What are Steel Stillages and What Are They Used For?
If you happen to own a pub and it also happens to be one that has maintained the traditional practice of providing, at least some of its ale, in old-fashioned wooden casks, you will be aware that, to deliver their contents, the casks must be positioned horizontally. To ensure the casks are secured rigidly in this position during use, it requires the use of special supports known as steel stillages. For those who are involved in the storage business, however, the same term is used to refer to a variety of different structures, albeit with much the same basic function.
Made mostly from either wood or metal but, more recently, from durable plastics, these devices are designed to hold stored goods in a manner that ensures they remain clear of the ground. Similar to a pallet, these units may have a cage-like enclosure or be fitted with solid sides, so as to prevent their contents from falling out. More to the point, steel stillages are available in a variety of different designs, each customised to cope with a specific type of storage requirement. For example, when constructed in the form of an A-Frame, they are widely used to secure sheets of glass, so as to reduce the risk of cracking whilst they are being transported.
In practice, some are not that different from conventional storage pallets, and one type differs from them only because of the addition of a short leg and a tall post in each corner. The added features mean that these steel post-pallet stillages can be stacked without the need to rely on special pallet racking. The posts serve to prevent any pressure on the contents of lower units by those positioned above them, while the short legs provide access for the forks of a forklift. Where there is sufficient floor space some units could be fitted with castors This will enable them to be wheeled around manually which could also help to reduce the need for forklift operators.
As mentioned earlier, these units can be built to meet specific requirements. Among the examples of purpose-designed steel, stillages are those used in the construction industry for the transportation of scaffolding or in warehouses to store items with rounded profiles, such as plastc or aluminium extrusions, which may need to be supported upright, but are less fragile than the glass sheets to be secured with an A-frame. Other units that resemble large metal boxes are sometimes used in warehouses or in stockrooms as storage bins in which to collect materials for recycling.
Overall, these structures provide a flexible and sage means to store and transport goods within a warehouse. The fact that they are often stackable means steel stillages also tend to take up less space than other types of container. Some may even be fitted with drop-down fronts, so that their contents can still be removed quite easily even when the containers are stacked.
In practice, the wide variety of this simple yet highly practical alternative to conventional pallets offers warehouse owners a versatile and inexpensive storage solution in certain situations. As a result, steel stillages will often prove to be the preferred storage option.