Pallets Uses: A Helpful Guide | Pallet Consultants
What are pallets used for? From transporting produce to beverages and chemicals, pallets are vital to the economy and move the world in more ways than you think.
You may not think about it a lot, but most things in your life are moved on pallets. From the desk you sit at, to the groceries in your fridge, to the couch you sit on and even the parts in your car, our world is transported on pallets every day.
Pallets and everything about them are as diverse and engineered as carefully as the things that are strapped to them. But before we talk about what pallets are used for, we should get into what a pallet is and what they’re made from.
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WHAT IS A PALLET?
Broadly speaking, a pallet is something that is wide and flat with a top and bottom deck on which you place an item, making it easier to move that item later. The point of a pallet is to give items, whether large or small, a base to rest on.
This base makes it easy to move the item with materials handling equipment like a forklift, pallet jack, or anything else you could strap or pick the pallet up with. Whether you stack a bunch of smaller items like boxes on a pallet, or lay a something large like a refrigerator down on one, pallets make transportation of products easier and more convenient.
WHAT ARE PALLETS MADE OF?
Pallets can be made from all sorts of materials, but the most common are wood, plastic, and metal. Wood is by far the most popular material because it is renewable and easily repaired and recycled.
Plastic can be durable and have a long lifespan, but can’t be recycled as easily as wooden pallets and are not as environmentally friendly. However, plastic pallets do not need to be heat treated to ISPM 15 requirements like wood, which is needed for international shipping.
Metal pallets can hold the most weight, but are themselves heavy and have issues similar to plastic pallets.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF PALLETS
Although there is a large number of pallets types, most can be categorized as two-way entry or four-way entry. This pallet entry number means how many ways a forklift or pallet jack can pick up a pallet.
Two-way pallets can be picked up from the front or back, hence the name two-way. Four-way pallets can be picked up from all four sides.
There are different types of pallets made out of all materials that fall into both categories. For example, you have stringer pallets that are two way, but other stringer pallets that have notches or are block pallets and are four-way.
Some pallets are also reversible and are double-faced, while others only have one side with deck boards and have to be used right side up.
DIFFERENT PALLET SIZES
Whether they need to handle different weights or carry things of different size, there is a variety of pallet sizes. Although some may be much more common than others and are sometimes called “standard” in certain supply chains, there are no true standards when it comes to pallet sizes.
Here’s a list of some common pallet sizes and what they’re used for.
TABLE: PALLET SIZE USES
|Dimensions, mm (W x L)||Dimensions, in (W x L)||Industry Uses|
|1016 × 1219||40 × 48||Grocery, many others|
|1067 ×1067||1016 × 1219||Telecommunications, Paint|
|1219 × 1219||48 × 48||Drums|
|1219 × 1016||48 × 40||Military, Cement|
|1219 × 1067||48 × 42||Chemical, Beverage|
|1016 × 1016||40 × 40||Dairy|
|1219 × 1143||48 × 45||Automotive|
|1118 × 1118||44 × 44||Drums, Chemical|
|914 × 914||36 × 36||Beverage|
|1219 × 914||48 × 36||Beverage, shingles, packaged paper|
|889 × 1156||35 × 45||Unknown Military 1/2 ISO container, fits 36" standard doors|
|1219 × 508||48 × 20||Unknown Retail|
As you can see, there are several pallet sizes and different uses for all of them.
Number 1 in production rank is the 48 x 40 GMA pallet. This pallet makes up over 30% of new pallets made, and so is one of the “standards” in the pallet industry. Not that it is actually a standard size, but that it makes up so much of the pallet market share and use it’s the de facto standard pallet size.
This pallet can carry up to 4,600 lbs. and can be used for just about anything. It’s one of the most versatile pallets, carrying everything fro
m your groceries you buy at the store to toys and appliances. This is why it’s not only one of the most used pallets in the United States but also in North America as a whole.
As you can see, there are many different types of pallets and pallet dimensions. There are many more kinds of pallet we won’t go over here, since they can be as specific as the product they are designed to move. Each pallet has a specific unit load and needs to meet strict requirements to make sure whatever it’s transporting won’t be damaged.
If you need any more information on pallets, feel free to look around our site. Or start a conversation with us! We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.