In packaging, pallets are important logistics equipment. A pallet is a portable, rigid platform that’s flat and can carry the load. Different types of pallets are used to pile up, store, assemble, or transport goods. They improve warehouse operational efficiency by allowing easy movement of stacked goods using machines or tools, such as forklifts and pallet jacks.
There are several types of pallets available– reusable or expendable, made from wood, plastics, or metals, and assembled differently– reversible, stackable and so on. Each of these pallets has unique applications that you’re about the explore!
Did you know?
ISO recognizes six standard sizes for pallets:- 1219mm × 1016mm in North America, 1000mm × 1200mm in Europe and Asia, 1165mm × 1165mm in Australia, in North America, Europe, and Asia, 1100mm × 1100mm in Asia only, and 800mm × 1200mm in Europe. But, there are other sizes that are often used in different industries.
Types of Pallets: Plastic, Wooden, Metal, Cardboard
To begin with, pallets are broadly divided by the material used to construct them. Each material offers some benefits but has limitations too.
|Properties||- safe, stable|
- resistant to chemical corrosion, stress
- shock and humidity
- can be sanitized
|- strong, durable|
- made from plywood, pinewood
- can be lightweight or heavy
- can carry heavy loads
|- strong, durable|
- can carry very heavy loads
- made from aluminium, carbon steel, or stainless steel
- can be sanitized
|- lightweight, clean
- safe to use
- made of cardboard or corrugated sheets
|Applications||All industries, especially, Manufacturing, Consumer Durables, Chemical, Auto Ancillary, Dairy||Mostly used in e-Commerce, FMCG, Retail, Export, Logistics||Popularly used in Food, Automotive, Pharma, Military Industries||Used in Shipping|
|Advantages||- long lifespan of over ten years|
- no chipping
- safe to handle as there are no protruding nails or screws
- easy to clean
|- easy to repair|
- easy to grip owing to high friction
- recyclable, reusable
- easy to repair
|- cost effective in the long run|
- high strength and durability
- safe to handle
- no worry of bug infestation
- easy to clean
- low cost
|Disadvantages||- difficult to repair|
- cannot be recycled
|- risk of biohazard |
- susceptible to moisture, bacterial and chemical contamination, and insect infestation
- difficult to handle
- high initial expense
- low friction
- susceptible to rusting
- difficult to repair
|- moisture, temperature changes can be damaging
- can’t carry heavy loads
7 Types of Pallets Based on the Configuration
Pallets come in different sizes and styles as well. They could have a top and bottom deck or be reinforced with horizontal boards called stringers. Out of the most popular types of pallets we’ve listed 7 below.
Roto-molded pallets are made using a rotational molding method. They are economical, available in standard sizes, and can be enhanced using steel frames to increase its load-bearing capacity. Roto-molded pallets are used in industries where hygiene is a priority.
Injection-molded pallets are flat pallets available in standard sizes and colour. They are used to lift goods during transportation and can be easily moved using forklifts, loaders, or jacks. Injection-molded pallets made with HDPE are washable, corrosion-free, recyclable, and durable.
#3 – Block/Deck Board Pallets
Block pallets can be lifted from all four directions. The upper deck is supported by twelve columns. There may or may not be a bottom deck. Block pallets provide high handling efficiency and could be made of wood, plastic, or metal.
#4 – Stringer Pallets
Stringer pallets offer extra support over block pallets. Two boards running between the top and bottom deck on two opposite ends of the pallet provides additional reinforcement. But this means stringer pallets can be lifted only from two sides that are open. Four-way stringer pallets are also available where the stringer has a notch cut allowing forklifts to pick up the pallet.
#5 – Double Face Pallets
Most pallets generally have only a top deck. Double-face pallets have a top and bottom deck and either side can be used. They are strong and can be used for heavy-duty tasks.
#6 – Double Wing Pallets
In Double-Wing pallets, the top and the bottom deck extend beyond the stringers to offer additional surface area; making these pallets useful to transport a large number of goods all at once.
A solid deck pallet has a single continuous sheet usually made of wood, metal or plastic with no spacing in between. These are easy to clean and transport and are useful in moving smaller items.
Finding the Right Pallet for Your Business
Pallets are important warehousing and transporting equipment. The type of pallet, size, and loading capacity that suits your needs depends on your business requirements. Wooden pallets are the most commonly used, whereas plastic pallets have a long life and high reusability. The key things you need to consider are:
- Type of products: the most important aspect to consider is the goods you’ll be transporting or shipping. The weight of the goods, the type, can help you determine the type of pallet (wooden, plastic, or metal) to be used. For example, plastic pallets are ideally suited for food or beverage items.
- Packaging dimensions: packaging width and height, along with the number of items to be shipped will help you determine the size of the pallet to be chosen.
- Frequency of use: if you need a pallet for a one-off shipment, you could consider used or reconditioned pallet. If you’ll need to use the pallet often, the readability aspect of the material you choose becomes important.
- Shipping destination: if you’re planning on sending your shipment abroad, the pallet you choose will have to comply with ISPM 15 regulations. Plastic pallets become a suitable option, in this case.
- Transportation conditions: storage and transportation environment and the temperature are crucial when deciding pallet material. For example, wooden or paper pallets might be susceptible to moisture.
- Budget: with minimizing transportation and delivery cost is a common challenge in the packaging industry, the budget for pallets becomes an important consideration. The initial investment may reduce long-term costs.
We hope this guide has helped you decide the right type of pallet for your business. But if you need any help or additional advice our experts are right here to assist you.18