Image Credit: Rehrig Pacific Company

Slip sheets are unit load support devices used for the handling and transportation of packaged goods. These products are used instead of a pallet for less material costs, lower shipping costs, and less environmental impact.

Slip Sheet v. Pallet

When considering whether to use a slip sheet or pallet, consider the advantages of each. (Ref. [1])

Slip Sheet Advantages:

  • Allows for 12-15% more products in material handling containers
  • Does not require maintenance, but can easily be replaced
  • Significant reduction in material handling costs
  • Decreases loading/unloading time
  • Weighs less than wooden pallets (saving shipping weight)
  • Can be customized to fit any size load
  • Eliminates the need for pallet exchange
  • Reusable and reliable
  • Recyclable (generally)

Pallet Advantages:

  • Provides a greater clearance between the floor and the unit load
  • Does not require special attachments on transportation devices such as a lift truck
  • When used alone they provide more structural support than slip sheets
  • Easily compatible with crane devices
  • No load capacity reduction due to lift truck attachment
  • Less load damage
  • Faster handling

Types

Slip sheets can be designed differently based on the number of lip extensions which interface with the loading device. The two basic types are single lip and multi-lip.

With a single lip, the lip faces the narrow part of the rectangular shaped unit load and the exit door. This maximizes the space utilization and loading and unloading process productivity. In addition, the travel path clearance is minimized as the lip facing the unit load carrier. 

Multi-lip sheet is generally used on a container placed onto a rail car or an ocean delivery vehicle due to the necessary loading/unloading patterns. This allows a loading device to load the slip sheet unit load from one side and another device to unload from another side depending on the number and pattern of the remaining lips.

Sheet Selection Considerations

When selecting slip sheets, industrial buyers should consider different aspects of the application in which it will be used. These include:

  • Size, weight, and dimensions of the load
  • Stabilization method
  • Storage method
  • Type of handling (push-pull) device
  • Frequency of use
  • Environmental conditions

With these factors in mind, the slip sheet product can be selected based on its material type, size, and features.

Materials

With these Slip sheets can be made of a number of different materials. As a general rule, cost is directly proportional to the strength of the sheet material.

  • Metal and metal alloy sheets exhibit high temperature and pressure design capabilities, and are the most capable of handling and stabilizing heavy loading and stresses. Only specialized applications with particularly demanding loads use slip sheets made of metal due to the expensive material costs.
  • Corrugated fiberboard sheets consist of two liner surfaces with a corrugated interior bonded together with adhesive or glue. The advantages of this material are its low cost. one-way use, and ability to be moved by a conveyor or truck with a slip sheet device. The disadvantages of this type are that it is not very durable, moisture resistant, or usable in cold storage areas.
  • Paperboard or solid fiberboard sheets have a high base weight and a high density. They are produced in multiple layers laminated together on a cylindrical machine. This bonding allows the sheet to be used several times and in different temperature environments. The disadvantage of this type is it is not very durable and is not incredibly cheap to purchase.
  • Plastic sheets are thermoplastic or thermoset polymers. including any of numerous organic, synthetic, or processed materials. Plastic provides greater strength than fiberboard and allows for increased usage in cold and humid environments. It is, however, more expensive.

Sizing

Slip sheets are almost always built square to replace standard sizes of pallets. These products that have specified dimensions of length, width, and thickness and in some cases are designed in layers.

Features

Slip sheets can incorporate a number of different features which may be particularly important for certain applications. Sheets can be:

  • Biodegradable
  • Disposable
    Fire retardant
  • Recyclable
  • Returnable or reusable
  • UV or weather resistant
  • Moisture resistant

References

1. NC State University - Slipsheets

2. Astron Slip Sheet