It is easy for us in the industry to immediately interpret customer’s needs when it comes to stillages. But the term stillage is really a generic term for any number of different steel pallets, cages and boxes and are commonly a platform to raise stored products off the ground.
If we were talking about the scaffolding industry for example, a stillage would generally be seen as a Steel Post Pallet but could equally describe a Steel Box Pallet. However, in the brewing industry, kegs of beer will generally be carried on a Stillage of a very different kind and would be used to store and tilt the keg ready for use.
I will stick with the main use for the term Stillage. Stillages may be described as Mesh Stillages, Sheet Stillages or Post Stillages. These are all effectively the same in that they will generally hold stored product off the floor, enabling the product to be easily handled by fork lifts, hand pallet trucks or cranes. Stillages may commonly be stacked and it is not unusual for Stillages to be stacked up to six units high. This of course would be dependent on the size and construction of the Stillage and the weight it carries.
Mesh Stillages and Sheet Stillages will retain loose products in that they have meshed or sheeted sides and may be provided with drop down or removable gates.
Post Stillages will generally not have sides. They will have a base framework and fixed or removable corner posts and will be ideal for storing extruded products or lengths of tube or bar materials. The tubes can overhang the ends of the stillage, using the upright posts to retain the contents.
Although there are common sizes for Stillages, many manufacturers will offer bespoke sizes to suit individual customer needs. Common sizes tend to replicate the sizes of standard timber pallets, for example 1200mm x 1000mm and the most common European size 800mm x 1200mm. Europeans have standardised on Stillages they call Gitterboxes, and now commonly also used in this country.
Although some Stillages are not required to be stacked and are used at ground level only, simply to raise the stored product off the floor, most Stillages are designed to be stacked.
It is important that precautions are observed. For example, Stillages should not be stored too close to each other. Most stillages have conical pallet feet and it is important that space is allowed between Stillages to ensure that one foot cannot inadvertently be placed on an adjoining foot. Errors can lead to stacks of Stillages being tipped over.
Manufacturers will design Stillages to suit the weight the users have requested for the Stillage. It is important that Stillages are not overloaded or stacked above the declared safe stack height.
Fork lift driver training in the use and stacking of Stillages is essential to ensure that risk of accidents is minimised.
Another term occasionally heard in the Stillage industry is ‘Stillage Condition’. This does not refer to the actual condition of Stillages. Of course, if a Stillage is damaged, then it should immediately be withdrawn from use pending inspection and repair. It is however a term used by some insurance companies in regard to raising stored product off the floor in order to minimise risk of flood damage. Some insurance policies in areas at risk from flood damage, will insist that products are raised off the floor to a determined height. This is commonly 10cm and the storage height of most Stillages and timber pallets will exceed this.
So, to sum up, Stillages are versatile storage products extensively used in warehousing and manufacturing industries to retain, store and stack products.
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