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Pallet stability is essential for transport safety, both for the products being transported and for everyone involved in the distribution cycle. Beyond the importance of safety, an unstable unit load is also a cause of unnecessary costs and logistical inefficiencies.

For this reason, Safe Load Testing Technologies provides companies with the appropriate machines and tools to achieve load stability in palletized units, allowing them to analyze and study packaging systems through their own testing methods or following the test protocols of international associations.

What is pallet stability

Pallet stability refers to the capacity of a palletized load to stay intact and upright, meaning stable, when subjected to forces encountered throughout the distribution process. Such forces encompass acceleration, braking (deceleration) in transit, and movements from forklift handling.

Achieving this load stability depends on the design of the correct palletizing system. Both the stretch wrapping machine and the amount and type of stretch film used play a crucial role in this design. In addition, the requirements of the product to be transported must always be taken into account.

For example, palletizing glass bottles should follow a different protocol than designing a system for transporting computers, depending on the fragility of the product. Then, through the appropriate testing methods, it is possible to test the designed system and validate it before it goes into the actual distribution cycle.

Pallet stability is important for producers for three reasons:

  • Preventing Product Loss: Unstable pallets may lead to product damage or accidents during forklift operations, resulting in product wastage and financial losses.
  • Enhanced Safety Measures: Unsecured cargo poses risks to those handling storage and transportation, contributing to approximately 25% of truck-related accidents due to shifting loads.
  • Stability Equals Cost Efficiency: Maintaining pallet stability not only minimizes product loss but also reduces the likelihood of penalties associated with improper loading and cargo stability, leading to significant cost savings for businesses.

Problems with Keeping Pallets Stable

Pallet stability often depends on how things are placed on the pallet, how heavy they are, and what kind of wrap is used (like stretch film).

It’s important to pick the right wrap because it can cause problems:

  • Uneven Shrink Film Edges: If the edges of the shrink film (which wraps and holds the products on the pallet) aren’t even, it can be hard to unwrap. This makes wrapping it smoothly difficult, and stops it from sealing properly to protect the items.
  • Bad Seals: If the edges are not even, the shrink film might not seal right. This can also happen if the film is not good quality (doesn’t shrink right with heat) or if it’s not put on right, which may mean fixing the sealing machine.
  • Shrink Film Sticking: Sometimes, shrink film layers stick to each other, which makes it hard to use right. This can happen if the film is kept in too hot a place.
  • Using Stretch Wrap Right: Using the correct amount of stretch wrap is key for keeping things stable. Using too much or too little can damage the items.

Pallet stability: important aspects to consider

As mentioned above, it is not only the choice of packaging material that is important. There are other aspects to be taken into account to ensure that palletized unit loads remain stable during transportation and storage, such as:

Pallet Utilization: To ensure stability, the load should be distributed evenly across the entire pallet, as leaving unused space can cause the products to shift and become unstable.

Pallet Stacking Pattern: Stability can be achieved by selecting an appropriate stacking pattern on the pallet. For pallets not intended for stacking, an interlocking pattern (similar to a brick wall) is advised. This arrangement provides better resistance to side movements.

Stacking Height: Higher stacks increase the risk of movement due to dynamic forces, complicating pallet stability. It’s important to determine the ideal stacking height for the palletizing system. A safe height is one that allows the forklift driver to see over or around the pallet while operating.

Testing methods to achieve pallet stability

To ensure that the design of a palletizing system is safe, it must be subjected to various transport simulation tests before being put into the actual distribution cycle. Testing methods confirm that the method of wrapping, the amount of shrink film, the height chosen and the use and pattern of placement on the pallet are appropriate.

Ultimately, testing methods provide companies with information on how the palletized load will react to contingencies in the distribution cycle and verify that pallet stability has been achieved. In this context, there are two test methods directly related to load stability; Eumos 40509 and EN 12195.

EUMOS 40509: 2020

EUMOS 40509-2020 is a standard that describes a test method for analyzing load stiffness. For this purpose, dynamic horizontal forces or accelerations are applied to evaluate how the palletized unit reacts and to examine its stability.

This is a standard included in European legislation (Directive 2014/47/EU) that seeks to improve safety in road transport. To learn more, download our free ebook ‘40509: everything you need to know about the new 2020 version’

To carry out the EUMOS 40509: 2020 test method, Safe Load Testing Technologies has designed two simulation systems: the Horizontal Stability Tester system and the new Boomerang Horizontal Stability Tester.

EN 12195

EN 12195 proposes a standard for load securing devices on road vehicles. By applying the calculations proposed in the standard, road transport companies can design a suitable load securing system. For this purpose, the standard defines several coefficients and formulas to be used, as well as different reference tables for subsequent calculations.

Among the procedures described in this standard are blocking, lashing and various combinations of both methods, so that the load is secured to the surface of the vehicle. It is intended, in any case, for the design of stowage methods for vehicles with a total weight of more than 3,500 kg.

Later, it is possible to test the selected load securing system, for example, using the innTilt system. This tool allows companies to perform tilt tests to evaluate the stability of the load.

Testing solutions for pallet stability

The innSlide family

Safe Load Testing Technologies has two solutions for horizontal stability testing.

  • On the one hand, the Horizontal Stability Tester system is an advanced solution for simulating horizontal accelerations and decelerations of unit loads during transport.

This equipment is in line with major international standards such as EUMOS 40509 and U.S. FMCSA load safety requirements. Among its capabilities is the ability to adjust the stroke length according to the company’s needs.

  • On the other hand, the Boomerang Stability Tester is the world’s most compact acceleration tester, its small size being the main difference with the Horizontal Stability Tester system.

This equipment is mainly oriented to meet standards such as EUMOS 40509 and the load safety requirements of the US FMCSA. Thus, it is an innovative patented test method that aims to obtain the same results as the Horizontal Stability Tester system in less than half a run.

Horizontal Stability Tester

Boomerang Stability Tester

Both systems are equipped as standard with the innVision ST system, which includes a high-speed camera and software to measure the load deformation of the unit. This system, after data capture, generates a results report useful for verifying pallet stability.

In addition, it is possible to install the most advanced system, innVision Pro, which incorporates a high-speed machine vision camera capable of measuring load deformation in real time and generating reports automatically.

The innTilt family

Available in 2 transportable models: TLE and TL. Both with a maximum inclination angle of 30%, they are an electrical solution that allows the testing of loads up to 1,500 kg (3,306 lb).

The Tilt Testing Tool simulation machine is specifically designed to perform the tilt test in order to evaluate the stability of the load. In this way, companies have access to a tool for quality control, validation and packaging optimization, since repeatability is guaranteed.

Tilt machine – TLE1500

Tilt Tool – TL500

Do you want to know more about how to improve the pallet stability of your loads?

At Safe Load Testing Technologies we put our two decades of experience at the forefront of transport simulation and testing at the service of our customers, looking for solutions adapted to their needs.

Contact us and let’s talk about how we can help you achieve stable, safe and economically efficient unit loads.

Explore the essentials of load stability with our eBook, ‘Load Stability Guide: The 6 Most Used Methods’. It’s a concise yet comprehensive resource, providing key insights and techniques to enhance your packaging strategies, perfectly complementing your use of InnSlide and InnTilt machines for mastering load stability