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Reduce The Damage To The Pallet

Dec 28, 2023

Wood Pallet calls it synergy - it plays a key role in working with all series of forklifts, and the combined result is more effective than the sum of the individual components involved. Developments in pallet and unit load handling have greatly improved material handling. The mutually beneficial relationship between forklifts and wooden pallets spans more than 80 years and continues to evolve.

Today, palletizing is the norm in many supply chains. However, logistics professionals continue to strive for opportunities for continuous improvement. When they explored the idea of reducing product and pallet damage, a suitable starting point was the interface between the forklift and the product - the wooden pallet. Due to the widespread use of heavy duty forklift, IC forklift, and other big electric counterbalance forklift, the damage to wooden palleys is increasing day by day, which we must be aware of.



Why is it important to reduce wood pallet damage?

There are several key reasons to eliminate pallet damage. Let's start with security. Bare nails and debris can cut or puncture the skin. More badly damaged pallets can lead to a cargo tipping or a cargo failure - events that can have catastrophic consequences. Broken pallets can damage the cargo on the pallets, and the impact of damaging the pallets can also damage the products they carry.

Damaged pallets can also impede supply chain flow. This factor has become critical as operators find themselves forced to process orders faster than ever before. Pallet damage can unexpectedly interrupt the process and cause unexpected delays.

For example, warehouse workers must reload or double load unit goods on damaged pallets before bringing them into the warehouse or production plant. Damaged pallets can get stuck in material handling systems such as conveyors and pallet shelves, requiring intervention and leading to costly downtime.


How can forklift operators reduce wooden pallet damage?

1. Slow down when the tray enters

It may seem counterintuitive to slow down when speed is needed, but slowing down immediately before entering the pallet will reduce impact damage to the pallet lead plate and similar products, eliminating the need to deal with these issues later.

2. Place the fork accurately

Incorrectly placed forks can cause the fork tip to damage the pallet stringer or the end of the pallet. Take care to enter the tray cleanly. Remove obstacles that make it difficult for forks to enter the pallet horizontally, such as floor debris.

3. Keep the fork level

Make sure the fork is level when lifting the pallet product. If the fork is tilted, the stress on the top deck of the pallet will not be evenly distributed, increasing the likelihood of the plate breaking.

4. Avoid shortforking

Shortforking is an industry term that refers to a fork that does not fully enter the tray. As in the case above, shortforking results in an uneven distribution of weights. Since all of this is borne by the front half of the tray, it increases the chance of damage to the tray.

5. Avoid damage to the bottom plate by correctly placing the pallet truck

If the fork is longer, such as a double pallet truck, a mark on the fork will help. The operator can use the marker to quickly determine if the fork is positioned correctly. This technique eliminates the risk of the load wheels resting on the bottom deck and damaging them while lifting the forks.

6. Skip the hump tray

A common cause of lead plate damage is an operator coming into contact with a row of adjacent unit loads before fully lowering them. One good practice is to lower the pallet immediately before placing it next to another unit load. When a pallet rides on top of an adjacent pallet lead plate while descending, it can damage the lead plate.

Look at your warehouse floor. Let's say you see a lot of longer pieces on the floor. In this case, the forklift operator is likely to lower the pallet after contact rather than beforehand.

7. Don't push pallets on the warehouse floor

It is still common to push or push piles of pallets or unit cargo with a forklift. It is seen as a time-saving technique - moving multiple unit loads instead of one. However, this method can damage forklifts and pallet decks.

Pushing the object (through a forklift) puts a higher load on the drivetrain than it was designed for. In addition, the inertia used to push can exert a higher peak force than it should handle. All of this can significantly shorten the service life of the gearbox.

Dodging pallets are also a safety risk. If an operator's view is blocked by a unit load being pushed, they may not be able to see other workers or equipment. In addition, if a bulldozer's load gets stuck in the floor, it can tip over and cause injury and damage.

Paying attention to the way the forklift operates can help your company minimize pallet damage, as well as damage to products and other equipment. Better forklift practices can reduce your pallet repair and replacement costs and, importantly, better protect the people working near the pallets.

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