Understanding the Purpose of Skids

Modular solution Modular Skid Design Red River LLC, The Fire Inside 2700 N Hwy 14-16, Gillette, WY 82716 Phone: 307-257-5332

Introduction to the use of skids

  • Skids, often confused with pallets, have been around for centuries, serving as a foundational tool for moving heavy objects. Their significance lies not just in their ability to bear weight but also in the flexibility they offer in terms of storage and transportation. Whether it’s a construction site, a bustling warehouse, or a high-tech manufacturing unit, skids have found their place, proving their indispensability time and again.
    Understanding the applications of skids is crucial for businesses aiming to optimize their operations. By delving into the world of skids, one can uncover the myriad ways they contribute to smoother workflows, reduced costs, and enhanced safety measures.

Historical Background of Skids

Ancient Civilizations and the Birth of Skids

  • Egyptians: The construction of the monumental pyramids required transporting massive limestone blocks. Evidence suggests that workers used primitive skids, essentially large logs placed beneath these blocks, to roll and move them into place.
  • Romans: Renowned for their engineering marvels, the Romans utilized skids in various construction projects, from aqueducts to temples. They refined the design, introducing flat wooden platforms to slide heavy objects with minimal friction.

Medieval Times and the Evolution of Skids

  • As trade routes expanded and cities grew, the demand for efficient transportation systems became paramount. Skids, combined with sleds and sleighs, were commonly used to move goods, especially in regions with snowy terrains.
  • The design of skids saw enhancements, with craftsmen integrating stronger materials and optimizing the shape for better weight distribution.

Industrial Revolution and the Modernization of Skids

  • The 18th and 19th centuries marked a significant shift in the way goods were produced and transported. The Industrial Revolution brought about the need for standardized methods of handling and storing products.
  • Factories and warehouses adopted skids as a primary tool for material handling. The design evolved to accommodate the needs of modern industries, leading to the development of the skids we recognize today.

20th Century to Present: Skids in the Contemporary World

  • With globalization and the rise of international trade, skids have become ubiquitous in ports, warehouses, and factories worldwide. Their design has been further refined, incorporating materials like plastic and metal to enhance durability and sustainability.
  • Today, skids are not just tools for transportation but symbols of efficiency, representing the continuous human endeavor to optimize processes and reduce manual labor.

Basic Structure and Components of Skids

Materials Used in Skid Construction

  • Wood: Traditionally, skids were primarily made from wood, often hardwoods like oak or pine. Wooden skids are known for their strength, durability, and affordability. They provide a stable platform for heavy loads and are still widely used in many applications.
  • Plastic: In recent years, plastic skids have gained popularity due to their resistance to moisture, chemicals, and pests. They are lightweight, easy to clean, and come in various sizes and configurations. Plastic skids are commonly used in industries with strict hygiene and safety requirements.
  • Metal: Metal skids, often made from steel or aluminum, are prized for their exceptional strength and durability. They can withstand extreme temperatures and harsh environments, making them suitable for heavy industrial use.
  • Composite Materials: Some skids are constructed using composite materials, which combine the strengths of different materials. These skids offer a balance between durability, weight, and cost-effectiveness.

Core Components of a Skid

  • Deck: The deck is the flat, horizontal surface of the skid where the load is placed. It provides a stable platform for goods and ensures even weight distribution.
  • Runners or Stringers: These are the vertical components of the skid that support the deck. They extend from the bottom of the skid to provide elevation and allow forklifts or pallet jacks to slide underneath.
  • Blocks or Feet: Some skids feature blocks or feet at the corners or center to provide additional support and stability. These blocks can vary in size and shape depending on the skid’s design.
  • Nails, Screws, or Fasteners: These are used to secure the various components of the skid together. The choice of fasteners can impact the skid’s overall strength and longevity.
  • Optional Features: Depending on the specific application, skids may include additional features such as anti-slip coatings, reinforcement plates, or custom configurations to meet unique requirements.

Primary Uses of Skids

Industrial Applications

Manufacturing Processes:

  • Material Handling: Skids are essential for moving raw materials and components within manufacturing facilities. They provide a stable base for goods during assembly and production processes.
  • Storage Solutions: Skids are often used as racks or shelving units to store products and materials in an organized manner, optimizing floor space.

Warehousing and Distribution:

  • Palletizing Goods: Skids serve as the foundation for palletized loads in warehouses and distribution centers, making it easier to stack, store, and transport goods.
  • Order Picking: Skids facilitate the efficient picking and packing of products, allowing workers to access items at different heights with forklifts or pallet jacks.

Transportation and Logistics

Shipping and Freight:

  • Containerization: Skids play a pivotal role in containerized shipping. They help secure cargo within shipping containers and prevent shifting during transit.
  • Loading and Unloading: Goods on skids are easier to load onto trucks and unload at distribution centers, reducing handling time and minimizing the risk of damage.

Air Cargo:

  • Aircraft Compatibility: In air cargo logistics, skids are used to standardize cargo loads, ensuring compatibility with aircraft cargo holds. This simplifies the loading and unloading process at airports.

Construction Sites

Material Handling and Storage:

  • Construction Materials: Skids are employed to transport heavy construction materials, such as steel beams, concrete blocks, and pipes, around construction sites.
  • Temporary Platforms: Skids can serve as temporary platforms to support heavy machinery or equipment on uneven terrain.

Skids vs. Pallets: Understanding the Difference


Design and Structure:

  • Skids are typically constructed with two parallel runners or stringers, one at each end, to support the load.
  • They lack a deck that fully encloses the bottom, leaving the load partially exposed.
  • Skids may have blocks or feet at the corners or center for additional stability.

Forklift and Jack Compatibility:

  • Skids are designed for easy insertion of forklift tines or pallet jacks from two sides.
  • Forklifts or pallet jacks can slide underneath the skid to lift and transport it.


  • Skids are ideal for applications where bottom access to the load is necessary, such as storing materials on racks with shelving underneath.
  • They are commonly used in manufacturing and construction settings.

Weight Distribution:

  • Skids distribute the weight of the load primarily along the edges, which may not be suitable for fragile or irregularly shaped items.


  • Design and Structure:

    • Pallets feature a full deck, usually with slats or boards that completely enclose the bottom of the load.
    • They have both top and bottom surfaces, providing full support and protection for the goods.
  • Forklift and Jack Compatibility:

    • Pallets are designed to be compatible with forklifts and pallet jacks from all four sides, making them highly versatile for handling and storage.
    • Four-way entry ensures easy maneuverability.
  • Versatility:

    • Pallets are commonly used in warehousing, distribution, and transportation, where easy access and uniform load distribution are crucial.
    • They are favored for their compatibility with automated systems and conveyor belts.
  • Load Stability:

    • Pallets offer superior load stability due to their fully enclosed deck, making them suitable for a wide range of products, including fragile or irregularly shaped items.

Environmental and Sustainability Aspects

Material Selection and Sustainability:

Wooden Skids:

  • Sourcing: The sustainability of wooden skids largely depends on the source of the wood. Skids made from responsibly managed forests or reclaimed wood can be eco-friendly.
  • Lifecycle: Wooden skids are biodegradable and can be recycled or repurposed at the end of their service life, reducing their environmental footprint.
  • Certifications: Look for skids certified by organizations like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to ensure responsible sourcing.

Plastic Skids:

  • Recyclability: Many plastic skids are recyclable, but their environmental impact depends on the type of plastic and recycling infrastructure.
  • Durability: Durable plastic skids have a longer lifespan, reducing the need for frequent replacements and conserving resources.
  • Recycled Content: Some plastic skids are made from recycled materials, further reducing their environmental impact.

Recycling and End-of-Life Management:

  • Implement a recycling program for skids that have reached the end of their useful life.
  • Explore innovative recycling techniques, such as upcycling, to give skids a new purpose rather than disposing of them.

Tips for Choosing the Right Skids for Specific Needs

Assess Your Application Requirements:

  • Weight Capacity: Determine the maximum weight your skids need to support. Ensure that the chosen skids can handle the expected load without risk of failure.
  • Size and Dimensions: Consider the dimensions of your products or materials. Choose skids that accommodate the size and shape of your goods while optimizing storage space.
  • Environment: Assess the environmental conditions where the skids will be used. Different materials may be more suitable for indoor, outdoor, or specialized environments.
  • Handling Equipment: Evaluate the type of material handling equipment you’ll be using, such as forklifts, pallet jacks, or conveyors. Ensure that the skids are compatible with the equipment.

Material Selection:

  • Wooden Skids: Opt for wooden skids if you prioritize sustainability and need a cost-effective solution. Ensure the wood is sourced responsibly and consider treated wood for outdoor use.
  • Plastic Skids: Choose plastic skids for moisture-resistant and chemical-resistant applications. Check for the recyclability of the plastic material used.
  • Metal Skids: Select metal skids for heavy-duty applications, especially when dealing with extreme temperatures or harsh environments. Metals like steel and aluminum offer durability and recyclability.

Future Trends in Skid Usage

Advanced Materials and Composites:

  • Lightweight Materials: Skids made from advanced lightweight materials, such as carbon fiber composites, are emerging. These materials reduce transportation costs and environmental impact while maintaining strength.
  • Hybrid Designs: The development of hybrid skids combining materials like wood, plastic, and metal aims to optimize strength, durability, and sustainability.

Smart Skids and IoT Integration:

  • Sensor Technology: Skids equipped with sensors and IoT (Internet of Things) technology can provide real-time data on load weight, stability, and location. This data can be used for inventory management and predictive maintenance.
  • Asset Tracking: IoT-enabled skids can be tracked throughout the supply chain, allowing for improved visibility and security of valuable cargo.

In conclusion, skids are not mere platforms; they are enablers of progress and efficiency. They are the unsung heroes of material handling, supporting industries across the globe in their quest for smoother workflows, cost-effective solutions, and a greener future. As we continue to innovate and adapt, let skids serve as a reminder of the timeless ingenuity that drives human progress, ensuring that the path forward is marked by sustainability and success.

Need a reliable partner?

Red River specializes in the design and manufacturing of pressure vessels. We also fabricate related items such as prefabricated spools and skid packages.

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FAQ: Skids in Pressure Vessel Applications

1. What are skids and how are they utilized in pressure vessel systems?

Skids refer to a structural frame that supports pressure vessels or other heavy equipment. In pressure vessel applications, skids are crucial for providing a stable and secure base. They facilitate the safe transportation, installation, and operation of pressure vessels, especially in industrial settings where mobility and space optimization are key concerns.

2. Can skids be customized for specific pressure vessel requirements?

Absolutely. Skids are often custom-designed to meet the specific needs of a pressure vessel system. Factors like the size, weight, and operational requirements of the vessel, as well as the environmental conditions of the installation site, are considered. Custom skids ensure that the pressure vessel is adequately supported and remains stable during operation and transportation.

3. How do skids contribute to the safety and efficiency of pressure vessel operations?

Skids play a vital role in enhancing both safety and efficiency. By providing a stable platform, they reduce the risk of vessel movement and potential damage. This stability is crucial for maintaining the integrity of the vessel, especially under high-pressure conditions. Additionally, skids often incorporate features that facilitate easier access for maintenance, improving operational efficiency.

4. Are there specific materials preferred for constructing skids for pressure vessels?

The choice of material for skids largely depends on the application and environment. Common materials include structural steel and aluminum, known for their strength and durability. The selection is influenced by factors like the weight of the pressure vessel, corrosion resistance requirements, and the need for mobility.

5. How does the design of a skid impact the overall performance of a pressure vessel system?

The design of a skid impacts the performance significantly. A well-designed skid ensures that the pressure vessel is level and stable, which is crucial for its proper functioning. It also affects the ease of installation and maintenance. A poorly designed skid can lead to operational inefficiencies, increased wear and tear, and even safety hazards.


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

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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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