How Do I Determine A Plastic Pallet’s Weight Capacity?
Is your pallet strong enough for the job? In this post, you’ll find pallet capacity explained in plain terms to remove the mystery and uncertainty of finding pallet best suited for your application.
Plastic pallet designs have many variations. The somewhat straightforward wood pallet design, simplified using PDS Pallet Design System software, offers much less design variation / innovation.
Ultimately, the decision making process is similar; always select your pallet design based on the requirements of your specific application.
When choosing a plastic pallet for your application, the manufacturer’s specifications must meet or surpass the cargo weight that is placed on the pallet.
Pallet Load Capacity Ratings
Specific load capacity ratings should be defined in your core requirements. Here are the three most important types of pallet load capacity types to know:
- Dynamic Load Capacity
- Static Load Capacity
- Racking Load Capacity
Understanding the 3 types of pallet load ratings is essential to selecting the proper plastic pallet; read on to learn everything you need to know about each one to master plastic pallet selection.
3 Plastic Pallet Load Ratings – Pallet Capacity Explained
Dynamic Load Capacity
Dynamic Load Capacity is the maximum evenly distributed weight a pallet can hold while being raised by a forklift or hand jack. If your workflow causes you to lift pallets (commonly with fork or jack); consider this your maximum weight capacity.
Tip: Remember, “dynamic” denotes activity or motion.
Pro Tip: This excludes conveyors, unless they lift the pallet upwards.
Static Load Capacity
Static Load Capacity is the measure of weight that the pallet can hold when it is at rest or in a fixed position on an even, level surface (also when stacked). Static Loads do not vary since cargo is static, or at rest.
Tip: Remember, a static pallet is a pallet at rest.
Pro Tip: Don’t get cute! Just because you are stacking individual pallet loads doesn’t mean you’re not exceeding capacity. Remember to calculate your total load based on the total weight your pallet is supporting (including other pallets).
Super Pro Tip: Because dynamic loads are subjected to additional forces, the Static Load Rating is always greater than Dynamic Load Rating.
Racking Load Capacity
Racking Load Capacity is the maximum weight a pallet can hold in a racking system (where the center and or/sides of the pallet is unsupported).
Tip: Think of Racking Load Capacity like a bridge’s weight capacity.
Pro Tip: Treat Racking Load ratings as estimates; variations in racking system designs can cause variations in a pallets working Racking Load Capacity.
Don’t Be That Guy
Don’t go over the maximum rating! Exceeding pallet load capacity ratings can cause the pallet to fail and break, potentially creating seriously undesirable consequences:
- Employee Safety Hazards
- Costly Inventory & Equipment Damage
- Lost productivity
Tip: Keep your pallet specification sheets for reference.
Pro Tip: Don’t have your pallet’s specification sheet? Contact our Plastic Pallet Experts for help.
Read The Fine Print
Follow Pallet Loading Best Practices
A plastic pallet manufacturers calculated performance specifications are based on an evenly distributed load that covers the pallet’s entire top deck surface. If you follow weight distribution best practices, you should be able operate within the manufacturer’s load ratings.
Pallet Loading Mistakes Diminish Load Capacities
Some unit loads can cause the working load capacity to fall below the manufacturer’s load capacity.
Here are some loading missteps that can diminish or confuse a pallet’s working weight capacity:
- Point Loading: Placing a concentrated load at specific point or area of a pallet (picture an engine block placed in the middle of a pallet) that does isn’t uniformly distributed across the pallet deck can cause deflection, pushing the internal deck height below the pallet edge height, diminishing unsupported racking capacity.
- Pallet Stacking: Add It Up! When stacking pallets, be sure to consider the additional load caused by higher stack rows; the total load on lower stack layers is cumulative and continues to tally and include weight from upper pallet layers. Add all weight (pallets and all) that sits on top of a pallet when considering maximum load capacities.
- Box Columns: Stacking boxes in uniform single columns on a pallet can also cause deflection and reduced cargo stability. Inappropriate shrink wrapping and strapping can further allow columns to spread out; a syndrome called “cauliflowering” as box columns spread out like a blooming cauliflower. Cauliflowering can cause pallet edges into the air, further decreasing stability.
Pro Tip: Stack boxes using “brick stacking” or “cross stacking” formations so the cargo moves as unit for more secure transport and minimize point loading.
- Uneven Layers: Uneven cargo layers between pallets are a loading challenge. Layers of loose material stored in sacks can shift during palletization, causing uneven layering that results in stressed, twisted, point loaded pallet decks that may lack sufficient support due to the compromised working load capacity.
Hope that helps! For help in figuring out which plastic pallet is the most cost effective solution for your unit load and material handling environment, contact our friendly Plastic Pallet Experts.
Got a suggestion or question? We’d love to hear from you – what challenges or solutions have you encountered during your material handling adventures?