A pallet is the principal structural interface to store and move unit loads and is an essential packaging material in a warehouse. They serve as the foundation for the storage system and protect goods in the storage facilities from damage by acting as shock absorbers.
History of Pallets
Pallets first appeared in the twentieth century, when users started employing pallets mainly for storage and handling in logistics. As pallets became more popular, they contributed to the current logistics system’s modernisation. Before, products were stacked loosely, which caused more damage and with pallet storage, the efficiency of shipping and transporting goods significantly improved. Companies during that period then:
- Started to reuse pallets.
- Started using pallet collars to double-stack delicate commodities.
- Introduced the idea of pallet pooling.
Types of Pallets
Number of Entry Points
The forklift’s entry points are where it inserts the fork to move a load from one location to another.
- 4 Entry Points: This indicates that a forklift can be used to transfer a pallet from either of its four sides, which are all accessible.
- Only two of the pallet’s opposite sides provide access for the labour. Compared to the pallet with 4 Entry Points, this means less mobility.
- Pallets constructed of wood are the most often used type. They have a market share of between 90 and 95 per cent and are in high demand. They are incredibly dependable and damage-resistant. They are recyclable, easy to fix, and environmentally beneficial. The length of their life cycle is extended as a result. Besides these advantages, the one disadvantage of wooden pallets is how challenging it is to clean them.
- Pallets constructed of plastic are beginning to outperform hardwood pallets. They are more straightforward for users to clean, lighter, recyclable, and more resistant to harm if knocked over. However, they can quickly get distorted and are more expensive. Plastic pallets are not repairable.
- Metal Pallet: Used in the metal industry, these are often built of steel or aluminium. They are the most robust and heavy. They are simple to clean. But the price of shipping goes up because of their weight.
- Pallets made of cardboard are typically used for carrying light goods. They are reusable, recyclable, manageable, and environmentally beneficial. They are the least expensive subtype; however, they only live for a brief time.
- Reversible Pallet: Because they are uniform and homogenous, loads can be placed on them from both the upward and downward sides.
- Pallets that are “closed” by a slab on one of the backs can only be loaded from one side.
- Wing Pallet: Such wing pallets with projections on two to four sides make it easier to utilise a fastening mechanism.
Pallet Storage Methods
- Block stacking: On the warehouse floor, lanes are created by stacking pallets with unit loads on top of each other. The height clearance at which different loads are held depends on the pallet’s condition, its weight, and the forklift’s capability.
- Decks and posts are utilised to construct the stacking frames. These are transportable from one location to another. Unstackable loads are stored using these stacking frames. These frames allow for stacking to enormous heights. During busy times, businesses also use them as temporary racking.
- Single-Deep Pallet Rack: This arrangement makes it easier to access each pallet separately. As a result, personnel can immediately replace each pallet at its location. This rack can be set up in various ways, with each pallet positioned at a different height. Many people employ this technique. Such a system’s only drawback is that it needs a lot of floor space.
- Double-Deep Pallet Rack: This is a double-stacked version of the single-deep rack system. It aids in minimising the need for numerous aisles. Pallets must be removed from the racking using a specific double-reach forklift.
- Drive-In Rack: Each of these holds five to ten pallet loads. It has drive-in lanes that make it easier for a forklift to access the stack to place and remove pallet loads in piles. This makes handling loads more convenient. However, utilising a forklift becomes laborious and time-consuming as less space is offered since it becomes challenging to operate.
Benefits of Palletisation
Pallets give storage businesses a strategic and competitive advantage. Manual storage is an option in the absence of palletisation, but it can take up more space. Therefore, using pallets helps in improving the difficulty of handling items.
The following are some advantages of using pallets:
- Better transportation and on-time arrival or dispatch of products are made possible by quicker unloading and loading. Delivery trucks are more organised and straightforward to manage.
- Palletisation helps mechanise the storage and transportation processes, reducing the need for labour. As a result, manual handling and its issues are greatly diminished.
- Products sensitive to temperature are better protected – Perishable goods being held in warehouses without temperature control have a lower risk of spoiling when stored on pallets.
- Less chance of damage — Pallets act as protective gear, keeping the items secure. They can’t fall or be knocked over because they are appropriately stacked during storage and transportation.
- Workers are safer – With less labour being engaged, there is a reduced risk of worker injuries. This will prevent items from falling on workers or abrasive damage from sharp edges.
- Stacking pallets can be better planned before shipment or even while being transported because practically all pallets have predefined sizes set forth by established criteria.