Transit Packaging is a term that covers equipment that is used to carry distribution boxes. Transit packaging may consist of dollies, pallets, roll pallets and slip sheets.
Crates that are designed to ship bulk loads are also grouped as transit packaging.
Examples of Transit Packaging
- Padded Protective Shrouds
- Distribution Crates
- These can be made of plastic or wood. Products are packed into crates (or trays) by the product supplier. They are distributed and at their destination are emptied and made ready for collection. They are distributed back to source, ready to be re-filled with product. And so the cycle continues.
- They can be washed at a mid-point in the cycle. Wash frequency may vary from none, to every trip (for food for example).
- Distribution Dollies
- Also known as a “skate”. These are 4-wheeled, flat topped and generally with no sides. Dollies are usually designed to carry particular crates, either stacked in single stacks or multiple stacked – typically 2 stacks. They are generally plastic or metal, or a mixture of both.
- Imagine a dolly, but with only 2 wheels which have just a few millimetres clearance. They can be pulled along by lifting the non-wheeled end and, when at rest they are virtually as stable as a traditional pallet.
- Insulated Roll Cage Shrouds
- Roll cage insulation covers protect goods in alien temperature environments. They are used in temperature controlled distribution as a way of maintaining protection throughout the supply chain.
- Insulated Pallet Shroud
- Using the same material and principle of Roll Cage Shrouds (above), the pallet insulation cover completely shrouds the pallet load (including underneath if required) and can be adjusted vertically to cope with different pallet load heights.
- A universally recognised method of carrying most types of goods. There are thought to be around 2 billion pallets in circulation worldwide and as many as 90 million in the UK alone (source: Brighton & Hove Wood Recycling Project). They come in various sizes and are commonly made of wood and increasingly made of plastic. Pallets are often pooled, either owned by a dedicated pooling operator or by one of the main users.
- Roll Cages
- Traditionally built from steel, this is like a dolly, but with 2, 3 or 4 sides. Cages are more likely to be owned and operated by one company, but pooling is very common. As the unit cost can be quite high, some companies sell them and lease them back in order to release funds.
- Used for liquids and powder, usually plastic, occasionally metal or wood. Some will be lined.
- Slip Sheets
- Thick corrugated, solid fibre or plastic sheet that sits underneath stacks of shrink wrapped product. The top of the slip sheet has a high coefficient of friction allowing it the grip the products loaded onto it. The underneath is the opposite with a much lower coefficient of friction.
- Each sheet has one to four tabs that run the length of the sheet and extend past the load and fold up to allow for grabbing by push/pull attachments. A specialised fitting on a forklift allows the sheets to be gripped and pulled on to the forklift tines.
- Unlike pallets, slip sheets take up very little space. They are also very low cost compared to other carriers. However, investment has to made in the fork lift truck attachment and in staff training not just by the sender of goods, but by the receiver as well. Slip sheets may be designed to be used once or may be designed to be re-usable (typically up to 10 times). Some plastic slip sheets may be designed to be easily recycled into new slip sheets.
- Factory Tote
- Generally confined to one location and are used for picking, conveyor and short-term storage operations. These would usually be made of plastic.
- Fibreboard/Wooden Carton
- Boxes made of more perishable materials such as fibreboard can be used more than once. In fact, this is a very common practice in many industries and can be very cost effective.
- The great advantage of this type of packaging is that it can be low cost and can be made to measure. Of course, this advantage can be lost if the goods the box is re-used for are not the ones the box was designed for.