Pallets are the secret ingredient for smooth goods transport and logistics. Forklifts and powered pallet trucks can be used with them, making it easy for large loads to be moved around warehouses and stockrooms. Shipping by pallet ensures fast loading and unloading, and standardised sizing cuts down wastage.
Pallets are super versatile – and basically everything you use on a day to day basis has spent some of its life on a pallet.
But how much can you load on a pallet?
Safe operating limits vary based on transport method, storage and the products in question. Loads need to be secured, too – and this often means using pallet covers to maintain stability, or to protect goods from moisture and dust.
UK pallet maximum capacity
A standard UK pallet base measures 1.2m x 1m. It can be loaded to a safe height of 2.2m – provided that the weight does not exceed 1,000kg (unless otherwise advised by your logistics and transportation services).
So, imagine you’re working with an imaginary 3D space that measures 1.2 x 1 x 2.2 metres.
Now, let’s say you have 1,500 boxes of products. Each box weighs 2.5kg, and measures 200 x 300 x 150mm.
On a standard UK pallet, we can fit 4 boxes along and 5 boxes across the base of the pallet (300mm x 4 = 1.2m, 200mm x 5 = 1m). We can stack 14 layers up, to a height of 2.1m (150mm x 14 = 2.1m), leaving a little wiggle room of 100mm at the top.
That makes for a maximum of 280 per pallet.
Dividing the sum total of our boxes (1,500) by the amount we can fit on each pallet (280), we get approximately 5.4 – meaning we’d need to book 5 full pallets and one half pallet for our example shipment to go safely. As for weight, each full pallet load will come in at 700kg – leaving plenty of headroom from the standard maximum weight of 1,000kg.
To work out your own pallet requirements, you’ll first need to:
- Divide the available width (1.2m) by the width of each packaged unit
- Round down to the nearest full number
- Divide the available depth (1m) by the depth of each packaged unit
- Round down to the nearest full number
Once you know how many you can fit on the base, you can then stack this up, dividing the available height (2.2m) by the height of each unit. Round this down to the nearest full number.
Be careful of weight limits. Although 1,000kg is the standard maximum weight, make sure you check with your shipping and logistics service first, and calculate your requirements accordingly.
Okay – now we know how much we can put on a pallet, we’ll need to talk about pallet covers. Simply loading up a pallet isn’t good enough for transport and storage. For safety, multiple units must be bound to keep them together on the pallet, and to avoid uneven, wobbly loads that shift or fall apart when moved.
Conditions won’t always be ideal during transit or storage either, so a dust and moisture barrier must also be applied in most cases.
Heavy and weatherproof loads, like bricks or other external building materials, can be bound with plastic pallet strapping for stability, before being covered with pallet top sheets. Other large, heavy items that need more protection from dust and rain can be bound and then covered with non-shrink polythene pallet covers, which protect the entire pallet load.
But for our example above, where we can fit up to 280 boxes of product on a pallet, binding and pallet covers aren’t the best solution. To secure and protect our shipment, we’ll need to use polythene shrink pallet covers.
These are essentially large, thin polythene bags that cover the whole pallet load. When heat is applied with a heat gun, the polythene shrinks, gripping the load tightly – securing it in place while also protecting the boxes from moisture and dust.
Rolls of polythene sheeting can be used for this, too. Although this method requires a little more manual work, using rolls of polythene film allows you to easily vary the amount you use depending on the size of shipment – making it a versatile alternative to shrink pallet covers.
The pallet wrap professionals
Get custom polythene pallet wraps to compliment your branding. Keep your shipments safe and secure, in transit and in storage. Get a quote now, or call our friendly team on 01773 820415 for advice and help with your pallet covers.