How you stack and store your pallets is crucial in keeping your products in good condition and ensuring you maintain a safe workplace for your employees. However, the best storage method depends on the type of stock you own, how frequently you need to access it, load weight and available space.
How to determine the best pallet stacking and storage solution
Stacking and storage of loaded pallets
With loaded pallets, the type of stock and when you need to access it is the biggest consideration, particularly if you work with perishable goods, such as pharmaceuticals or food. In these industries, pallets must be stored so that the oldest products are picked first, rather than buried under stock that has arrived after. This is known as a FIFO (first in first out) storage system. The opposite, where pallets are stacked up and the item on top is picked first is referred to as a LIFO system (last in first out).
With loaded pallets, the type of stock and when you need to access it is the biggest consideration.
Pallet racking is the most common option and what people tend to think of when picturing a warehouse. There are many different types, including:
- Single-depth racking.
- Double-depth racking.
- Conveyor belt flow racking.
- Drive-in racking.
Depending on the set up, racking can allow for a FIFO or LIFO system and range from providing individual slots for each pallet, to elaborate automated conveyor belt systems where stock is automatically moved into position.
With this method, loaded pallets are stacked directly on the floor. They're usually stacked on top of each other in small blocks, such as three units high and three wide. Given there's no cost associated with buying, installing and maintaining racking, it's a much cheaper option. However, you cannot get to the pallets at the bottom without moving those on top. Those underneath must also be able to take the weight of the goods on top.
Pallet stacking frames:
Pallet stacking frames allow a similar set up to block stacking but with added weight support. The pallet stacking fits in between each pallet and bears much of the weight so pallets can be stored on top of each other to greater heights than with traditional block stacking.
Stacking and storage for unloaded pallets
Although you don't need to protect whatever's loaded on the pallet, there are still a number of safety considerations when storing unloaded pallets.
- Maximum height: The taller the load, the more dangerous it becomes. A large number of pallets falling from height could cause considerable damage to anyone nearby.
- Pallet sizes: Different types of pallets should be stored separately so that the pile is more stable and less likely to topple.
- Pallet condition: While it may be tempting to hang on to damaged pallets, they are also more likely to cause a weakness in the tower and cause it to collapse. Where damaged pallets have nails sticking out or are splintered, they can cause even more damage if they fall.
- Weather conditions: Wooden pallets in particular are susceptible to mould and mildew if allowed to get wet or stored in damp conditions. This causes problems if they're to be used in industries where hygiene is crucial, such as the pharmaceutical sector.
- Fire risk: Wherever they're stacked, wooden pallets in particular pose a fire risk and your storage arrangements must meet local safety compliance legislation.
With unloaded pallets, some of the concerns that must accounted for come down to the material used as much as the way you store them. It's worth considering the materials available when you're planning your operational needs. Plastic pallets are a particularly good alternative to wood in industries that rely on hygiene, as they're inherently mould and pest resistant. There's also no risk of splinters or loose nails with when using plastic.
Here at Eco Pallets, we have a wide range of plastic pallets that protect your business from some key safety concerns. With a range of sizes, we're bound to have something that works for your business. Speak to our expert team today.