What is a pallet stacker and why do I need one?
Walk into any warehouse, storeroom or factory and you’re likely to see a wide range of machinery, all there to help move stock as quickly and efficiently as possible. If you know you need something to improve your efficiency in both moving and storing your stock, but you’re not quite sure what, the pallet stacker could be just what you’re looking for…
What is a pallet stacker?
A pallet stacker, is an enhanced version of a pallet truck more suitable to stacking pallets and storing loads within high-level areas. (“What’s a pallet truck?” It’s effectively a pair of forks that help you pick up and move pallets at ground level. These trucks are not designed for stacking). Why is a pallet stacker better? Because, as well as moving loads at ground level, it is also capable of lifting pallets of heights up to five metres.
Why choose a pallet stacker?
As well as giving you the ability to move stock to different heights, these stackers are compact, saving you valuable space in the warehouse that can then be used for additional stock. They are also quick and easy to charge when the battery runs out, by simply plugging them into an electric socket using the 13amp 240v plug supplied with the integrated battery and battery charger. We are able to convert the 3 pin plug to work with a 100v supply (additional cost), meaning then can be on hand and ready to go whenever you need them.
Q: What weights can they lift up to? Our range at LLM Handling offers load capacities between 500kg and 1600kg.
Are all stackers equal?
No. There are three types of stacker: manual, semi-electric and electric and what you’re using it for will determine which one you need.
These stackers are controlled manually – in other words, there are no electric controls. Instead, the operator simply pushes the stacker to the required location and then lifts the pallets with a handle or foot pump.
These stackers are the most affordable option and are best suited for occasional use.
Semi Electric Stackers
These stackers are similar to the manual stackers described above but feature an electric lift, removing the need for the physical exertion required by manual stackers. These stackers are a cost effective solution for anyone regularly using a stacker in warehouses, storerooms and light manufacturing facilities.
The most expensive stackers available, these fully electric machines are the best option for medium to heavier use. Moving loads can be done easily and comfortably, with minimal demands on the operator. They are most often seen in busy warehouses – think Amazon, DPD, GSK and Rolls-Royce.
How do I know which one I need?
There are a number of things to consider when choosing your pallet stacker:
- Size of load - What weight will it need to handle? What are the sizes of the pallets you’ll be moving? You need to ensure the stacker you select is up to the job
- Required lift height - Where are you moving the loads to? How high up will the pallets need to go?
- The area you’re using the stacker - Are there any restrictions where you’re planning to use the stacker? Are there overhead obstructions – lights, beams etc? Is there open space to manoeuvre?
- Type of pallet being moved - Are the pallets you’re moving ‘open’ or ‘closed’? This is essential – see below for more details – you need to make sure you have the right type of stacker for your pallets
- Operation - How many lifts are you expecting to do per shift? Is it viable to operate a manual lift in a busy working environment? Will manual operation put unnecessary pressure on those using the stacker?
- Charging - Stackers take eight hours on average to charge, (we suggest overnight charging) so you’ll need to ensure you have the space to do this for that amount of time.
What if I just need to move a few boxes?
If you’re moving boxes, loose materials or drums, you should consider a lightweight stacker. These stackers can lift loads of up to 250kg. Mini stackers are another option; these lift loads via a winch lift. Both of these options provide a flexible mobile platform to work from – they are the perfect solution for very light lifting requirements.
Anything else I should know?
It’s really important to consider the types of pallet you’ll be moving. If the pallet is ‘closed’ – i.e. there are no gaps in the base of the pallets (and most of the pallets in the UK are closed) – then you’ll need a straddle pallet stacker in order to pick them up. This is where the fixed, supporting ‘legs’ of the pallet stacker go around – straddle – the outside of the pallet. However, if you’re dealing with ‘open’ pallets – which most European countries use – then you don’t need the legs to straddle the pallet as they can go directly into the pallet.
The benefit of using a straddle pallet stacker is that it works with both types of pallet. It would be extremely frustrating to order a stacker only to find you can’t use it with the pallets you have.
Do I need a license to operate a pallet stacker?
You don’t need a license to operate any pallet stacker – whether manual or electric. However, there is always a duty or care required to ensure all employees / operators are competent to work with these types of machines.
It’s good working practice to ensure all operators are fully trained to carry out duties safely, competently and efficiently. Many companies provide certificates to demonstrate the training that has been undertaken and specific standards have been met. So, in short, while it’s not legally required, it’s best practice to offer training to all operators to ensure the highest safety measures are in place.
How can LLM help?
At LLM Handling Equipment, we supply an extensive range of manual, semi-electric and electric pallet stackers. We also offer expert advice and guidance on what will best suit your needs – so drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get straight back to you.
LLM Handling Equipment is one of the UK’s leading independent suppliers of materials handling solutions. It was established to provide a superior brand of handing equipment to a broad range of industries including financial services, pharmaceutical, oil and gas and transport. It provides a comprehensive range of mobile scissor lift tables, pallet trucks, pallet stackers, pallet high lifters and scissor lift tables to ensure that whatever you need, they can help you.