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    Ben Boughtwood

    What is Load Capacity?

    Pallets, roll containers, plastic containers... Just about every type of load carrier has a load capacity in kilograms. Loading a logistics resource is a crucial factor in our sector. However, the term carrying capacity can refer to several concepts. To avoid confusion and accidents, we list everything.

    In essence, a load capacity is the maximum allowable force that can be applied on a system specified conditions. EPAL euro pallet with a standard size of 1200x800x144mm can bear 4000kg statically, but they can also be loaded dynamically at 1500kg? And did you also know that pallets must be officially tested to have a racking capacity?

    What are the different types of load capacity?

    It is important to distinguish the three types of load capacities that are commonly used in the logistics sector:

    • Static Load Capacity - this is the carrying capacity of a load carrier where it is not moved and is therefore static
    • Dynamic Load Capacity load-carrying capacity - this number indicates the maximum load-carrying capacity of a load carrier that may involve movement
    • Racking Load Capacity - for pallets with skids, one can speak of the load capacity in a rack, where the pallet is in the longitudinal direction in a rack

    In all cases, it is important that there is an equal distribution of the weight on the relevant load carrier. We explain the above load capacities in more detail below so that you know how important these load capacities are in practice.

    What is Static Load Capacity?

    The static carrying capacity is the maximum weight that a load carrier can support where both the load and the load carrier are stationary. For example, this applies when you store goods on pallets in a warehouse.

    The closer to the maximum static load capacity of the pallet, the more important it is that the weight of the load is evenly distributed over the load carrier. This reduces the chance of peak voltage and the chance that the pallet will fail under the pressure of the charge. For example, imagine that the pallet is relatively strong on and around the bobbins, but weaker in between; this applies to both wooden pallets and plastic pallets. When placing heavier loads, it is wise to take extra account of these strengths and weaknesses that are inherent to the type of load carrier you use.

    Euro pallet load carrying capacity euro pallet

    What is Dynamic Load Capacity?

    When there is a dynamic load, for example, when you move a pallet with load by means of a forklift or pallet truck, it is of great importance not to exceed the maximum dynamic load capacity. Due to peak stresses, the maximum dynamic load capacity is often much lower than the maximum static load capacity. Usually, the dynamic load capacity is therefore about 30% to 50% of the static load capacity. Of course, it is also important here that the load pressure is distributed evenly on the pallet.

    With pallets it is wise to distribute the load as evenly as possible over the surface, in the case of multi-storey roll containers, it is wise to place the heaviest items at the bottom. This way, your roll container does not become top-heavy and it remains easy to manoeuvre. Especially with two-sided roll containers that do not have a stabilising rear gate, it is recommended to not place heavy items on the first or even second floor when using shelves, because this can push the roll container out of its context. Most of our roll containers have a dynamic load capacity of up to 500kg. If there are shelves, as with the Danish cart in the picture below right, observe the stated maximum load of the shelf.

    Roll container isothermal anti-theft laundry danish cart

    What is Racking Load Capacity?

    Racking or rack load capacity refers to the load capacity of a pallet when it is placed in a rack specifically intended for pallets. We recommend choosing plastic pallets that consist of one piece. These so-called monoblock pallets consist of one piece thanks to the casting/pressing process and the corresponding mould. This process ensures that no weak spots arise. This is in contrast to wooden pallets which will have natural weak spots due to knots or deformations. Wooden pallets have no racking capacity on because, due to natural differences, it cannot be 100% guaranteed that the maximum racking capacity can be achieved. Experience has shown us that euro pallets are the most commonly used load carriers, often used in racks. In this case, we recommend not to load it to the maximum. This reduces the chance that such natural weaknesses will lead to breaks in the wood or worse.

    IMPORTANT: We strongly recommend that you consult the manufacturer or supplier of the load carrier in case of doubt or uncertainty about (maximum) payloads. In addition, it is wise to (visually) check load carriers before use to verify the soundness of the construction.

    A pallet rack is provided with two sturdy cross beams that carry the pallet at the front and rear (directly or almost directly under the reels). This means that the pallet has no support in the middle. Pallets intended for racking must be specifically approved for this. In addition, these are always equipped with two or more slides to guarantee a certain construction strength and balance. In the image below you can clearly see how the front and back of a pallet are supported by the crossbars of a pallet rack.

    pallet rack racking euro pallet

    The load capacity of a pallet when it is in a rack is logically lower than with a dynamic or static load because the pallet has less support. In many cases, the racking load capacity is a maximum of 50% of the dynamic load capacity. This percentage depends on the material of the pallet (wood or plastic) and how many slides the pallet has. This can vary from 2 to a maximum of 5 slides. The more slides, the less quickly the pallet will sag under a relatively high load.

    Curious about the carrying capacities of various products such as pallets, roll containers and plastic containers? Continue to our catalogue where you can view different products and their load capacities.

    Questions about load capacities or other matters regarding load carriers or the service we offer at Rotomshop UK? Please contact us via [email protected] or 01777 322100. We are happy to assist you!

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