When a customer calls and asks for a pallet 1.3m square, little do they realise what affect this will have on their ongoing transport costs. Let me try to guide you through Designing for Transport.
So often, we are asked for unusual sizes of metal pallets and stillages. As we at Avatan Handling Equipment pride ourselves on our ‘Specials are our Standards’ mantra, we will always be happy to manufacture stillages that may be considered out of the ordinary. However, we will take time to discuss each customer’s needs. We will try to ascertain if the benefits of a special sized stillage actually outweigh the disbenefits and ongoing costs.
For example, if the need is for a stillage or pallet to accommodate an area slightly larger than a conventional pallet, but that pallet, once it is delivered to the customer will never again travel by road, then the additional transport cost incurred in the original delivery is never repeated.
However, it that pallet will instead be routinely ferried by vehicle or transported within a shipping container, then minimising the inpact on the remainder of the vehicle space is of paramount importance.
The standard UK trailer generally has an internal length of 13.4m and a width of 2.49m. They can generally accommodate up to 26 standard UK pallets, each 1000mm x 1200mm. Alternatively using Euro Pallets, 800mm x 1200mm, this capacity increases to 32 pallet spaces. Increasing the pallet size only slightly, e.g. 1000mm x 1250mm and the number of pallets the trailer can hold will drop significantly. If the second dimension also exceeds half of the trailer width, you might then be reducing the load capacity by a much larger proportion.
Pictured here are some of Avatan’s rental Postracks. Offset stacked in fives, then stacked 6 units high, with 12 stacks of 30 per trailer, enabling 360 bases to fit on a 13m trailer with a height of 2.5m.
We do this too with Euro 91 Cage Pallets. On a Mega Trailer with a height to accommodate just under 3m, we can fit 288 Euro 91 cages in 32 stacks of 9. It is true to say, in order to do this, the trailer is absolutely laden both from load weight and volume point of view.
I have so far only mentioned 13m trailers. Of course many vehicles on our roads are ‘Rigids’ and will have a much smaller capacity. Many companies run 24′ or 32′ rigid vehicles. Generally these will offer the same internal width as the longer trailers again offering just over 2.4m internal width to accommodate 2 x 1200mm pallets between the curtains. Box trailers generally offer slightly less internal width and height than Tautliners.
This is another area where designing to maximise capacity is important. There is very little flexibility in the internal width of containers as they are built uniformly to fit within strict tolerances onboard ships. Here again, if you are designing your product to fit within a shipping container, design it smaller rather than larger. You will be amazed how difficult it can be to fill and empty a shipping container if tolerances have been maximised. Leave space for manoeuvre or face the risk that your product will be damaged while being loaded or unloaded.
Standard ISO Shipping Containers are 40ft or 20ft long, 8′ wide and 8’6″ high. High Cube containers are also routinely used extending the container height to 9’6″ high. (Other container sizes are available but cannot necessarily be shipped in the same way as standard ISO containers). Do bear in mind that the dimensions given are overall and the internal space is less than this and that the distance between the door framework also eats up space. I re-iterate… design smaller rather than larger and think carefully how you might manoeuvre that last of the load in through the doors.
In short, in designing Pallets and Stillages for use on roads, rail or on the high seas, think carefully about how much space you might gain or lose. Consider what cost advantage or disadvantage these changes will make to you shipping budget.