Types of pallets

Types of pallets

The standard UK wooden pallet measures  120x100 which was 4 feet by 3 feet 6 inches in imperial measurements.  They come in a wide range of weight ratings. Some pallets are very flimsy but others will hold 2 or 4 tons. The blue Chep pallets are of a very high quality. Typically it is a 4 way pallet. You can get 26 pallets on a standard trailer.

Euro pallets measure 120x80. They are typically of very heavy duty construction. Although they are very strong they should be avoided for shipping top heavy machinery such as milling machines or big bandsaws as the narrow footprint can make them unstable.

Pallets are traditionally made of wood. This has many advantages. They are cheap to make. They are non slip so won’t slide around on the back of the lorry or on the forks of the forklift. Wooden pallets are very easy to repair. They are fully recyclable. Pallets are often used as a source of wood for heating. They are also much valued for pallet furniture and making fences. Drawbacks are that some countries like Australia and now the USA are insisting on pallets being heat treated. This adds to the cost and certificates need to be provided as proof that they were treated properly.

Plastics pallets are becoming a popular alternative especially for export and the food industry as they are easy to clean and don’t need to be heat treated. They are typically made from recycled plastic. They do have a few drawbacks. They are pretty heavy and impossible to repair. Plastic pallets are also very slippery and can slide around on the lorry or on the forks of the forklift. Plastic pallets are also very difficult to recycle unless they are sent to a specialist recycler. Definitely of no use to a home DIY enthusiast.

IBCs are a very clever design. They are basically a plastic tank in a metal frame built onto a pallet base. They typically hold 1000 litres. They are used to transport bulk liquids. Everything from water to bio diesel and weedkiller.

Stillages are basically metal pallets with a cage on top. They flat pack for easy storage. They are used for shipping all sorts of things. Everything from magazines to firewood and even pound coins to the royal mint! Stillages will stack 3 or 4 high.

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