What is a Plastic Pallet?
A pallet is a wooden or plastic structure that facilitates the mechanical handling of goods using a frontloader, jack, forklift, etc. Here we’re going enormously talk about plastic pallets.
There are different types of plastic pallets depending on the application. The basic design remains the same, but the upper design has to be changed depending on the purpose.
The pallet design keeps changing depending on the size and weight of the product it will carry.
In simple words, a company can’t go and sell any pallet to any company quoting anything. When trying to manufacture and sell pallets, one should take care of many factors.
Manufacturing of Plastic Pallets –
Manufacturing plastic pallets are as tricky as it gets. There are dozens of different applications for which pallets are used ( about which we’ll discuss later).
All the plastic pallets have different and varied physical properties like design, cuts, strokes, and edges. That means it’s not just pushing a button. Manufacturing every pallet comes with different sets of challenges.
However, I tell people to trust the “EXPERIENCE.” Contact a manufacturer with valuable experience and knowledge of pallets.
Injection Molding Pallet Manufacturing:
Pallet manufacturing with injection molding makes a lot of sense as it’s fast, reliable, and accurate.
Injection molding becomes a significant factor when it comes to manufacturing in bulk. That way, the overall CPU (Cost per Unit) will decrease substantially.
This process is perfect for manufacturing using 100% virgin HDPE.
Pallets manufactured by injection molding give two major advantages – superior dimension quality and high impact resistance.
Thermoforming Plastic Pallet:
Thermoforming is quite popular with manufacturing companies because it is comparably cheaper, quicker, and boasts a lower production cycle than the injection molding method.
The lower cost of tooling is a cherry on the top of the cake. Bonus feature – thermoforming plastic pallets are strong (Still not reliable for heavy industries) and wouldn’t budge even after being hit by a forklift.
Blow Molding Plastic Pallet:
Blow molding plastic pallet is mostly used in cold supply chains as these pallets are very convenient when it comes to transport temperature-sensitive products.
These plastic pallets closely resemble twin-sheet plastic pallets in terms of both appearance and applications. Like twin-sheet pallets, blow molding pallets are also highly durable and can lift heavy loads.
Most importantly, blow molding could help you cut manufacturing costs by 10% to 15%.
Types of Industrial Plastic Pallets –
There are mainly three types of plastic pallets – 1) Industrial and 2) Based on Application 3) based on material. Here, in this part, I will mention plastic pallets with their extensive applications.
#1 Rackable Plastic Pallets:
Rackable plastic pallets are useful for carrying heavy loads. They are equipped with frames or runners at the bottom to amplify strength.
Choosing a manufacturer for supplying rackable pallets, the essential thing to take care of is that it can be placed safely on a rack top.
These pallets come in handy for saving floor space. Note that the loaded weight should not exceed the maximum loading limit for smooth and hazard-free operation.
#2 Stackable Plastic Pallets:
Stackable Pallets are heavily used in warehouses because of their space-saving feature. Generally, available in multiple different configurations depending on the application, for example – 3 runner, frame, etc.
What makes stackable plastics so popular? The unique design helps stack multiple pallets on each other (with or without products) without slipping or falling.
#3 Drum Plastic Pallets:
As the name suggests, drum pallets are used for shipping drums for the music industry. Drum pallets are designed with four modeled recessed rings. The ring’s sizing is not standard and keeps varying depending on the size of the loaded container. As I mentioned above, the recessed rings are crucial to hold the boxes and keep them from falling.
Also Read – Compression Molding Process – A Detailed Guide | Thermosets Composite Compression Molding | Types of Compression Molding | Molds Used for Compression Molding | Advantages | Disadvantages | Applications
Types of Plastic Pallets Based on Applications:
Application-based plastic pallets are manufactured to cater to a specific need for specific products. Let’s say for shipping electronics, toys, agriculture products, pharmaceuticals.
Any company for smooth shipping needs to give extra care to what kind of pallet is being used for shipping ( it can’t be overlooked).
#1 Export Plastic Pallets:
This type of pallet is specially designed for export purposes. Generally used for one-way shipping. Being manufactured from recycled plastic makes them environment-friendly, extremely competitive, and cost-effective.
Mostly manufactured using HDPE and PP plastic materials, these pallets are strong and rigid, can bear gigantic amounts of weight, and will serve you for years.
Sometimes there are also named pool pallets and reusable pallets.
#2 Spill Control Industrial Plastic Pallets:
Industrial plastic pallets are considered the best to transport liquid substances because it empowers a company a with zero leakage and spillage.
These pallets are uniquely designed to hold liquid substances without spilling a single drop on the floor. That tremendous scope of ability to hold liquid makes these pallets perfect for transporting hazardous chemicals.
Like all other pallets, these pallets are also available in many sizes and configurations.
HDPE material is the most convenient to manufacture the pallet as it is highly resistant to chemicals.
#3 Display Plastic Pallet:
Display pallets come with an uncomplicated design and straightforward application. They are utilized for displaying products in shops, supermarkets, convenience stores, and all kinds of recreation centers.
You can find these pallets in many different sizes and as they are very lightweight, moving them using a forklift is very easy.
#4 Industrial Hygenic Plastic Pallets:
Hygienic plastic pallets are used extensively in industries where hygiene is a top priority. These pallets are in high demand for industries like pharmaceuticals, foods, and related industries.
These pallets are dissimilar in design compared to all the other pallets as its surface is completely straight without any cuts, strokes, and edges.
That smooth design makes them easy to clean and more hygienic than wooden pallets and other plastic alternatives.
Types of Pallets Based on Material:
Many companies will provide on-demand plastic pallets made from specific materials depending on the industry or product-specific requirements. The most famous example of a material-based pallet is…
HDPE and PP Industrial Plastic Pallets:
HDPE and PP are the most common and well-known thermoplastics for manufacturing plastic pallets, and that for a good reason, they both are recycled materials.
Although both the thermoplastics are quite capable, I would recommend using HDPE as cheaper than PP.
As a “Plan B,” you can go for a mixture of PP and HDPE with HDPE in more proportion (Recommended proportion HDPE – 70% and PP – 30%).
What Factors to Consider Choosing a Plastic Pallet?
#1 Check are there any regulations like USFDA, FDA, or ISPM15 that you have to obey.
#2 How much weight will be kept on the pallet in an average situation.
#3 Are you facilitated with equipment like converters, racking, palletizers, etc.
#4 Shipping away pallets is an expensive affair, and I would recommend contacting a manufacturer who will use recycled material to cut costs. Cheap, reusable pallets are a good investment and should be used.
#5 Figuring out the type of packaging that will be suitable for your plastic pallet.
Key Benefits of Owning Plastic Pallets –
- Rigid and flexible structures support massive dynamic, racking, and static loads.
- Plastic pallets are mostly manufactured by recycled plastics, so it is eco-friendly.
- As there are multiple ways of manufacturing plastic pallets, there are no limitations for different design types depending on the purpose.
- Compared to wood pallets, plastic pallets are 30% to 40% lightweight, making them easy to handle and transport.
- Dimensionally and chemically stable.
- Impenetrable to weak acids, moisture, alkalis, etc.
Advantages of Plastic Pallets –
- First and foremost, the most significant plus point of plastic pallets over wooden pallets is hygiene. It’s easy to clean, so maintaining a top-notch quality standard is possible.
- A typical, well-made, and well-maintained plastic pallet will last about 8 to 10 years. That makes it a long term investment.
- Broken plastic pallets can be recycled to make more plastic pallets thus, making them eco-friendly.
- Relatively easy to handle as they don’t have any share nails or edges.
- Easy to handle because of the in-built 4-way forklift entry.
- Customization of pallets depending on the specific need is possible.
- Unlike wooden pallets, plastic pallets can be manufactured in bulk.
- Lighter than wooden pallets, plastic pallets save a lot on shipping costs.
- Plastic pallets are exempt from ISPM-15 Regulations and various inspections at many international ports.
Disadvantages of Plastic Pallets –
- An inaccurate design might make it slippery.
- The initial set-up cost is more than wood pallets.
- Repairing damaged plastic pallets is very complicated. It would need to meltdown and remold.
- The chances are less, but forklift damage may also occur.
What is the future of Plastic Pallets?
The future of plastic pallets seems to be very bright (not bragging). The world is steadily transitioning from wood pallets to plastic pallets and that will help pallet manufacturers in many ways.
Most countries are adopting International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 (ISPM 15), which will give plastic pallet manufacturing a big boost.
Plastic Pallet is the future. Do you want to be a part of that future?
The takeaway –
Plastic pallets will stay with us for a long time. Switch to plastic pallets if you haven’t yet and boost your profits.
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