If you work in logistics or manufacturing, then you should know about the importance of the pallets. Pallets are the materials in the supply chain. These pallets are used for the transportation of goods. On the other hand, pallets are also used for storing goods and product displays in physical stores. It is important to choose the right pallet for your use in your supply chain that ultimately fits beneficial for the industries in the long run.
Commonly, pallets are available in the market depending on their structure, production material, and size. The design of the pallets proves a great fit for material-handling equipment, pallet jacks, and forklifts. Pallets are made from various materials, but the common materials are plastics and wood. Both these have pros and cons, which will help you make informed decisions while you purchase them for your industrial business.
Plastic Pallets vs. Wooden Pallets
When you choose between wood pallets and plastic pallets, it depends on their weight, durability, environmental impact, and cost. Let’s have a deep look at plastic pallets and wooden pallets and go through their differences.
A plastic pallet is a flat piece that is made up of plastic materials. These materials include PP and HDPE. Both these plastic types are known for their durability and strength. These pallets are moisture and bacteria-resistance. They also get no contaminants from their environment. These custom plastic pallets can be easily molded into various sizes and shapes and are easy to sanitize and clean.
Custom plastic pallets are more expensive than wooden pallets, i.e., 3 times more expensive. The uses of plastic pallets include transporting frozen and fresh foods, pharmaceuticals, and some other products. The surface is sleek so it is not easy to stack and makes the surface of the pallet slippery. If the load weight exceeds 1500 lbs., these pallets are not easy to use.
Advantages of Plastic Pallets
- Long-lasting and Durable
They are known for their high durability and can withstand heavy loads over an extended period.
- Moisture Resistance
They are impervious to moisture, making them ideal for industries with humid or damp storage environments.
- Pest and Chemical Resistance
These pallets are not susceptible to pests, insects, or chemical damage. This ensures the integrity of the goods being transported or stored.
- Consistent Size and Shape
These pallets are manufactured with precise dimensions. It allows for easier and more efficient stacking and storage.
- Easy to Clean
They can be easily cleaned and sanitized, which is crucial in industries where hygiene is a top priority. These industries include food and pharmaceuticals.
- Plastic pallet weight capacity
These pallets are generally lighter than their wooden counterparts. The lightweight saves the handling and transport costs.
- Less Risk
There are no splinters, protruding nails, or sharp edges in the pallets. This minimizes the risk of injury to workers and damage to goods.
Some pallets are produced using recyclable materials. They can be recycled for use. This contributes to sustainable logistics practices.
Disadvantages of Plastic Pallets
- High Initial Cost
They have a higher upfront cost compared to other pallets. It is a significant factor for businesses on a tight budget.
- Environmental Concerns
The production of these pallets involves the use of fossil fuels. So, they can cause environmental damage.
- Limited availability
In some areas, it may be more challenging to find suppliers for these pallets.
- Less flexibility
They have less flexibility. These pallets require equipment for repair.
They are non-biodegradable. So, they do not break down easily over time.
- Limited Load-Bearing Capacity
It is not suitable for heavy loads. These include wooden pallets of certain types.
- Potential for Contamination
While they are resistant to moisture, some chemicals, and pests, certain substances may interact with them. This affects goods being stored or transported.
A wooden pallet is a hard piece of wood that is useful for storing materials and goods and shipping them from one place to another. These include a flat deck that is balanced using blocks or parallel boards. These are known as runners. Wood pallets are made of hardwood or pine which are long-lasting and durable materials. These pallets are effectively used to shift goods from one place to another. These pallets can be easily stacked on each other. You can easily replace and repair them if they are damaged. Thus, it is the best choice for industrial businesses.
Advantages of Wooden Pallets
These pallets are cheap and affordable. It is an economical choice for various businesses that is budget-friendly.
- Widespread Availability
They are widely available and can be sourced easily in most regions. It is a convenient option for businesses with regular shipping needs.
- Eco-Friendly and Sustainable
These word pallets are manufactured from a renewable source that is called wood. They can be recycled, reused, and repaired for several uses.
- Easy to Repair
They can be easily repaired if damaged. These pallets can be made according to the various load sizes and requirements.
- Good Traction
They provide better traction which can be important for stability during transportation.
These pallets are biodegradable and will naturally decompose over time. They reduce their long-term environmental impact.
- Less Weight
These pallets are easy to carry because they are lightweight. Due to their lightweight, these pallets are used in transportation and are cost-effective.
They have a degree of shock absorption. It is beneficial for fragile goods, as they can help cushion against impacts.
- Suitable for Heavy Loads
They are well-known for their high load-bearing capacity, making them suitable for heavy items and stacks.
- Custom Sizes Available
These pallets can be made to specific dimensions, ensuring they fit precisely within storage or transportation systems.
- Nailing and Fastening Possibilities
They can be easily secured with nails or fasteners, providing extra stability for larger or irregularly shaped loads.
- Easy to Handle
These pallets are easily handled. They reduce the learning curve associated with using a different material.
Disadvantages of Wooden Pallets
- Susceptible to Moisture
These pallets absorb water and result in rotting, fungi or mold growth, and warping. This makes them less suitable for damp or humid environments.
- Limited Longevity
These pallets have a shorter lifespan when they are exposed to extreme weather environments.
- Cause Pest Infestations
They invite pests like rodents, ants, and termites. This compromises the integrity of the pallet and potentially contaminates stored goods.
- Splinters and Protruding Nails
They can develop splinters and nails may become exposed. This poses a safety risk to workers handling the pallets and the goods being transported.
- Environmental Impact
While wood is a renewable resource, the production and disposal of these pallets can contribute to deforestation and environmental degradation.
- Less Resistance to Chemicals
They can be damaged by certain chemicals or substances. This limits their use in specific industries or applications.
- Maintenance Requirements
They require regular maintenance, including repairs, painting, and treatment to prolong their lifespan.
- Limited Recyclability
They have less recycling ability because this recycling process for wood is less efficient and more complex.
- Less Customization
These can be modified. They are generally less adaptable and can be molded to specific shapes and sizes.
Which is the Better Choice to Use?
Plastic pallets offer various advantages and benefits compared to wood pallets. The choice of the pallet depends on what is the use of different types of pallets. If the pallet is being utilized to send products overseas with a low likelihood of return, the lightest and least expensive option would be optimal. However, if the pallet is to be utilized for several journeys to the same retailers or at your warehouse, a more robust option is the more cost-effective option.
Why We Need Pallets?
If you have to transfer large quantities of goods or pieces from place to place. Then it is required to use these pallets. A pallet requires shipment without any need for the protective layers. First, you have to establish the touch with other pallets that are already placed in the trucks so, they can easily slide from the cargo. As long as nothing protrudes from the pallet’s side, it will protect your shipment.
Determining whether plastic pallets are superior to wood pallets or vice versa is a complex decision that is dependent on several factors. In recent years, plastic pallets have become popular in the agricultural and food industry. However, due to the price differential between the two varieties, wood pallets remain the most common unit load. Other types of pallets, such as containers and even metal pallets, are available on the market in various sizes and designs. With this diverse range, you can select the pallet that best meets your logistics requirements to improve your supply chain.