For most cabinet manufacturers, pallet shipping is the backbone of their supply chain, and with good reason. Pallets are designed for the safe, secure transport of goods. Nothing in shipping is perfect, and despite even the best-designed infrastructure, palletized cargo can be damaged during the shipping journey.
Just like correctly packing boxes, you can take steps to minimize the potential damage from transit by properly preparing your pallets. After all, the last thing you want is your hard work to be damaged at the final step of the process.
Choose the Right Pallet for Your Shipment
By and large, pallets can be purchased in bulk quantities and are reusable for several journeys. Pallets come in various sizes; however, they most commonly measure 40″ by 48″. This size allows 26 single-stacked pallets to fit side-by-side in a standard 53′ trailer.
Some manufacturers opt to use half-sized 40″ by 24″ pallets for in-shop use, as their smaller size allows for increased maneuverability in tighter quarters, and many manufacturers don’t have a lot of space to dedicate to shipping and receiving. However, this smaller size also means reduced carrying capacity, so they are generally considered a less-efficient option for shipping.
Safely Stack Your Goods
The key to properly stacking products on a pallet is to minimize the movement of those products. Using an interlocking brick-stacking pattern can increase the overall stability of the pallet. Furthermore, placing cardboard slip sheets between layers can increase friction and prevent boxes from slipping when the pallet is moved.
All pieces should be stacked by weight, with the heaviest ones at the bottom and the lightest on top. There should be minimal gapping between the boxes to lessen the risk of the wrap loosening and the pallet becoming unstable in transit.
Finally, it is essential to ensure that your cabinets stay within the dimensions of the pallet. 53′ trailers are designed to fit two standard pallets side-by-side with minimal leeway. Beyond that, there is the risk of your pallet collapsing due to overhang.
Stretch wrap is the most commonly used method of securing cargo to a pallet. It is versatile and cost-effective and can accommodate loads over 3000 lbs., depending on the wrap gauge. When wrapping a pallet by hand, it is best practice to tie a short length of the wrap to the bottom of your pallet, pull the wrap tight along each corner as you wrap, and layer the wrap at least twice along each pass around the pallet.
Banding consists of thin strips of either nylon or metal wrapped around the pallet load, which are crimped to secure the load. Nylon banding is best suited for lighter loads consisting of larger boxes or as reinforcement for shrink wrap. On the other hand, metal banding should be used for heavier loads such as countertops or tile. In both instances, banding should be fed through the underside of a pallet when wrapped top-to-bottom.
Strapping is similar to banding but with two notable differences. For one, strapping is made of thicker, reusable nylon straps and a crank ratchet mechanism to cinch the straps. Because of this, strapping can be used for heavier loads than banding. That said, strapping is best suited to secure large or awkward singular objects to pallets, such as crates, pallet boxes, or furniture.
It is recommended to use a minimum of two straps when securing an item to a pallet with strapping and should be fed along the underside to ensure the load is secured correctly.
Brandon Draga is a full-time content writer at Freightcom, the leading shipping solution for businesses in Canada. When Brandon is not writing content to help businesses with their shipping needs, he can be found at local skate parks or writing fantasy novels.