The Skids UK


Introduction to Skids UK

  • Skids, at their core, are a type of platform used for holding and transporting goods. They serve as the foundation for goods, making it easier to move them with equipment like forklifts or cranes. While they might seem like a simple piece of equipment, skids play a pivotal role in various industries, ensuring that products reach their destination safely and efficiently.
    In the UK, the use of skids has a unique history and significance. Given the country’s robust industrial background and its strategic position in global trade, skids have become an integral part of the UK’s supply chain. They facilitate the smooth operation of businesses, from manufacturing plants in Birmingham to retail stores in London.

Historical Background

  • Origin of Skids in the UK Skids, originally made of wood, can trace their roots back to ancient times when they were used as sleds or slides to move heavy objects. However, it was during the Industrial Revolution that their use became more systematic and widespread in the UK. Factories producing goods at an unprecedented scale required a means to transport these goods to various parts of the country and beyond. Skids, with their simple design and functionality, became the solution.
    Evolution Over Time As industries grew and transportation methods advanced, so did the design and materials of skids. The introduction of railways in the UK further emphasized the need for standardized skid sizes to fit within train carriages. By the early 20th century, with the advent of motorized vehicles, metal and later plastic skids began to make an appearance, offering more durability and load-bearing capacity.
    Skids and the World Wars The World Wars, especially the Second World War, played a significant role in highlighting the importance of skids. They were crucial for the rapid and efficient movement of military equipment, supplies, and rations. The wars also led to innovations in skid design to cater to specific military needs.
    Post-War Era and Modern Day Post-war, the UK saw a boom in its manufacturing sector, leading to an increased demand for skids in various industries. Today, skids are not just limited to industrial use. They have found their place in retail, construction, and even in specialized sectors like pharmaceuticals and food processing. Modern skids are more versatile, eco-friendly, and tailored to meet the specific needs of industries.

Types of Skids in the UK

Wooden Skids

  • Overview: Traditionally, wooden skids have been the most common type, primarily due to their cost-effectiveness and easy availability.
  • Advantages: They are robust, offer good load-bearing capacity, and can be repaired or recycled.
  • Applications: Commonly used in manufacturing, warehousing, and agriculture.

Metal Skids

  • Overview: Made primarily of steel or aluminum, metal skids are known for their durability and strength.
  • Advantages: They are resistant to pests, and moisture, and can handle heavier loads than their wooden counterparts. They also have a longer lifespan.
  • Applications: Predominantly found in heavy industries, automotive sectors, and where goods are exposed to harsh conditions.

Plastic Skids

  • Overview: Emerging as a modern alternative, plastic skids are lightweight and versatile.
  • Advantages: They are resistant to moisture, chemicals, and pests. Being easily cleanable, they are ideal for industries requiring high hygiene standards.
  • Applications: Widely used in the pharmaceutical, food processing, and electronics industries.

Specialized Skids for Specific Industries

  • Overview: With the diversification of industries, there’s a growing demand for skids tailored to specific needs.
  • Advantages: These skids are designed with unique features, such as anti-static properties for electronics or insulated designs for cold storage.
  • Applications: From the aerospace sector requiring skids for sensitive equipment to the arts industry needing skids for transporting artworks, specialized skids cater to niche requirements.

Key Differences Between Skids and Pallets

Definition and Structure

  • Skids: Originally, skids were flat platforms without any bottom deck boards. They serve as the base for goods and are often used for more permanent fixtures, like heavy machinery.
  • Pallets: Pallets are platforms with both top and bottom deck boards. They are designed to be lifted by forklifts, pallet jacks, or other jacking devices from all four sides.

Functionality and Use

  • Skids: Historically, skids were used to move heavy items by sliding. Today, they often serve as a foundation for heavy machinery or as a base for larger assemblies.
  • Pallets: Pallets are more versatile in terms of transportation. They are commonly used in warehouses and distribution centres for easy loading, unloading, and storage of goods.

Load-Bearing Capacity

  • Skids: Typically, skids are designed to bear heavier loads, making them ideal for stationary storage or for items that don’t require frequent movement.
  • Pallets: While pallets can also bear significant weight, they are generally used for goods that need to be moved frequently within warehouses or between transportation modes.

Industries that Commonly Use Skids in the UK

Skids are widely used in various industries in the UK including:

Manufacturing and Production

  • Overview: The backbone of the UK’s industrial sector, manufacturing plants often use skids to support heavy machinery and store raw materials.
  • Applications: Skids are used for holding large machines, storing bulk materials, and facilitating the movement of semi-finished products within factories.

Transportation and Logistics

  • Overview: Ensuring goods move seamlessly from one point to another, the logistics sector relies on skids for efficient loading and unloading.
  • Applications: Skids are used in shipping docks, freight yards, and distribution hubs to facilitate the movement of large containers or bulky items.


  • Overview: The construction industry, with its heavy equipment and materials, often requires skids for on-site storage and transportation.
  • Applications: Skids are used to hold construction materials, support heavy machinery, and transport tools and equipment across construction sites.

Retail and Warehousing

  • Overview: Warehouses and retail distribution centres use skids to optimize storage space and ensure efficient movement of goods.
  • Applications: Skids can be found in storage aisles holding bulk items, in loading zones for easy transportation, and even in retail spaces for display purposes.

Safety and Regulations

Material Safety

  • Overview: The materials used in skids, especially treated wood or certain plastics, may have implications for health and the environment.
  • Regulations: The UK mandates the use of safe, non-toxic treatments for wooden skids and encourages the use of recyclable or eco-friendly plastics.

Disposal and Recycling

  • Overview: Discarding old or damaged skids has environmental implications. Recycling or repurposing skids is a sustainable approach.
  • Regulations: The UK promotes the recycling of skids, especially wooden and plastic ones. There are guidelines on how to dispose of or repurpose skids that are no longer in use.

Certification and Standards

  • Overview: Certain certifications ensure that skids meet the highest safety and quality standards.
  • Regulations: In the UK, skids might be subject to certifications like the ISPM 15 for wooden skids, ensuring they meet international standards for phytosanitary measures.

Benefits of Using Skids in the UK

Efficient Transportation

  • Overview: Skids facilitate the smooth movement of goods, both within facilities and during transportation between locations.
  • Benefits: They allow for easy loading and unloading, reduce the need for manual handling, and optimize space in transportation vehicles, leading to cost savings.


  • Overview: While there’s an initial investment in procuring skids, their benefits in terms of efficient transportation, storage, and reduced damage lead to significant cost savings in the long run.
  • Benefits: Businesses can optimize their logistics and supply chain operations, leading to reduced operational costs and increased profitability.

Durability and Longevity

  • Overview: Made from materials like wood, metal, or plastic, skids are designed to last, especially when maintained properly.
  • Benefits: Their durability means reduced replacement costs and longer service life, offering businesses a good return on investment.

Challenges and Common Issues

Wear and Tear

  • Overview: With regular use, skids can experience wear and tear, affecting their structural integrity.
  • Implications: Damaged skids can compromise the safety of goods and workers, leading to potential accidents or product losses.

Load-Bearing Limitations

  • Overview: Each skid is designed to bear a specific weight. Overloading can strain the skid and lead to failures.
  • Implications: Overloading can result in skid breakage, and damage to goods, and can pose safety risks to workers.

Inadequate Maintenance

  • Overview: Regular maintenance and inspections of skids are often overlooked, leading to potential issues.
  • Implications: Neglected maintenance can shorten the lifespan of skids, lead to unexpected failures, and increase operational costs.

In essence, skids are more than just platforms for holding goods; they are symbols of the UK’s industrial prowess, adaptability, and commitment to progress. For businesses and individuals alike, understanding the significance of skids offers valuable insights into the foundational elements that drive the nation’s commerce and growth.

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FAQs About Skids in the UK Context

1. What are skids in the context of the UK industry?

  • Skids in the UK typically refer to a type of platform or frame that supports equipment or machinery. They are often used in various industries, including manufacturing, oil and gas, and construction, to provide a stable base for heavy equipment. Skids are designed to be easily transported and are often used in situations where temporary or mobile support is required.

2. How do skids differ from pallets, and why are they preferred in certain industries?

  • While skids and pallets may look similar, they serve different purposes. Skids are a single-deck loading platform without the bottom deck boards found in pallets. This design makes skids sturdier and more suitable for supporting heavy machinery. Industries prefer skids over pallets when they need a stable base that can handle heavy loads and be moved around easily with equipment like forklifts.

3. What materials are commonly used for constructing skids in the UK, and why?

  • Skids in the UK are commonly made from materials like wood, steel, or a combination of both. Wood is preferred for its cost-effectiveness and ease of customization. Steel, on the other hand, is chosen for its durability and strength, especially in industries where the skids need to support very heavy loads or withstand harsh environmental conditions.

4. Are there specific regulations or standards in the UK for the design and use of skids?

  • Yes, in the UK, the design and use of skids are subject to regulations and standards, especially concerning safety and load-bearing capacity. These regulations may vary depending on the industry and the specific application of the skids. It’s important for businesses to comply with these standards to ensure safety and avoid legal issues.

5. How are skids impacting environmental sustainability in the UK, and what measures are being taken?

  • The environmental impact of skids is a growing concern in the UK. To address this, there is an increasing trend towards using sustainable materials and recycling old skids. Many companies are adopting eco-friendly practices, such as using recycled or sustainably sourced wood and metal. Additionally, there is a focus on designing skids that are durable and reusable to reduce waste.


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

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Modular Skids

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