Industrieverband langlebige Kunststoffprodukte und Mehrwegsysteme e. V.
Fachwissen Fire protection in the case of plastic storage containers
pro-K Fachgruppe
Lager und Transportsysteme

Position paper Fire protection in the case of plastic storage containers

Stand: March 2022


Plastic storage containers[1] are a standard feature of automatic warehouses. They are robust, strong, durable and extremely easy to recycle. When new warehouses are designed, however, the manufacturers of such containers are rarely consulted until the planning process is already complete. The plastic storage containers may then need to be adapted to fit the warehousing and automation technology being used. This can cause additional planning work and delays and thus extra costs for the builder and the party responsible for the investment. The manufacturers and their expertise in designing and making plastic storage containers must therefore be incorporated into the warehouse planning process from the very start.

As per FM Global data sheets 8-34 and 8-9, the regulations for partially open containers apply exclusively to automated small parts warehouses. Water-permeable storage containers are not intended for shuttle systems and top-load automated warehouse systems. A warehouse should be designed for best possible fire fighting. If the owner cannot ensure that the water drainage holes will not be blocked, the automated small parts warehouse should be designed as per the specifications for non-water permeable containers. This planning recommendation has been agreed upon with FM Global and VdS. It is expressly intended for warehouse planners.

Companies involved in this working group:

  • bekuplast GmbH
  • BITO-Lagertechnik Bittmann GmbH
  • Georg Utz GmbH
  • Paul Craemer GmbH
  • Ringoplast GmbH
  • Schoeller Allibert GmbH
  • SSI Schäfer Fritz Schäfer GmbH

This technical position paper reflects how the manufacturers in pro-K’s Storage and Transport Systems group that have come together in the Plastic Storage Containers working group interpret the current fire protection regulations laid down by FM Global and VdS Schadenverhütung GmbH in respect of the design of plastic storage containers/pallets.


1. General classification: warehouse design and plastic storage containers/pallets

1.1 Plastic storage containers and pallets

1.2 Design possibilities and limitations when developing plastic storage containers – complexity of manufacturing processes

1.3 Factoring in the fire risk of plastic storage containers

1.4 Flame-retardant plastic storage containers

1.5 Plastic pallets in warehouses

2. Fire protection guidelines for plastic storage containers

3. Planning recommendation on fire protection of storage containers

4. Interpretation of the FM Global and VdS requirements for designing plastic storage containers permeable to water
4.1 Plastic storage containers permeable to water as understood by FM Global
4.2 Plastic storage containers permeable to water as understood by VdS CEA 4001 K.7

5. Conflicts of objectives in automatic warehouses due to the FM Global and VdS regulations

6. Fire protection recommendations by the manufacturers of plastic storage containers

[1] Also known as plastic containers, plastic load carriers, plastic storage boxes and plastic storage trays.