Shipping your product and having it arrive at its destination undamaged is a top priority. Damage during shipping isn’t uncommon but can be minimized by ensuring your corrugated boxes are stacked correctly on each pallet.
Column stacking is the preferred method for stacking boxes on a pallet because the weight is distributed evenly at the strongest point (corners) of each box. This allows it to maintain 100 percent of the cartons compression strength. If you are concerned about the units stability, you can use slip sheets between the layers and/or shrink-wrap the fully stacked pallet.
Many organizations stack corrugated boxes in an interlocking fashion thinking the load will be more stable. This pattern is only effective if the contents of the box are rigid enough to offer support or the boxes contents fill the box completely adding to the support of the stack. With interlock stacking, the weight is unevenly distributed at the weakest point of each carton and two-thirds of the stacking strength is concentrated at the corners of the box. With interlock stacking, the strongest part of the upper box (corner) is on top of the weakest part (side) of the box below it, dramatically reducing strength. If not done properly, this stacking method may result in loss of up to 50 percent of a load’s stacking strength and individual box damage may be even higher.
Another thing to consider when stacking your cartons is pallet overhang. If your boxes overhang the edges of the pallet, the pallet will not able to support the load of the stack and become more unstable. However, overhanging at the outer edges is not the only consideration. Wood pallets typically have a 1–3-inch gap between deck boards. If the edge of your corrugated box rests in between the deck boards, there is no support and you will also lose stacking strength. If you can’t place boxes without the edges overhanging between the slats, cover the pallet deck with plywood or corrugated sheets. An overhang can reduce compression strength by up to 32 percent.
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Packaging Design uses TOPS, a leading software, for product stacking. We can help you find the most effective stacking configuration for your load.
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