Pallet, who are you ?

Pallets are the pillars of the modern logistical process. A big majority of products you can find in stores are transported on a pallet. A badly chosen pallet at the bottom can impact the whole transport, even though they may have chosen suitable packaging. What types of pallets exist today and how are they best geared to the products that need to be transported? It’s all discussed below in this article.

A pallet for dummies

Does a pallet sounds familiar to you? Or not? Well here is a short description of what a pallet is: “a flat transport structure that supports parcels while being lifted by handling equipment”. It’s usually affixed to a superstructure and a bottom deck. The pallet is the basis for assembly, storage, handling and transportation of materials and products.

For example, a fashion depot in Brussels needs to ship its clothes (packed in parcels) to 3 stores inside the city. They’ll use pallets secured with strapping, stretch wrap or shrink wrap and shipped. They’ll use adapted vehicles, for example, a van to transport the clothes to the 3 different addresses.

Disposable or reusable pallets? The choice is yours!

Today, a business can choose either disposable or reusable pallets. Disposable pallets aren’t necessarily lost. There are numerous specialized companies that collect these used pallets. They repair and resell them at a certain price that depends on the quality, type, and dimensions. This is called reconditioning.

Wood, plastic, metal, paper and recycled materials

Most pallets are made from wood but pallets can also be made of plastic, metal, paper, and recycled materials. They have different advantages and different disadvantages.

Wooden pallet

The pallet that dominates the market is the wooden pallet. Accounting for roughly 95% of the market, wooden pallets are easily the most popular choice when it comes to selecting the best-fitted pallet.

It offers a great combination of weight, durability, and cost. The refurbishment and reuse of wood pallets are possible and ecological.

EUR-EPAL

Plastic pallet

Plastic is the second most common material used for pallets, after wooden pallets. Plastic pallets are typically more expensive than wood pallets but are valued as extremely durable. Even if it’s costly, this durable pallet should last a long time and have a low cost per trip, as long as it is properly managed to avoid loss or theft.

The composition of plastic pallets? Durable, high-performance design, or lightweight and not expensive design, suitable for transport. They are increasingly popular for export.

Paper and press-wood pallet

The ingredients of presswood pallets? Wood residue pressed into shape under high pressure. Presswood pallets have a competitive price compared to recycled wood pallets. Its benefits? Available in several sizes, hasn’t to be heat treated for international shipment.

Why do we love these pallets?Because of their lightweight, the cleanliness, recyclable when emptied and the price is relatively low. Disposable and recyclable, these pallets avoids the export restrictions on wooden pallets (ISPM-15). They can be stacked very efficiently. Very easy to customize to the requirements of the business.

But unfortunately there are some disadvantages. Here’s an overview: susceptible to moisture (unless a coating is added). They aren’t durable and lack stiffness when we compare those pallets to other materials.

The main pallet sizes

There are some typical sizes although there are also custom pallets that are fabricated. The sizes of pallets start with the stringer (board length) then the pallet width (length of the deck board). We can distinguish six pallet sizes, recognized by ISO. Here is an overview of the sizes and in which region it’s most used:

  • 1219×1016 → North America
  • 1000×1200 → Europe and Asia
  • 1165×1165 → Australia
  • 1067×1067 → North America, Europe, and Asia
  • 1100×1100 → Asia
  • 800×1200 → Europe

Today the most used pallet type in Europe is the “Europe pallet” or “EUR-EPAL”, with the dimensions of 800 mm wide by 1,200 mm long. The EUR-EPAL pallet is protected by two registered trademarks. That’s why its manufacturing is only authorized to companies licensed to use these brands.

Good to know

Questions?

We hope we succeed in giving you more insights on this subject. If you have any questions feel free to reach our Shippr team at “hello@shippr.be”. You can also connect with the team on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn!

*Article initially published on Medium.com 5/06/2019

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