A Guide to Understanding Skids and Their Alternate Names

metal skid

What is a skid also known as?

In today’s fast-paced world, terminology and jargon play a crucial role in ensuring clear communication across various industries. One such term that has garnered attention and curiosity is “skid.” At first glance, it might seem like a simple word, but its implications and applications span across multiple sectors, from logistics to automotive and even aviation.

The term “skid” is not just a word; it’s a representation of how language evolves with time and technology. While in one context it might refer to a wooden platform used for holding and transporting goods, in another, it could denote the loss of traction in a vehicle. Such versatility in meaning underscores the importance of understanding the term in its entirety.
As we delve deeper into the topic, we’ll uncover the origins, uses, and significance of the term “skid” and its various synonyms. Whether you’re a business owner, an industry professional, or simply a curious reader, gaining clarity on this term can offer valuable insights and broaden your knowledge horizon.

Historical Background

Origin and Early Usage

The word “skid” is believed to have originated from Old Norse “skíð,” which means “a stick of wood.” This etymology hints at its primary use as a basic wooden structure.

In ancient times, skids were simple wooden logs or beams. They played a pivotal role in transportation, especially before the invention of the wheel. Goods and heavy objects were placed on these logs, which were then dragged or rolled to their destination.

Skids in the Middle Ages

As trade routes expanded and the need for transporting goods grew, the design of skids evolved. They became more structured, leading to the early versions of what we now recognize as pallets.

Skids were also used in construction, especially in the building of large structures like castles and cathedrals. They facilitated the movement of heavy stones and materials.

Industrial Revolution and Modernization

The Industrial Revolution marked a significant shift in the use and design of skids. With the advent of machinery and advanced transportation methods, skids were reinforced to bear heavier loads and to fit the standardized dimensions of trains and ships.

It was also during this period that the distinction between skids (without bottom deck boards) and pallets (with bottom deck boards) became more pronounced.

Skids in the Automotive and Aviation Context

The 20th century saw the term “skid” being adopted in the automotive industry, referring to instances when vehicles lose traction and slide. This was especially relevant with the rise of motor vehicles and the challenges of road safety.

In aviation, skids found a place in the design of certain aircraft, particularly helicopters, serving as landing gear.

Common Uses and Definitions

Skid as a Wooden Platform

Definition: A skid is often referred to as a flat wooden structure, similar to a pallet but without the bottom deck boards. It’s primarily used for storing, stacking, handling, and transporting goods.

Application: Skids are commonly found in warehouses, factories, and shipping areas. They provide a stable foundation for goods, making it easier to move them with forklifts or other machinery.

Skid in Automotive Terminology

Definition: In the automotive context, a “skid” refers to the action of a vehicle sliding, typically uncontrollably, due to a loss of traction. This can happen on wet roads, icy conditions, or when a driver brakes suddenly.

Application: Understanding skidding is crucial for vehicle safety. Modern cars often come equipped with anti-skid systems or electronic stability control to prevent or mitigate skidding.

Skid in Aviation

Definition:  In the automotive context, a “skid” refers to the action of a vehicle sliding, typically uncontrollably, due to a loss of traction. Instead of wheels, some aircraft use skids to land, slide, and rest on surfaces.

Application: Helicopters, especially those used in rugged terrains or for specific missions, prefer skids as they offer stability and are less prone to damage compared to wheeled landing gear.

Skid in Industrial Machinery

Definition: In certain industries, a “skid” refers to a platform that holds a process system or a set of machinery. These are often used in manufacturing settings.

Application: Skid-mounted systems are prevalent in the oil and gas industry, water treatment plants, and other sectors where modular and movable systems are beneficial.

Other Industry-specific Definitions

In the maritime world, “skidding” refers to moving heavy objects horizontally, especially during shipbuilding processes.

In the world of music, especially with vinyl records, a “skid” can refer to the stylus sliding across the record, causing a disruption in playback.

Synonyms and Alternative Terms


Definition: A flat wooden or plastic structure with both top and bottom deck boards, used to support goods, making them easier to lift, move, and store.

Relation to Skid: While both skids and pallets serve similar purposes in storage and transportation, pallets have bottom deck boards, whereas skids do not.


Definition: A slide, especially one that is unintentional and results in losing one’s balance or grip.Relation to Skid: In the automotive context, both “slip” and “skid” can refer to a vehicle’s loss of traction, though “skid” is more commonly used.


Definition: Move smoothly along a surface while maintaining continuous contact with it.

Relation to Skid: “Slide” can be used interchangeably with “skid” in some contexts, especially when referring to a smooth, uncontrolled movement.


Definition: Move with a smooth, quiet continuous motion.

Relation to Skid: In aviation, especially with aircraft landings, “glide” and “skid” can sometimes be used in similar contexts, though “glide” often has a more controlled connotation.


Definition: A vehicle, typically on runners, for conveying goods or passengers over snow or ice, either by sliding or by being pulled.

Relation to Skid: The term “sled” can be reminiscent of the original use of skids, which were wooden beams or logs used to drag or transport heavy objects.


Definition: Be carried slowly by a current of air or water or move without being in full control, as from the effect of currents, wind, or momentum.

Relation to Skid: In automotive sports, especially in racing, “drift” and “skid” can both refer to controlled and uncontrolled lateral movements of vehicles.


Definition: A flat, shallow container or platform designed for carrying things.

Relation to Skid: In some industries, especially in smaller-scale operations, skids might be referred to as trays, especially when they’re used to hold or transport smaller items.

Importance of Skids in Different Industries

Logistics and Shipping

Role of Skids: Skids serve as foundational platforms for storing and transporting goods. Their flat structure allows for easy stacking, ensuring optimal use of space in warehouses and shipping containers.

Impact: By facilitating the efficient movement of goods, skids play a pivotal role in global trade, ensuring products reach consumers in a timely and cost-effective manner.

Automotive Industry

Role of Skids: Beyond the physical structure, the term “skid” in the automotive context refers to a vehicle’s loss of traction. Understanding and preventing skidding is crucial for vehicle safety.

Impact: Modern vehicles often incorporate anti-skid systems, enhancing road safety. The study of skidding has also influenced tire design, road construction, and driver training programs.


Role of Skids: In aviation, skids are used as a type of landing gear, especially for helicopters. They provide stability during landings and takeoffs.

Impact: Skids allow helicopters to land in diverse terrains, from mountainous regions to dense forests, making them invaluable for rescue missions, military operations, and remote area access

Modern-Day Applications

Advanced Material Skids

Description: With advancements in material science, skids are no longer limited to just wood. Today, they are made from various materials like plastic, metal, and composite materials.

Impact: These materials offer increased durability, and resistance to environmental factors, and can be tailored for specific industry needs, such as anti-static skids for electronics or corrosion-resistant skids for chemical industries.

Smart Skids with IoT Integration

Description: Modern skids can be equipped with IoT (Internet of Things) sensors to monitor the condition of goods, track their location, and even measure environmental factors like temperature and humidity.

Impact: This integration ensures real-time monitoring, enhancing the efficiency of supply chains and ensuring the quality and safety of products during transportation.

Modular Skid Systems

Description: Skid-mounted systems in industries like oil and gas or water treatment have become modular. This means they can be easily assembled, disassembled, and reconfigured based on requirements.

Impact: Modular systems reduce setup times, allow for flexibility in operations, and can be quickly deployed in emergency or temporary scenarios.


In the realm of industrial solutions, Red River emerges as a pioneer, offering a diverse range of custom-engineered products and facilities. Among our specialties is the design and production of Custom/OEM Pressure Vessels, meticulously crafted to meet individual client requirements, ensuring performance under various pressure conditions. Our expertise extends to the domain of prefabrication, where Red River leads with distinction.

The company excels in creating prefabricated facilities, modules, and packages, reinforcing its stance as a forerunner in innovation and quality. This proficiency is further mirrored in their Modular Skids offering, where they provide an array of Modular Fabricated Skid Packages and Packaged equipment. Each piece is tailored to client specifications, underlining their commitment to delivering precision and excellence in every project they undertake.

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Pressure Vessels

Custom/OEM Pressure Vessels designed to fit your needs.

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Red River is a leader in prefabricated facilities, modules and packages.

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Modular Skids

Modular Fabricated Skid Packages and Packaged equipment manufactured to your specifications.


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