What is a Skid?
A skid is generally a platform on runner or other vertical support, like a skid foundation. Skid is also called pallet many a times for load platforms utilized in material handling and logistics applications. The specific characteristics of skid make them suitable for professional use. As far as design goes, a pallet is considered as a load platform that has a bottom deck or face, while a skid has a top deck but no bottom deck. Nestable skid is often called nestable pallet. The skids are also called as single deck pallets.
History of Skids in Material Handling
In 1930s, the double-faced pallet were emerged and before that period, skids or sleds were utilized in industry to store and move materials.
These devices had a wooden deck and vertical legs made from metal like steel or iron, or wooden stringers.
The history of skids for material handling dates back to several hundred years, to the time when these were utilized for skiding or sleding material over terrain.
Skids or platforms used in early 20th Century lack the support in the center. These were lifted by lift trucks with just single lift platform.
A significant advantage was provided by developing pallet forks and pallets with a center stringer. This center stringer addition reduced the span between supports. Thinner deckboard provided needed stiffness.
The bottom pallet deck addition allowed stacking of pallets and improvement in space utilization in depots and factories.
In the Second World War, the use of skids and sleds were done for the purpose of pulling supplies over contested beaches during battle, with a rope attached to a vehicle. While double faced pallets were used for the distribution.
The Modern Day Skid
The modern skids include wooden pallets without a bottom deck or nestable pallets. Such skids also include Litco presswood pallets and plastic distribution pallets. The nestable pallets have improved cube efficiency. These pallets take up less space compared to empty and stacked. Compared to double-faced pallets, nestable pallets incurs lesser transportation cost. These pallets because of their requirement for less storage space, is ideal for both, shipper and receiver. The new designs are being introduced to eliminate the limitations, like incompatibility with conveyors and racking. Some new designs have enough bottom coverage to be conveyable, while some have bottom decks that can be affixed after shipment. This gives the double advantages of nestability and performance. Although these new design pallets are lesser to be found. Nestable pallets are successfully racked when used in combination with wire mesh decking.
It is necessary that personnel handling these pallets must be trained and get informed of the limitations of specific types of pallets to ensure pallet safety. As placing non-rackable pallets in storage racks without decking could have dangerous repercussions. Therefore, material handling personnel must be aware of the performance rating of the pallet they handle.