The Ultimate Guide to Wooden Pallets

Wooden pallets are a great way to transport large quantities of goods and heavy and/or larger items. Chances are you’ll want your goods to arrive in pristine condition and this is where palletising your goods come in handy.

TIMCON estimates that there are approximately 250 million pallets currently in circulation in the UK alone, and over 40 million new pallets are added to the supply chain annually. In addition, due to importing and exporting many pallets enter and leave the UK and the number of wood pallet-based movements of goods in the UK in a year is estimated to be in excess of 1.5 billion.

It’s clear that using pallets to transport goods, whether by plane, boat or lorry, has many benefits. You have the ability to send large and heavy items or large quantities of products in a single shipment. Pallets also allow for products to be packaged together and contained to minimise damage.

The Fundamentals of Wooden Pallets

Before we explore the types of wooden pallets available, it’s important to understand how pallets are made and the materials available, in order to decipher which is best for your shipping needs.

What are pallets made of?

There are hundreds of types of wood used in the construction of wooden pallets, which can be categorised into the following two groups:

Hardwood and Softwood

Softwoods, such as Pine, are more commonly used in the production of wooden pallets, as it’s a clean product that can be kiln-dried without causing any damage. Pine pallets are the ideal choice for shipping and storing food, as well as pharmaceutical products amongst others.

How are Wooden Pallets are made?

The way in which pallets are constructed makes them capable of facilitating the movement of goods worldwide.

Deck boards are the uppermost planks of wood, on which the goods are placed. These boards sit on stringer boards, which defines the length of the pallet.

Types of Pallets

There is a multitude of pallets varieties available. Both material and size play an important part in transporting your goods safely, so it’s important to make the correct decision here.

Stringer Pallets and Block Pallets

Stringer pallets are also known as two-way pallets. They are composed of 3 or more parallel pieces of timber (stringers) that make up the frame. The top deck boards are attached to these stringers to create the common and familiar wooden pallet structure.

Block pallets are also known as four-way pallets. These are stronger than the two-way pallet alternative and are constructed by using parallel and perpendicular stringers. The additional stringer boards, therefore, require more timber in their construction, meaning these are a more durable alternative than two-way stringer pallets.

Pallet Sizes

An array of different standard sizes of pallets are available in order to meet your requirements.

Understanding the types of pallets will help you make the right pallet decision.

UK Pallets

In the UK, the most common pallets are made from wood, as they provide a strong and durable base for storing, handling and transporting goods. The standard size of a UK pallet is 1200×1000 and is available in a number of pallet types and weight-bearing capabilities. The products you are shipping and their total weight will need to be taken into consideration when choosing the correct pallet, but this is something we can help you with at PR Pallets.

Euro Pallets

Across Europe, including the UK, Euro pallets are the most widely used. Standard Euro pallets are 1200×800 in size, however, alternative sizes are available. At PR Pallets, we are the biggest exporter of these pallets to Europe from the south of England.

Plastic

Plastic pallets are highly durable and have the benefit of being cleaned for reuse. For these particular pallets, sizes range from 600×800 to 1200×1000. As plastic is moisture resistant, therefore are highly weather resistant. The ideal choice for outdoor applications where water can be an issue.

 

ISO Standards

The ISO (International Standards Organisation) has implemented its own set of standards to sit alongside the dimensions of the Euro pallet and other sizing standards. The ISO has identified six pallet measurements for sending goods around the world:

  • 800×1200 for Europe
  • 1000×1200 for Europe and Asia
  • 1067×1067 for North America, Europe and Asia
  • 1100×1100 for Asia
  • 1165×1165 for Australia
  • 1219×1016 for North America

It’s important to consider what you are transporting and where you are sending the shipment to.

Heat Treatment and ISPM15

There is a risk of introducing and spreading pests and diseases through the transportation of goods, via infested wooden packaging materials.

To combat this, the IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention) developed ISPM15, to address the needs of heat treating wooden materials that are used to ship products between countries, which hopes to prevent the international transportation of diseases and insects.

We have a whole article dedicated to ISPM15, which you can read here.

New or Used Pallets?

There are two main options when it comes to purchasing pallets, these are either new or used.

Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but depending on your shipment needs, one may be more beneficial than the other.

New Pallets

New pallets are often built to the customers’ requirements. Designed to be as efficient as possible for the customer, ordering pallets and delivery couldn’t be simpler. At PR Pallets, we produce all pallets ourselves from our purpose-built facility in Essex. Simply click here to request a quote, and your pallets could be available for dispatch within 24 hours. 

If it’s important that you require brand new pallets built to your specific needs, these may be the better option as opposed to the more cost-effective reconditioned pallets.

Used Pallets

Used pallets, or reconditioned pallets, are already in the pallet network and therefore have been used previously. These pallets offer huge price savings for customers that do not require a new pallet. Reconditioned pallets can vary in size, meeting many customers needs at a very attractive price.

This is why they are often the first choice for many customers.

Pallet Protection

Now that you have chosen the right pallets to suit your exporting requirements, it’s a good time to consider pallet protection to help secure your shipment and protect your goods during transport.

At PR Pallets we offer pallet collars, the ideal solution for storing, packing and shipping products that require protection on a pallet.

Constructed from wooden boards and metal hinges, pallet collars are an efficient and modern solution to traditional wooden boxes. These are then stacked on top of pallets to form box-type storage. PR Pallets can supply pallet collars new and used. We offer sizes 1200×800 to fit a Euro size pallet, and also 1200×1000 to fit a UK size pallet.

 

 

 

 

 

So that’s our ultimate guide to pallets. For more information, contact the team today on 01992 761 116.

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