For the uninitiated, packaging options can all seem the same. There are, however, pros and cons to different kinds of packaging material and understanding the difference can affect the protection of your product as well as your costs. When it comes to wooden packaging, the question of pallet or skid often arises. Pallets and skids, function differently, are used differently and each has different types of applications that they are better suited for.
A pallet is a horizontal platform that is most often fixed to a superstructure. It has a top and a bottom deck. Pallets can be moved by material handling equipment like forklifts and conveyors to be lifted and placed in storage or transport vehicles. It is the base of a package used for assembling, storing, handling, and transporting products while also providing protection to the products on it. Pallets come in various materials. Although wood is most common, they also come in plastic, corrugated paper, metal, and wood composite. The advantages of wooden pallets are that they are lightweight, durable, cheap, and can be recycled. They can also be made in different sizes. In comparison, plastic pallets are more expensive. However, they are more precise, lightweight, durable, and easier to clean. While exporting, pallets need to be made according to compliance guidelines. Wood pallets can be classified as stringers or blocks. They can also be divided into two-way, four-way, and partial four-way depending on how many directions they can be lifted by pallet trucks and forklifts. Pallets can also be described as reversible and non-reversible depending on whether both the top and bottom can be used as the top deck. Pallet sizes differ by region. North America has the largest size of 48×40 inches whereas European sizes are smaller. Pallets can be customized according to requirements.
The advantages of pallets are:
- Pallets are super stable
- Stand up to all different kinds of palletized products
- Good design can accommodate a variety of weights and sizes
- Easy for a forklift to load and unload
- Easy for a pallet jack to move
- Hold up well to being transported and stored
- More convenient for racking
Disadvantages of Pallets
- Difficult to pull or push
- Mare expensive than skids
A skid is a load platform on runners and other vertical supports that is used as an industrial packaging tool. It can be thought of as a single-faced pallet. Although it is often used interchangeably with pallets, a skid is actually different. It has a top deck but no bottom deck. The runners are also called stringers or foundations. Skids were historically designed before pallets and were used for storing and moving products. They can be made in wood as well as plastic and paper. Skids are sometimes called single deck pallets or nestable pallets. Since they are nestable, skids have the advantage of empty skid stacking efficiency which pallets do not have. They, therefore, have an improved cube efficiency and take up less space than pallets. With their reduced transport and storage costs, skids are more cost-effective. Skids however do have some disadvantages. They can be incompatible with certain conveyors and racking systems. A skid that is non-rackable can compromise safety if stored on storage racks without support decking. Skids also fall short when compared to pallets in strength, durability, and stability especially when it comes to long-term warehouse storage. Skids can be customized to meet specific needs.
Advantages of Skids
- Can be used as a permanent foundation for heavy equipment
- Makes heavy items mobile, and can be pulled or pushed.
- Keeps heavy machinery off the ground.
Disadvantages of Skids
- They lack the stability required for multiple movements
- They are difficult to load and unload when torque is applied
Understanding the difference between a pallet and a skid is important to maintain maximum efficiency in your supply chain. If a package needs to be repeatedly loaded and unloaded, the torque applied by the forklift puts a strain on the base, which would be a pallet or skid. With pallets, the bottom deck can cope with the torque and stabilizes the load. A skid may fail when the same stress is applied as the lack of bottom deck makes the skid less stable. However, skids have their purpose and make an ideal foundation for heavy machinery. They work well for initial transportation and then as a permanent foundation which keeps the product off the ground. They can also be moved when necessary. Skids are cost-effective and are a good option when you need to save on material on products that need to be moved only once. Both pallets and skids are important parts of industrial packaging solutions serving functions best suited to their design. Contact us to talk to us more about pallets or skids in your product packaging requirements.