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What is a pallet?

by Rick LeBlanc,
In our Pallet Recycling Glossary, I define a pallet as a horizontal platform device used as a base for assembling, storing, handling and transporting materials and products as a unit load, typically equipped with a superstructure.

Additionally, a pallet provides protection to the product on it, and the coverage of the bottom deck of the pallet can prevent damage to palletized goods upon which another pallet may be stacked. More currently, a pallet affixed with RFID or GPS technology can also offer benefits of information and or location tracking both for the pallet itself, as well as for the merchandise it is carrying.
The pallet is the most common base for the unit load, which includes pallet and goods stacked atop it, typically secured by stretch wrap, strapping, shrink wrap, adhesive, pallet collar, or other means of unit load stabilization.

The history of
 pallets has shown their gradual development over the last century, helping enable the development of modern logistics. The importance of pallets to supply chain applications today has been significant, allowing dramatic efficiencies in the handling and transport of unit loads. Additional refinements were added to pallet design and management during World War 2. For example, pallet reuse in the supply chain became increasingly practiced. The pallet pooling concept began to be seriously discussed during this time and has evolved into a key strategy for pallet suppliers.
What Materials Are Pallets Made From?

Pallets are made from various types of materials. The
 wood pallet  dominates the marketplace, followed by plastic pallets, paper pallets, wood composite pallets and metal pallets, which also have a presence. Please note that attributes of various pallet materials can have implications for material handler safety.
Wood pallets offer a great combination of weight, stiffness, durability and cost, not to mention a widespread pallet recycling infrastructure. Custom pallets sizes can be easily fabricated from timber components. Plastic pallets typically are more expensive than wood pallets for comparable applications, but are valued for such attributes as extreme durability, precision of manufacture, and ease of sanitation. Other important buying considerations include pallet weight, and considerations for export pallets, such as ISPM-15 compliance or exemption for international shipping.
What are the main pallet designs?

NWPCAs Uniform Standard for Wood Pallets begins by classifying pallets as either stringer or block. It then goes on to differentiate the common entry types for wood pallet, which refers to how many directions they may be entered by pallet trucks and forklifts. These include two-way entry pallets, which can be entered at either end, four-way pallets, which can be entered from all four sides, and partial four-way entry pallets, which can be entered by forklifts and pallet trucks at each end, but only by forklifts through notched stringers on the sides.

Pallet style refers to whether a pallet has a single or double face (single or both top and bottom deck), and whether a pallet is reversible (either side can be used for the top deck) or non-reversible (having top and bottom deck but only one intended for use as a top deck). The standard then goes on to discuss top and bottom deck options. A single faced pallet is also commonly as a skid.

What are the main pallet sizes?

Although pallets may be fabricated to various custom sizes, there are some typical sizes that are most commonly used. It should be pointed out that in describing the size of pallets, one starts with the stringer or stringer board length, first, followed by the pallet width, typically the length of the deck boards.The main pallet size or pallet dimension in North America is 48x40 inches. There are six pallet sizes recognized by ISO. Here is a list, including the region most commonly used:

1219x1016 (48x40 inches) North America
1000x1200 Europe and Asia
1165x1165 Australia
1067x1067 North America, Europe and Asia
1100x1100 Asia
800x1200 - Europe
Pallet Services Ltd | Phone: 046 9293412 caters for all your pallet requirements & offers superb quality & service. Based in Meath with nationwide delivery across Ireland.
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Pallet Services (Holdings) Ltd. Oristown, Kells, Co. Meath, Ireland        Phone: 046 9293412        Fax: 046 9293413        Email:        Powered by: go2web