4 Factors To Consider Before Buying A Plastic Pallet
01 Mar 2018
Choosing pallets is not as straightforward as some companies first assume. There are many plastic pallet buying factors when you’re using high racking or automated product handling equipment or if they will be carrying heavy loads.
First, the pallet system must be appropriate for your storage needs, your facility, your plant’s handling machinery and the vehicles that will transport them round the supply chain. You will consider such things as pallet sizes, the location of racks, the access and egress points, whether forklifts will need four-way or two-way access into the pallets and how efficiently they can be stacked into those delivery vans or containers. Remember that these factors matter not only to you but to your suppliers, distributors and customers.
Then you need to look for the right qualities in the pallets themselves. Obviously, you want durability, versatility, reliability and economy, but there are other important qualities too – and they may be critical to your operations. Here are four plastic pallet buying factors to think about.
Pallets not made of robust enough materials may be inclined to twist, warp or erode under heavy loads, rough handling or factors like heat and moisture. A good-quality plastic pallet will hold up well to all these variables, but there are pallets on the market that will not. Both the quality of the plastic and the robustness of the design make a significant difference. If your plant uses an automated or semi-automated production line, this dimensional stability may be one of the most critical factors for you.
Anti-Slip Top Decking
Despite their many advantages over timber pallets, plastic can become slippery when wet and some are even slippery when dry. Good-quality heavy-duty pallets will be manufactured from appropriate plastic materials and designed to resist any slipping of their loads. There are different kinds of anti-slip design optimised for different kinds of load – for example, for carrying large drums of liquid there are decks indented to better restrain circular drums.
Durable Heavy-Duty Pallets
Recycled plastics have impurities that can degrade both their strength and durability and make other qualities (such as slip resistance or temperature tolerance) less unpredictable. Pallets made from blow-moulded 100% virgin high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic have ample heavy-duty load-bearing and stability for the majority of applications. For even higher load-bearing capacities you can consider a polypropylene (PP) pallet.
Good-quality HDPE pallets are usually rated for static loads up to 4000kg, dynamic loads of 5000kg (for example, when rocking on a forklift) and for stacking loads of 1000kg (that is, when supported only on certain points).
An HDPE plastic pallet is good for at least seven years of service, even when passing constantly through numerous hands in a closed loop supply chain.
Ease of Handling
An obvious but often critical consideration is their strength-to-weight ratio. Pallets should add to the load as little as possible and even in the most automated plants will sometimes need to be moved around by ordinary human beings. Plastics generally have excellent strength-to-weight ratio compared to other materials. Storage and handling of pallets themselves are among the plastic pallet buying factors sometimes overlooked.