Stacking pallets may seem fairly straightforward, but there are important procedures to follow to ensure safety and efficiency.
The following tips are practical ways to improve safety, both when storing product in your warehouse and when shipping loaded pallets.
They’ll also help you make the most of the space you have in your facility or on vehicles.
1. Mind weight limits
First off, keep in mind that pallets have a specific load limit based on how they were built and the materials used. Exceeding that weight limit could cause damage to the pallet, and that might result in spilled or damaged product. On top of that, it poses a safety hazard to anyone who may be nearby when the pallet fails.
In addition to weight limits for the pallets themselves, consider the equipment that will be used to move those pallets, such as forklifts and pallet jacks. If a loaded pallet is too heavy for your moving equipment, you’ll need to reduce weight by distributing product across more pallets.
2. Stack the heaviest items first
If you have multiple types of items to palletize, you’ll want to start with the heaviest items first. With the large, heavy items at the bottom, the whole stack becomes more stable. On the other hand, a pallet with light product on the bottom and heavier items on top is more likely to spill, and items are likely to get damaged.
This principle of starting with the heaviest items at the bottom is also true for stacking loaded pallets. Heavier loaded pallets should be at the bottom to provide stability, while lighter pallets should be up top.
3. Stack evenly
As you stack with heavier items on the bottom, it’s important to stack evenly as well. The wight should be evenly distributed across the pallet, meaning one end is just as heavy as the other. In addition, the size of the product should also be fairly consistent across the pallet.
Stacked pallets should also have no product protruding from the sides or hanging over the edge. Keeping product back from the edge not only makes the stack more stable, but it also prevents accidents where warehouse personnel or equipment might accidentally bump into an item, causing a spill.
4. Don’t stack too high
Just as there are limits to the weight, you should also mind limits to height as well. A pallet that’s stacked too high is much more likely to topple, especially considering the forces that bands or straps would put on the stack once it’s fully loaded.
Minding the height of a stacked pallet is also important for reasons other than safety. Consider the space you have from floor to ceiling in your warehouse, or the amount of clearance you’d have in a truck. Pallets stacked on shelves need to fit on the shelf, and if they’re stacked too high, you’ll need to unload some of it to another pallet or place it someplace where it might cause workflow issues. For optimum warehouse efficiency, avoid stacking too high.
5. Build a box, not a pyramid
While pyramids are very solid structures, the physics involved in strapping down product would actually make a pyramid-stacked pallet less stable. When stacking your pallets, make a box rather than a pyramid.
Similarly, you’ll want to get the stacked product as close to the edge of the pallet as possible without peeking over, creating the most solid square-ish shape you can manage. Again, this has to do with the physics involved in strapping product down to the pallet. If it’s as square as possible, the straps will keep your product more secure.
6. Treat boxes as bricks
As a final tip, try to stack each pallet as if the boxes were bricks rather than stacking in columns. If each box is rectangular in shape, this is easily done by building a square base as your first layer, then building the next layer rotated at 90°.
If all the boxes you’re stacking on a pallet are perfectly square, it gets a bit more challenging, but the key is to make sure you avoid stacking it in columns since those could easily topple during loading or unloading.
Bonus Tip: Use High-Quality Stacking Pallets
As one final pallet-stacking tip, you’ll have the best results with high-quality stacking pallets. Heat-treated wooden pallets built for large loads are ideal for moving and storing heavy product, and they are designed to last. Click below to get a quote on stacking pallets:
If you have pallets that are worn, cracked, or damaged in any other way, it’s time to replace them. Otherwise, you have a safety hazard as well as a risk to the product you’re handling. For the best pallet stacking results, opt for new, structurally sound pallets.