Pallets are the most used base when handling products and their storage in rack units. Pallets made of wood dominate product palletisation. Lately, though, plastic pallets are gaining ground and can be made from recycled materials. Finally, certain sectors use metal pallets, which are obviously more resistant. On the downside, they are heavier and cost more.
When choosing the best type of pallet for a warehouse, besides the material it is made of, it is also fundamental to keep pallet size in mind. According to the product type, the storage system and the regulations in each country, one type pallet may be more suitable than another. For example, European countries mostly use a format called the European pallet or Euro pallet. With standardised 1,200 mm long by 800 mm wide measurements, this pallet offers large-scale advantages by being combinable with any storage system.
Standardised European pallet sizes lead to pallet load optimization. After all, when product arrives pre-boxed, this makes it easier to stack them on pallets,—provided the box sizes come in 800 x 1,200 mm in sub-multiples.
Generally, it is best to create the biggest load units possible to minimise the movement of goods. Pallets, as well as containers, are used to do so.
The most commonly used pallets are made of wood. There are numerous models on the market, with different sizes and finishes.
Metal pallets are the mostly used in the automobile industry and in metal works processes.
When comparing pallets made of plastic over those made of wood, plastic ones have certain advantages (lighter weight, easier to clean, etc.). However, there are also disadvantages to think about.
Within Europe, the UNE-EN-13689 standard establishes the building criteria for pallets and the standard size of the euro pallet (800 x 1,200 mm).
Proper stacking of goods on pallets is crucial to ensure the palletised unit remains stable.