibrate and shift during transit.
Using the Wrong Pallet
It’s easy to think that a pallet is just a pallet. After all, there are plenty of other details in your packaging process that demand your attention. However, the type of pallet you use has a major effect on the success of every product load.
When comparing pallet options, think about the characteristics that will prove most valuable for your specific supply chain. Do you need to prioritize durability so your pallets can hold heavier shipments? If so, you probably want to choose pallets with a bottom deck board that provides greater strength and structural support. It’s also a good idea to look for four-way pallets that operators can pick up from any side. This makes it easier to access and maneuver your pallets, even in the tight spaces of airfreight carriers.
Relying on Inconsistent Pallet Wrapping
Smart and consistent stretch wrapping processes are key to making sure every pallet that enters your supply chain is secure, stable, and safe. That’s why many businesses invest in semi-automatic or automatic stretch wrapping solutions to ensure a stable load every time. Features like better pre-stretch and programmable multi-level variable containment force give you complete control over your pallet wrapping process. This helps you create a strong and precise containment force that holds product loads together and prevents accidents throughout the supply chain.
Protect Your Airfreight With Robopac USA Wrapping Solutions
When you need to create safe and dependable product loads, turn to the semi-automatic and automatic solutions available at Robopac USA. Our expert team will help you find the ideal solutions for your product stacking and wrapping workflows. Visit us today to learn more about our stretch wrap turntables and other advanced automatic and semi-automatic solutions.