Palletization, at the most basic level, is a process used in the industry to help ship products in a safe and efficient manner. Pallets are used to bundle groups of primary or secondary packages together for easier shipping and handling. The different tiers of packaging are based on the headspace of the product. Companies often have a stock pallet type used for everything to help keep the packaging, shipping, and storing processes as simple as possible. If a company is making custom order products of all different sizes, however, there would be many different types of pallets.
Let’s look at a few pallet types:
Compressed Wood Pallets
Compressed wood pallets are cheap, moderately strong, and unique in that they nest inside each other for space saving when not in use. The downside is their parts cannot be replaced, so they are not repairable like standard wooden pallets. The upside is they are recyclable after use.
Corrugated Paperboard Pallets
Corrugated can be used to make pallets. Multiple layers of corrugated substrate are glued together to produce strong pallets which can be recycled just as easily as corrugated boxes. These pallets have a much shorter lifespan than that of their wooden counterparts, but work in pinch situations where they are only needed as a short term solution. Corrugated pallets can be quickly designed in a number of different styles and sizes.
High density plastics can be molded to make durable, long-lasting, and returnable dunnage systems. The systems are made from recycled and recyclable plastic. An effective reusable plastic pallet program can reduce costs, drive sustainability, and optimize a company’s supply chain. They are resistant to acids, fats, solvents, and odors. When dealing with returnable dunnage, it is important to cut down on return shipping space by allowing the pallets to nest or collapse. These pallets are lighter than hardwood pallets, saving on freight costs.
Metal pallets are significantly heavier than wood or plastic pallets, but they certainly have their place. When product contamination, fire suppression, or disposal costs are a concern, a steel or aluminum pallet can be a great alternative to wood or plastic. They offer unsurpassed strength, fire resistance, and the ability to be cleaned and reused indefinitely which makes them ideal for supply chain loops. Metal items are better in the long run cost wise because they can be used for longer periods of time without maintenance or failure, Keep in mind, however, that it is more expensive to fix a metal pallet than a wooden pallet, but this cost is offset by the lower amount of maintenance required by a metal pallet. Metal pallets also offer more structurally sound design capabilities and consistency than wooden or plastic pallets. And like plastic pallets, they can be collapsible, non-collapsible, and even nestable (but this is not as common with metal).
It’s important to consider your palletization system being put into place to further ensure your package makes it to its final destination efficiently and safely. Learn more about palletization at: https://www.packagingschool.com/courses/corrugated-containers-101