Pallets are platforms created from wood, metal, or plastic that can be used to store or ship items. There are two organizations that regulate pallet sizes to streamline their use across the globe, these are The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). If a non-standard pallet is needed, one that requires dimensions that differ from standards set by these organizations, it is called a custom pallet. Custom pallets are built to the size and material specifications of the person or business that will use them.
There are several reasons why a business could need custom pallets. If the item is larger than approved pallet sizes or requires crating before shipment, traditional pallets or crates may not be an option. The weight of an item can also require pallet materials to be customized. The heavier the item to be moved or stored, the stronger the pallet materials should be.
The majority of pallets used today are built from wood. Recycling these wood pallets reduces the amount of new wood needed for custom pallets. On average, one tree will produce only six new wood pallets. The cost of recycled pallets may also be lower due to the reduced cost of materials during the building process.
To manage pallet costs, a company can also repair existing pallets in order to maintain the quality and functionality of these specially made items. When this is done, any damage that may cause reduced strength is fixed. This could include replacing the top planks, bottom planks, or brace boards. Pallet repair can be an economical choice for a business, since the cost of repair could be far less than ordering custom pallets created from new wood, metal, or plastic.
Plastic pallets can also be ordered in custom sizes. Plastic pallets are created through a molding process that requires liquid plastic, most often polyurethane, to be poured into a computer-generated mold, sized to the dimensions required by the business. The resulting pallet is often fire-proof and nearly indestructible. A plastic pallet can last up to eight times longer than a wood pallet, however, the cost of a plastic pallet may be higher than that of a wood pallet.
Both wood and plastic pallets are used throughout the world. The wood pallet can be used to store and ship nearly any item. The plastic pallet is often chosen by businesses that require sanitary storage and shipment of materials. Plastic custom pallets can be sanitized while wood pallets cannot.