A pallet is a flat horizontal structure that is used to provide support to goods while allowing them to be lofted and transported by machinery such as fork lifts and front loaders. It acts as a base on which products can be assembled, stored, handled and transported. The goods are placed on the pallet and then secured with some type of strapping or stretch wrap to keep them in place. It has taken over from older forms of crating such as boxes and barrels as it works well with many kinds of packaging and materials. There are two basic types of pallets; the stringer and the block. They can also be differentiated on the basis of how many directions in which it can be entered by a forklift such as the two-way entry pallet and the four-way pallet. A pallet can also have a double face and some styles are also reversible which means that either side can be used for assembly. While selecting a pallet, considerable though should also be given to the difference between reusable pallets and single use pallets. If they can be reused then they will have a lower cost in the long run as compared to single use pallets which may be cheaper but also of a lower quality.
There are many different types of pallets that companies can choose from:
- Wooden pallets are the most commonly used type of pallets an are usually made or hardwood or softwood. Wood is mostly used to make custom pallets as it is easy to be engraved and can also be reused to make furniture. It comes in a variety of options and is also lightweight which allows for better storage and transportation. However, wood is also more prone to damage from moisture and can also have bug infestations. There is also the chance of injury from splinters and nails protruding from the pallet. Most of the wood pallets are recycled into paper.
- Metal Pallets are not as common as wood as they have a higher price point, are heavier and more susceptible to rust. Aluminum and other light metals are used to make pallets which can be reused many times as they don’t degrade over time and can also be used in wet areas. They are very popular in the food industry as they can be sanitized easily.
- Plastic pallets are made using recycled bottles as well as high density polyethylene. They have a long lifespan and are very stable and resistant to chemical erosion, humid environments as well as shock. They also don’t suffer from problems of chipping and are a very safe packing option. However, they are very difficult to repair and even when they do get repaired by injection molding, they don’t regain their full strength. They also have a high price point and cannot be recycled.
- Paper pallets include corrugated and fiberboard pallets and are a very eco-friendly option for storing and transporting goods. They cannot hold heavier weights and can be damaged by water.
Custom pallets are those that are tailor made according to the nature of the goods that are going to be transported. They will be made in the exact dimensions of the load that they are going to carry and leave little chance of the product getting damaged by not fitting into the pallet. They are easier to stack in warehouses and free up more space which allow for more storage in these areas. They are the perfect for the products and so no floor space is wasted making it easier for the workers to calculate how many pallets and goods are being stored there. The cost of the pallets depends upon their strength and size. If heavy materials need to be loaded then expensive and larger pallets are needed, on the other hand if lighter loads are to be lifted then lightweight and less expensive pallets are chosen. Custom made pallets help companies spend exactly the right amount of money on the perfect size and strength that is needed by them which also ensures better safety of the products. They can also be customized with the brand or logo of the company which make it easier to market the goods being transported.