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SLIPSHEETS: GIVING PALLETS THE SLIP

As the material handling industry evolves, one area that continues to grow is the use of slipsheets to transport and handle products rather than the use of traditional pallets. Slipsheets are thin sheets made of plastic, paper, or corrugated material that come in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit a range of needs. Similar to a pallet, they are placed underneath a load and are used to push or pull the load on and off of the forklift’s forks or platens.

Two different types of attachments are typically used to handle slipsheets. The first is a push/pull attachment that clamps onto the sheet and pulls the sheet and product load onto the platens (platens are essentially wider, thinner forks that come in different shapes and sizes). A gripper jaw at the bottom of the faceplate automatically closes at the end of the stroke and opens at the beginning so that only one hydraulic function is needed to grab and release the load using the sheet.

Above: Push/pull attachment engaging with a slipsheet and pulling the load onto the platens (Credit: Cascade Corporation)

Roller forks are a second type of attachment. Just as the name implies, these forks have multiple sets of rollers spanning across them, which help to roll the load up onto the forks. This type of attachment can also be used without slipsheets depending on the type of load.

Regardless of the attachment you’re using, slipsheets are becoming more and more popular as companies start to realize their potential for return on investment. They offer a significant number of advantages over pallets, including:

  1. Initial cost – Purchasing slipsheets costs significantly less than purchasing pallets. Many pallets can cost more than $10 per unit to purchase while slipsheets will only run you approximately $1 apiece.
  2. Storage cost – Due to their very slim nature, slipsheets take up significantly less storage space than pallets.
  3. Transportation cost – Reduced storage space and a lightweight design can greatly reduce transportation costs.
  4. Labor cost – Slipsheets are easily disposed of and require less labor to be picked up or moved around in a facility. They also save your employees a significant amount of time that would be spent floor loading products onto a trailer or off of a pallet.
  5. Environmental Impact – Since most slipsheets are easily recyclable, they are often more environmentally friendly than traditional wooden pallets that often end up in landfills.

Slipsheets are a great alternative to pallets in many applications, particularly for loading and unloading trailers and for general warehousing. They, however, aren’t a practical alternative for all types of applications. Non-homogenous and disproportionate loads aren’t typically ideal for being handled on a slipsheet. Low throughput applications may not be able to justify the return on investment that slipsheets can provide due to high initial cost for the attachment. 

Written by Trinton Castetter, Product Marketing Specialist, Toyota Material Handling, USA

 

Posted by tfinco at 12/6/2018 5:57:00 PM
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