Pallet logistics makes up an important part of the materials handling industry. A pallet can be described as a horizontal platform device that is used as a base for transporting, handling, storing and assembling both products and materials as a unit load. In addition to this, pallets are designed to ensure that no damage occurs to a good when another pallet is loaded on top of it. This is thanks to the coverage it boasts at the bottom deck of the pallet.
If you take a look on the internet you will see that there is a wealth of pallets for you to choose from. You can choose between various sizes, designs and so on and so forth. However, one of the main decisions you must make is what material you are going to go for. The two chief options at your disposal are plastic pallets and wooden pallets. This post will assess the advantages and disadvantages associated with both in order to help you make the right decision for your warehouse and transportation needs. So, keep on reading to find out all you need to know…
There are many advantages associated with the use of wood pallets. One of the main reasons people opt for this type of pallet is because it tends to be the least expensive. This is ideal for those purchasing on a budget. Wood pallets are also easy to repair, which represents another way in which you can save money if you go for this option. All you need to do is remove and replace one of the broken wood boards, rather than replace the pallet as a whole. In addition to this, wood offers benefits in relation to recycling. The wood used to construct the pallet can be collected from recycled materials and once the pallet is no longer needed it can then be recycled into paper and mulch.
Aside from this, wood boasts other benefits in the sense that it is a lot easier and quicker to construct. This is especially significant for those who are using a substantial number of pallets. On the whole wood is strong and robust. It also offers a greater level of security because they boast a high level of friction, this is even more so the case when compared with plastic. This ensures that the products or materials do not easily slide off when they are on the pallet.
Nevertheless, whilst there is clearly a wide array of advantages associated with wood pallets, there are also some negatives you need to bear in mind as well. There are several issues that you can experience with wood. One of the main problems is the fact that wood is an organic material and consequently it can quickly warp, weaken or splinter. Thus, whilst you may save money in relation to your initial start up costs, you may actually end up spending more because of continual reordering costs.
The individuals who handle the pallets often experience nasty surprises because of protruding nails or splinters. Needless to say, a nail or splinter digging in your hand is not a pleasant experience. Aside from this, wood pallets are extremely difficult to clean. This is because bacteria and fungus is encouraged to grow when wood becomes wet. Last but not least, wood has to be treated in order to be shipped internationally because wood can contain invasive species of insects or plant diseases.
Plastic pallets also offer an excellent solution to pallet logistics. One of the best things about plastic is the fact that it lasts for a long time. You can expect to get at least ten years of use out of plastic pallets, thus you can save money in the long run. Plastic also provides you with another way to reduce your expenditure by reducing shipping costs, as plastic is approximately 30 per cent lighter than wood. You also don’t have to deal with interruptions in delivery. When shipping wood you have timber pallet regulations to contend with.
Aside from the points that have been mentioned, it is also worth noting that plastic is safe to handle, as you don’t have to worry about chipping, splinters and screw nails. Plastic is also resistant to chemicals, such as alkalis and acids, and thus they can be cleaned easily. In order to remove bacteria plastic pallets can be chemically sanitised, steam cleaned or hot washed. If that wasn’t enough, they are entirely recyclable and can be turned back into a new pallet.
As mentioned earlier in the article, plastic is more expensive than wood, and thus the start up costs can be substantial. Thus, this is an obvious downside. In addition to this, another disadvantage is the fact that plastic pallets cannot be easily repaired. If the plastic breaks or cracks, you would have to melt it down and re-mould it in order to make another one. This is obviously a lengthy and inefficient process and thus would lead most people to purchasing a new pallet instead.
As touched upon earlier, plastic does not boast as much friction as wood does. This is detrimental because the materials and products can easily end up sliding or falling off the pallet if you are not carefully. Thus, this is something you should be wary of. Moreover, you need to be sure you purchase quality plastic otherwise the pallet can easily be too weak and susceptible to breakages.
So there you have it – all you need to know about the advantages and disadvantages associated with both wood and plastic pallets. When selecting the right material for your transportation and warehousing needs there is no right or wrong solution. It is all about finding what works for you. After all, whilst wood pallets may be cheaper to begin with, you may find that plastic pallets save you more money in the long run. So, make sure you assess everything as a whole. If you do this you can’t go wrong!