For a start, pallet optimization happens way before your product is on the pallet: it all starts with a packaging strategy curated for your product.
Mastering the optimization of your pallet load also means to figure which is the ideal pallet configuration for your needs. Your pallet configuration data is composed of: the type and the size of the pallet you are using, the stacking pattern as well as the rotation of layers you will opt for, the type of packaging of your product (boxes or bags) and finally the number of items per row and per pallet. No matter what variable you select for each component, the key is to keep it consistent throughout your line.
Even though this recipe seems quite simple, there are a few dos and don’ts to know to create a perfectly configures pallet.
THE BEST PRACTICES
- Do use pallets that are all the same. Choose a model that you know is accepted by your clients that also fit with your packaging line and stick to it.
- Do choose a pattern style in relations to your product and packaging material. Patterns such as Block or Brick are more suited for cases, as Pinwheel or Tapered stacks are best for bags.
- Do rotate each level at 90 ° when you use a Brick (boxes) or a Pinwheel (bags) pattern. This will provide more steadiness to your load. Rotating or overlapping each layer is a recommended practice.
- Do always aim for the most cubic shape as possible. A pallet that is too high won’t be as secure and might get refused by transporters or potential customers.
THE RISKIER PRACTICES
- If possible, don’t let your product overhang from the sides of the pallet. In addition to decreasing stability, such practice is riskier for handling operations: your items must fit directly on the edges of the pallet. But we understand that it might not always be possible, and that a minimal overhang could be tolerated.
- If possible, don’t allow any pyramidal shape load to leave your plant. If your pallet is pyramidal, you might need to rethink your variables to avoid such form. A robotic palletizer will ease this operation since pallet patterns are stored in preset recipes that will analyze all your data automatically. In the case of bag palletizing, if you do not double our triple stack your pallets in the warehouse or the shipping truck, a certain amount of crowning might help to keep the load from overhanging too much on the pallet.
- Don’t let any unnecessary wide gaps in-between cases or boxes. The only approved spaces will be the ones suggested by a proficient pallet pattern software.
THE IDEAL PALLET PATTERN
Whether it’s for elevating your efficiency, increasing your profit margin or the to respond to clients’ requirements, the benefits of a well-thought pallet pattern are substantial. Operating with the optimal pallet and keeping consistency in the loads you create or work with are now the norm for a tremendous number of industries. Lucky for us, the palletizing process is more and more automated, and many of the big no-noes are now handled effectively.
But modifying pallet patterns or creating new ones can be a struggle if the integrator you chose doesn’t provide the right tool with its palletizer, like a state-of-the-art user interface called “Pattern Expert.” This intuitive and user-friendly interface allows users to modify existing palletizing patterns easily and to create new ones with very accurate positioning. Pattern changeover can be carried out quickly through only one point in the HMI, which makes the operator’s life a lot easier.
Whether you prefer a robotic or a more conventional approach, make sure you always get the perfect pallet configuration for your needs.