6 min. read
26 Jan 2023
A pallet is a generally flat structure on which goods are placed. Its function is to be a support for logistics management.
It forms the basis of the load unit with which handling and storage operations are carried out. It also performs a function of protecting the goods during shipping.
Thanks to it, it is possible to move large quantities of goods quickly and safely.
Now let's see the different TYPES OF PALLET.
Without a doubt, the wooden pallet is the most widespread and also the most requested. Its light weight and robustness combined with its versatile structure make it easy to handle. It usually has 4 ways that can be forklifted with a forklift (the classic "forklift") and 2 with a pallet truck.
It is made following precise standards, and although there are different sizes and types, the most used are the following:
These dimensions are the most used ever. This pallet is the basis on which the europallet was designed (see below). It is the preferred choice for most storage systems. It weighs approximately 25 kg and can support a maximum load of 1490 kg.
Weight of 33 Kg. Can support a maximum load of 1470 kg.
Weight of 29 Kg. Can support a maximum load of 1920 kg.
Variants of the EUR 1 pallet, they are also widely used in storage systems and are compatible with many types of roller conveyors (even ours). They are mostly found in other countries.
The EUR brand is stamped on these 3 types of pallets, as a distinctive sign for easy recognition.
Wooden pallets can be repaired in the event of partial breakage by replacing the damaged planks. On the other hand, they are flammable and are subject to chemical and bacteriological contamination and insect infestation. To solve this problem they should be treated according to the ISPM 15 directive. This treatment is mandatory for export to some countries.
The need to create optimized handling systems to facilitate international transport and exchanges of goods between companies has prompted the creation of a unified standard. From this need the europallet was born.
Designed according to unified construction criteria, then written in the standard UNI-EN 13698-1, a europallet measures 1,200 x 800 mmweighs about 25 kg and can support loads of up to 1,500 kg. Furthermore, if the load is static and the pallet is not moved, the maximum capacity can reach 4,000 kg. There are rounded corners to offer greater safety.
The europallet derives from the EUR 1 standard and is always treated according to the ISPM 15 directive, to avoid the risk of contamination and infestations. On each of these pallets the EPAL brand is stamped on the four blocks at the corners on the longitudinal side as a quality certification.
The creation of this standard has made it possible to standardize the loading spaces of containers and trailers by creating an approval standard.
Following the development of EPAL 1, the quality assurance offered by this standard has led to the achievement of the same quality even with pallets of different sizes, including EUR 2 and EUR 3, which can now be respectively certified as EPAL 2 (1.200 x 1.000 mm) and EPAL 3 (1.200 x 1.200 mm).
Europallet was designed on the basis of the EUR 1 pallet. Until August 2013, this pallet was marked with the EPAL mark on the left block of the longitudinal side and the EUR mark on the right one. After this date, only the EPAL brand remained impressed on all four blocks on the longitudinal side. Today this mark is applied to all pallets that comply with the standard, certifying their quality.
This brand is an international quality certification that distinguishes the most widespread reusable pallet interchange system in Europe. The EPAL Technical Committee guarantees the quality of the pallets with over 2,600 checks a year in Italy alone (more than 35,000 checks in Europe).
This mark is not exclusive to Euro pallets but is stamped on every type of Euro pallet that meets its quality criteria. This means that a EUR 1 pallet without the EPAL mark is not certified as such, and does not have the same guarantee of quality.
Compared to wooden pallets, plastic ones are lighter and more durable, but more expensive. They are more hygienic than wood and are also washable, for this reason they find application in the food industry.
On the other hand, it is more prone to deformation under heavy loads and cannot be repaired if it breaks. For cleaning it is necessary to use a mechanical solution as there are numerous corners that are difficult to access where dirt accumulates. Finally, in wet environments there is a risk of slipping from forklift forks and racking.
As regards the dimensions, the most used plastic pallets follow the dimensions of the EUR 1, EUR 2 and EUR 3 wooden pallets, although there are different dimensions depending on the goods to be transported.
Metal pallets are used in specific industries and are dedicated to transporting heavy loads.
They are characterized by high strength and excellent durability. They can be made of aluminum, carbon steel and stainless steel. Depending on the intended use, they can have very different dimensions, and many shapes can be stacked together.
The purchase cost is higher than other types of pallets (especially those in aluminum and stainless steel), however, their durability allows you to amortize the initial cost and make these pallets a real long-term investment.
It is necessary to make a particular distinction for this type of pallet, because the sectors of use are very different from each other.
These pallets are usually built according to the criteria and standards of Euro pallets and are used for the transport of pre-assembled heavy components.
Pallets built according to different criteria are subjected to specific treatments according to use.
Although they are made of metal, this category of pallets responds to different and specific transport standards, therefore we have talked about them in a dedicated article.
There are various types of pallets that are used when standard pallets are not suitable for transporting a certain product. They can be made of different materials besides wood, plastic and metal. Thanks to these solutions it is possible to transport practically any type of goods.
Clearly they cannot offer the same level of optimization that standard pallets offer and there may be difficulties in transport and handling, with the need to build dedicated systems.