Pallets play a critical role in the supply chain, they carry a vast amount of products and allow them to be moved from place to place with the use of material handling equipment such as pallet jack and forklifts. (To know more about the types of forklift you may refer to the following link: https://www.mechero.my/post/7-common-types-of-forklift-and-their-uses). In order to work effectively, the pallet we use must be maneuverable, strong enough to support the loads, and affordable for long-term usage. There are different types and patterns of pallets available in the market. But the configurations and designs of pallets are almost the same, they are specifically created to be lifted by forks.
Pallets can be made of a wide range of materials such as wood, plastic, corrugated paper, and steel. Each material type possesses its own advantages and disadvantages. The selection of material types depends on the product loads and industries. Specific products and industries have certain laws, regulations, and standards that specify the requirements of pallet and pallet compositions.
Wood pallets are the most common type of pallet for general manufacturing operations. They have a high demand and occupy a market share of around 90 to 95 percent. They are the cheapest and most flexible type of pallet that can be easily customized and assembled in a wide variety of options. Wood pallets are easy to repair and can be recycled which lengthen their life cycle. These pallets can be made of different species of wood which exhibit different ranges of costs and levels of strength. However, we need to concern some health and safety issues with the use of wooden pallets, as used wooden pallets may carry bacteria when the wood gets wet. In this case, it is not suggested to use wood pallets for transporting food, beverages, or chemicals due to their difficulty with cleaning and disinfection. They are required to undergo a lot of treatment to defend themselves from the attacks of certain contaminants.
The plastic pallets are easy to clean, durable, and so we don’t need to be replaced them often. They are widely used in most of the industry for any type of unit load, as long as the weight can be supported by the pallets. Plastic pallets are lighter and even more durable when compared to wooden pallets. But they are more expensive than wood. There are various mold processes and materials to manufacture different types of plastic pallets. Durability and resistance will vary dramatically depending on the types of plastic and the processing methods. For instance, the plastic pallet can be created with the use of vacuum thermoforming process. It will be heated and vacuumed into a mold with desired shapes. This process is less expensive but the pallet made under this process is weaker than other varieties. So, it is important for us to know the exact material they are made of when choosing the right plastic pallet that matches our requirements.
Metal pallets are the strongest option that can be used for extremely heavy loads such as moving barrels, drums, airfreight, etc. It is durable, easy to clean, and able to withstand extreme temperatures. However, the cost of a metal pallet is relatively high when compared to other types of pallets. And the weight of the metal pallet is much heavier than other material types of the pallet which can result in a higher transportation cost. Metal pallets can be made from steel or aluminum and the price will vary depending on the types of metal they’re made of.
Corrugated Paper Pallets
Corrugated paper pallets are economical, environmentally friendly, and also highly customizable. They can be 100% recycled and the price is inexpensive. Corrugated paper pallets are able to handle the same load as the wood pallet but at a lighter weight. Since their weight is very light, it won’t have much impact on the transportation cost. Unlike wooden pallets, corrugated paper pallets do not need so much treatment and are suitable to be used in the cleanroom environment. In addition, the cost of disposal and recycling a corrugated paper pallet is also cheaper than recycling a wooden pallet.
Pallets also can be categorized by their entry points and designs. There are two types of entry points, which are two-way and four-way entry available. Two-way entry pallets have openings on the two sides that allow forklift forks to enter from two directions that are opposite to each other. Four-way entry pallets have openings on all four sides of the pallet that is much easier for forklift forks to enter.
If we classify the pallet by their designs. There are two designs of the pallet, which are block pallets and stringer pallets. Block pallets use blocks of plywood, solid wood, or plastic to support the unit load. A block pallet normally possesses 4 to 12 blocks to support the top deck boards and comes with four entry points which makes them a versatile choice of pallets. Block pallets can be made from a variety of materials and are available in different types of designs. They can be designed with or without the bottom board. We also can find thin pieces of stringer that form a mat between the deck and blocks.
As per name suggests, stringer pallets use stringers to support the unit load. With the addition of stringers, they offer extra support over the block pallets. Generally, the stringers are the boards placed in between the top and bottom deck and on the two opposite ends of the pallets. But this design only has two sides are open which is known two-way entry pallet. The four-way stringer pallets are also available where the stringers have notch cuts to allow forklifts to enter.
How To Choose the Right Pallet
Pallets are important equipment that used in warehousing and transportation. There are a wide variety of choices available in terms of their sizes, loading capacity, material types, and designs. We need to choose the pallet based on our business requirements. Here are a few factors that we need to consider when choosing the right pallet.
Firstly, we need to know what type of product we are transporting and what is the weight of the goods. This can help us to decide which material types of pallet we should use. For example, if we are transporting food and beverage items, a plastic pallet is an ideal choice for this product type. Secondly, we need to define the packaging width, height, and the number of items to be shipped in order to determine the size of pallet we need. Next, is the frequency of use, if we use the pallet only for a one-off shipment, it is better to consider a reconditioned pallet. If we need to use it often, we should choose a pallet material that is durable. Other factors such as storage environment, transportation conditions, temperature are also important when deciding the pallet material. For instance, wooden and paper pallets are not suitable to be used in moisture environments.
MecHero Malaysia supplies different types of pallets for a wide range of industrial applications. You can always contact us at +6011-7000 7687 or email us at email@example.com for an inquiry about the types of pallets in Malaysia. As a steel and online hardware store in Malaysia, we also supply a wide range of steel materials, general hardware, or mechanical components. Tell us your requirements now and we can advise you accordingly.
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