Earthquakes, Pallet Damage, and Stretch Wrapping

Posted by Paul Stewart

If you've never been in an earthquake you would be amazed at how much damage 30 seconds of vibration can do. Even relatively short and mild earthquakes can cause serious damage.

pallet-damage-earthquake.jpgIt might not seem like it, but your pallet loads experience something very much like an earthquake during shipping. The vibration and motion inside of trucks and shipping containers looks very similar to that of an earthquake. Of course a shipping container's motion isn't as violent or destructive as a full blown earthquake, but your pallet loads must survive the vibration from “mini earthquakes” as they ship to your customers – only they last a lot longer than 30 seconds. Check out this video to see what we mean.


How much pallet damage is really caused during shipping?

Ok, we understand that a testing situation can certainly look bad. You might be tempted to watch that video and think, “Sure, but that’s a worst case scenario, right?” And in that video above there are a lot of things that have been done incorrectly that have led to that dramatic mini earthquake. There are steps that could have been taken to try and prevent some of that damage.

But the truth is that conditions during shipment can get bad. Vibrations and jostling do cause billions of dollars’ worth of damage to poorly stretch wrapped pallets.

The waste is obscene:  overflowing landfills, re-handling and reclamation costs, disappointed customers, unnecessary rework, and lower profits - just for starters.

Is there any way to prevent the pallet damage?

As destructive as earthquakes are, there are ways to minimize and prevent some of the damage they can cause. For instance, better engineering, design, and building codes have all dramatically reduced the risk of damage from earthquakes. Likewise, better stretch wrapping can reduce risk of damage to your pallets from mini earthquakes during shipping.

What's the Best Way to Stretch Wrap your Pallet Load?Don’t be victimized by mini earthquakes. Minimize the risk of your loads being damaged from the effects of vibration on their way to your customers. It's not that hard and the benefits are enormous.

Not sure how to stretch wrap properly? Want to improve your stretch wrap game? Watch our free webinar on the best way to stretch wrap your pallet load! 

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 Image Credit: Jorgenson Material Handling

This post was published on March 28, 2017 and updated on December 5, 2018.

Topics: Stretch Wrapping, Product Damage

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