An overview of pallets
Pallets are a fundamental piece of efficient shipping operations. Simplistic, yet essential to packaging and logistics. So why is the type of pallet you use important?
- Increases warehouse space availability by using airspace in lieu of floor space.
- Decreases employee risk and labor.
- Reduces damage.
- Provides a secure way to properly ship via LTL motor freight.
- Increases overall employee productivity via material handling equipment.
- Reduces product safety through product unitization rather than piece by piece delivery.
The most popular type of pallet is the stringer pallet. Industry standard, according to the Grocery Manufacturer Association (GMA) is the 48 x 40 hardwood stringer pallet.
What is a Stringer Pallet?
Our first type of pallet is the stringer pallet.
The stringer pallet uses “stringers” to support the load. Stringers are boards, typically 2 x 4s or 3 x 4s used between the top and bottom deck boards.
To specify the dimensions of a pallet, first list the length of the stringer first, and then the width (the length of the deck boards). Stringers commonly allow for partial four-way fork entry, which creates what is known as a “4-way” stringer pallet. 4-way pallets give workers more access points to move the load. If the pallet is not “notched,” it is referred to as a 2-way pallet.
If a stringer pallet does not contain deck boards, it is called a skid.
What is a Block Pallet?
The second type of pallet is the block pallet.
Block pallets are 4-way pallets made of solid wood, plywood, or plastic. As such, they tend to be heavier than the stringer pallet. They use blocks to support the top deck boards as opposed to the stringers.
You may hear this pallet referred to as a Manoj pallet, having full or partial 4-way entry. It contains four to twelve blocks that support the wooden deck boards. These pallets range in length based on the application.
Standard vs. Custom Pallets
As mentioned above, the Grocery Manufacturers Association influences the consumer packaged goods industry internationally. Their suggested standard pallet size is 48” x 40” with each deck board being 3-1/2” wide and 5/16” thick. A standard pallet is 6-1/2” tall and can hold up to 4,600 lbs. The next common standard pallet sizes are 42” x 42” and 48” x 48”.
Depending on your application, you may need to consider a custom pallet design. Standard pallets are not always the right fit, and many applications require a pallet as unique as the product sitting on it.
Axis Packaging has a team devoted specifically to crates and pallets ready to take a look at your application and help design a secure foundation for your product. We’ll assess your needs, provide 3D renderings, and even provide sample pallets for you to test.
Learn more about our custom pallet and crate services and schedule some time to talk, or give us a call at 877-410-5564 to get your pallet program into the awesome category.