Stack, Strap and Wrap: How to pack the perfect pallet
At P4D, we’ve made a step-by-step guide with our top tips on getting the most out of your pallet. Packing your pallet correctly is not just about ensuring protection and stability, it’s about getting the most for your money. At P4D, we like to make sending and delivering your pallets as easy as possible, so read on to find out how to pack the perfect pallet.
First things first…
Before you start to pack your pallet, you need to ensure that your pallet itself meets requirements. Don’t worry though, we don’t ask for much. Standard UK and European pallets can carry a maximum weight of 1,000 kg and have a maximum height of 220cm.
You also need to make sure that your pallets are elevated at least 15cm off the ground, so they can be handled by a forklift. Most pallets are made of wood; however, some can be made from plastic, metal or fireboard. We ask that you avoid less reliable materials such as polystyrene and chipboard to avoid breakage. So, remember:
- Maximum weight 1,000 kg.
- Maximum height 220cm.
- Pallet elevated minimum 15cm from ground.
- Avoid weak pallet materials such as polystyrene and chipboard.
Standard shape and boxed items
Pack and Stack
The best way to pack a pallet with standard sized items or box-shaped items? Stack!
Stacking in columns ensures optimum use of space as well as strength and stability. Ensure that surfaces are flat and simply stack your boxes on top of each other in a secure fashion.
Aim for your pallet to have the overall look of a cube, avoid stacking in a way that resembles a pyramid or any other shape. If your pallet is only partially full, find cushioning or padding material to fill the gaps.
If your pallet doesn’t stack properly, it will affect the overall stacking of the pallets as they embark on their journey. This could lead to breakages or damage. It’s also important to avoid your goods hanging over the edge of the pallet.
If you have a particularly large item you can book extra space to accommodate this. Physically, only one pallet can be lifted for transportation, but you can book space on the lorry for the width of two pallets.
What counts as overhang?
Overhang is overhang, whether it is 1cm or 10cm - if your item is not fully contained within the pallet base then it does not fit. Pallet lorries load pallets side by side in rows. If your goods overhang your pallet it means another pallet cannot be slotted in next to it and you will be charged for this extra space or your pallet refused altogether.
If your item overhangs one pallet, you can book space for two pallets to accommodate this. However, pallets are lifted by a forklift, which only has two prongs. This means only one physical pallet can be lifted at a time.The maximum extra space allowance is two pallet widths (2m) and the goods must still sit within the 1.2m depth:
Stack in columns, minimal gaps.
- Fill gaps with padding or packaging materials.
- Ensure flat surfaces.
- Avoid overhang.
- Aim for a rigid unit.
Strap and Wrap
Now that you’ve stacked your pallet correctly, you need to ensure that your goods stay in place. The best way to do this is to strap them using banding either made from steel, nylon or polyester. You can find a banding that best suits your needs, for example if you have a very heavy load then steel would be most appropriate as it is the strongest material. It’s also a good idea to use protector pads for the top and bottom of your pallet to avoid items being crushed when stacked.
Corner and edge boards can also be used for stabilisation, however its best to make a judgement yourself on what level of protection your pallet requires. Heavy rigid items require less protection, whereas soft squashable items will need a little extra thought and care.
Shrink wrapping is also important. You should use thin, stretchy plastic and wrap around your goods in an upwards motion, including the pallet. You should use a minimum of three layers of plastic. So, remember:
- Strap using a banding made of a material appropriate to your goods.
- Protector pads for the top or bottom and corner and edge boards depending on what you are transporting.
- Wrap using thin plastic, minimum three layers. Incorporate the pallet when you wrap.
Labels on the Side – Don’t Hide
Make sure your routing labels are on the side of the pallet load, not the top! We also encourage you to use labels that identify how to handle your freight such as: ‘This Way Up’ and ‘Handle with Care’.
Most items can be transported by pallets either in crates or just through being stacked.
However if you have a specialised item, we’ve gathered our top tips below for packing drums, pipes and reels.
If you have a singular drum, it must be secured as close to the centre of the pallet as possible. If you have a group of drums, they must be arranged in as even a way as possible. You should place a corrugated sheet between the drum and pallet to prevent causing damage or punctures.
Pipes must be bundled together horizontally and tightly secured using strapping to the pallet. You should use materials such as protector pads between each layer as well as corner or edge boards.
Spools and Reels
Spools and reels should be attached to the pallet using steel strapping. You must also use blocking or padding to prevent movement of the spools and reels.
If your item overhangs the pallet and you haven't booked extra space, either your pallet will not be collected at all, resulting in a failed collection charge, or your pallet will be collected and you will be asked to pay a surcharge. Either way, you will need to pay extra for your shipment.
Pallet collections and deliveries are usually made by large 18.5 tonne lorries. This means that access at both the collection and delivery points needs to be suitable for large vehicles. We can request that vehicles have both a tail-lift and pallet truck (pump truck) to help at locations where there is no forklift available.
If you have access issues to either premises, there is the option to request a 7.5 tonne lorry. If you would like this or indeed you have any more questions regarding your pallet packing or pallet delivery, don’t hesitate to contact our customer service team.