How long do plastic pallets last?
That’s the $64,000 question in our industry. Predicting a plastic pallet’s lifespan is both simple and impossible to determine.
Disclaimer: The claim that plastic pallets last forever assumes the following
Plastic Pallets last forever if… there are a lot of “ifs”.
Neither answer is really helpful in the real world of material handling.
However, we do know that when the right pallet is selected for an application and it’s handled appropriately, it will outlast a wood pallet many times over.
At One Way Solutions, we’ve seen pallets in active use that were produced more than a decade ago.
Treat your plastic pallets well and they will return the favor- they’ll last longer and you’ll save money by drastically reducing the frequency of pallet replacement.
We value your option and pallet expertise!
Please leave your comments below and contact us for assistance on finding the perfect plastic pallet for the right price.
To be honest, that’s a tough question. But I understand why you’re asking!
But first, a bit of pallet advice:
The cheapest plastic pallet isn’t necessarily the best plastic pallet for your application!
Considering that approximately 100 people per year die from forklift/pallet injuries, making sure that the pallet we sell is sufficient for it’s application is something we take seriously.
In the past 15 years, there have been dozens of customers that have not taken our pallet advice, only to regret it later. Fortunately, these cases resulted in an exchange for a more durable pallet and were not the result of an injury.
If we put aside the issue of application and look purely at price, we have several plastic pallets that match the ‘up front’ pricing of wood pallets. I say ‘up front’ because plastic pallets also have less tangible cost savings.
Because plastic pallets often weigh less than wood pallets, it costs less money to ship them to your warehouse and to your customers.
Plastic pallet durability is excellent, often outlasting wood pallets. The longer plastic pallet lifespan means you will replace them less frequently- and buying less often saves you money!
All of our pallets are priced competitively, but I’d like to mention one pallet that stands out in our pallet catalog.
Our least expensive pallet is the # PP-O-40-NL5.5 40×48 Nestable Open Deck Light Duty Plastic Pallet. We offer higher quantities of the NL5.5 for less $8 per unit, and it weighs less than 12 lbs.
Pro Tip: less weight means less pallet resin material, that’s less cost for our customers!
One Way Solutions co-designed the NL5.5 plastic pallet to have the lowest possible weight with a high load capacity sufficient for many applications and widespread use. It’s weight to capacity ratio is among the highest in our product offering.
At One Way Solutions, we strive to find cost savings at every opportunity so that we can pass these savings onto our customers. Combined with unparalleled service, we continue to build repeat business as loyal customers return for their plastic pallet needs.
Our very first customer in 2003 is still a customer in 2017.
Please contact us for pricing or info on any of our plastic pallets, including our cheapest one.
You may have seen that some pallets have a solid deck as opposed to the open deck or open grid design. We wanted to review the benefits of the solid deck pallets and dispel a common myth.
Myth: Solid Deck Plastic Pallets are stronger than their open deck counterparts.
Fact: All else being equal, a solid deck and open deck pallet of the same design are equal in loading capacity. It is the vertical rib structure under the deck of the pallet that provides the strength. The solid deck skin equates to a horizontal rib and doesn’t provide much strength at all. This principle can be demonstrated using a square piece of cardboard. It’s relatively easy to bend the cardboard when held horizontally. Now take that same piece and place it on a table vertically and try to bend it. It’s much more difficult.
Here is an example from our plastic pallet offering, the PP-O-40-NL3 and PP-S-40-NL3 pallets. One pallet has an open deck design and weighs 22 lbs, the closed deck pallet weighs 23 lbs.
Despite the additional 1 lbs of plastic and solid deck design, both nestable pallets have identical load capacity ratings: 2200 lbs dynamic and 5500 lbs static.
So then why do we offer solid deck pallets? There are 3 main reasons: Aesthetics, Hygenics, and Small Parts.
Why not just make all your pallet solid deck then?
The answer is simple. It requires more material to close the spaces between the ribs and more material means higher cost, though it’s typically a modest increase.
If you have any questions about whether you need a solid deck plastic pallet or not, please contact us.
We’ve got great pallet handling questions coming in through our articles – keep them coming please!
These inquiries are always interesting because they transcend the more general guidelines set forth by various regulatory agencies.
The latest question was regarding safe pallet stacking; specifically, how to safely calculate maximum pallet loads when stacking pallets.
Q: Hi Robin. We place four 55 gallon drums of juice onto a pallet. Each drum is about 450 pounds. We want to stack these pallets of juice on top of each other in our freezer. How high can we stack these? Since it is sitting on a cement floor I assume this would be figured out as a static load. We have 40 by 48 wooden pallets. Since our finished pallets are not subjected to other forces (Dynamic, conveyors, racking) the static load can exceed the dynamic rating of the pallet. Is this an accurate statement?
Whoa, 1,800 pounds of juice on each pallet is serious business. I can see why this is important; overloaded pallets are dangerous. Plus, upsetting 220 gallons of juice would result in a costly, time-consuming mess.
This is not an accurate statement, necessarily. At some point, you will be moving the juice onto the pallet and stacking the pallets, exceeding the dynamic load during the process could be disastrous and should be avoided.
For safety’s safe, please make sure the following guidelines are followed:
The safe number of laden pallets per stack will depend on your pallet’s load capacities. Please use this formula to calculate the safe number of pallets per stack:
RoundDown (Static Load Per Pallet Total Laden Weight Per Pallet)
Example: Static Load Per Pallet is 10000 lbs, Dynamic Load Per Pallet 2200 lbs, Total Laden Weight Per Pallet is 2100 lbs
Round Down 10000/2100 = Round Down 4.76 = 4 Pallets!
As long as the total weight of the stacks doesn’t exceed the bottom pallet’s Static Load Capacity, you should be fine.
But once you have completed your stack, do not move any multiple pallet stacks unless the bottom pallet load is safely under the Dynamic Load capacity.
Thanks for the question and let us know if you need help finding the most competitive price for your plastic pallets and container bins. We’ll be happy to help you with any performance calculations you may have!
Just when we think that we’ve reached new heights of pallet wisdom, one of our prized customers steps in and pulls us back to earth.
Sure, we routinely optimize pallet shipments to find our pallet buyers the most competitive shipping rates- so why not share that wisdom on our blog?
I am interested in your 24 x 32 Nestable Plastic Semi Pallet Item ; # PP-O-24-NL. I would like to stack several together to achieve a particular height. Your website indicates that one pallet is 5.1″ tall. Can you tell me the height of just the pallet’s deck so I can calculate how many pallets I would need to stack together to achieve a particular height?
One of the most basic, yet elusive calculations we perform is the stack height of plastic pallets. We want to fit as many as possible into the truck that delivers your pallets, to reduce your freight cost per unit.
To calculate the stack height of nestable pallets, you simply need to add the full height of one pallet, plus product of the additional number of units and the pallet’s nesting height.
Total Pallet Units (Quantity): 10
Pallet Full Height Per Unit (Full Height): 5.1″
Pallet Nesting Height (Nesting Height): 1.60″
(1 x Full Height) + ((Quantity-1) x (Nesting Height))
(1 x 5.1) + ((10-1) x (1.6))
= (5.1) + (9 x 1.6)
= 5.1 + 14.4
= 19.5 Inches
Choosing the correct pallet size for your warehouse or industry is simple with our easy-to-understand pallet sizing guide.
There are many plastic pallet sizes in today’s market. Often the requirements of the pallet’s application and industry will help guide the size selection. Many standard pallet sizes were established long ago when wood pallets were the only option. Although industry specific sizes are not necessarily requirements, they are often the most popular and are therefore most commonly used.
Yes! Plastic pallets are quickly growing in popularity – and are even required for some industries. Plastic pallet sizes were initially driven by high volume wood pallet sizes. This is a tremendous benefit to plastic pallet users in all industries; their preferred size is available and offers the natural plastic pallet benefits such as:
There are several reasons for the need to have the pallet made to a specific size.
Trucks and shipping containers have standard sizes. Many pallet sizes are designed to optimize or “max out” the truck’s carrying capacity, shipping as little air as possible to reduce freight expenses.
Match the pallet dimensions to the footprint of product packed for shipping allows a more uniform unit load and reduces product damage. Here are a few industry examples:
The Dairy industry commonly uses 40” x 40” pallets.
The Automotive industry commonly uses 48” x 45” pallets.
Some pallet sizes were created to differentiate against common pallet sizes found in the market. If a pallet is smaller or bigger than a commonly used size, its specialized size can deter pallet theft because its specifications may exclude it from use in certain industries.
Here is a list of popular plastic pallet sizes the industries they serve.
48 x 40 is the most popular pallet size in the United States and is available in greatest variety of styles, from lightweight nestable plastic pallets to heavy duty stackable plastic pallets supporting racking loads greater than 3,000 lbs.
Its widely accepted size easily fits drive / edge racking and beam racking.
A champ for truck loading, 40 x 48 pallets are “pin wheeled” by alternating 40 and 48 in each row for maximum packing density.
48 x 32 pallets, also called “Euro Pallets”, is commonly used for outbound export to Europe and is designed to fit smaller European trucks (lorries), that are smaller than US Trucks.
Widely used, this size is the European version of the US 48” x 40” pallet.
42 x 42 pallets are a less common, specialized size designed to deter pallet theft.
Trivia: 42 x 42 pallets were originally designed for the US Military to transport and store mortar rounds.
48 x 48 pallets nicely fit the footprint of 4 x 55 gallon drums, eliminating the drum hangover that occurs when less optimal 45 x 48 size pallets are used.
48 x 42 pallets are uncommon, but used in certain niche industries.
The Dairy industry commonly uses 40” x 40” pallets, and this no accident. 40″ x 40″ pallets best fit the configurations of stacked milk crates.
Common Industries/Uses: Dairy
The Automotive industry commonly uses 48” x 45”, and this is no surprise. 48″ x 45″ pallets match the footprint of returnable bins/containers (the totes “cube out” nicely on this size) transported to and from auto parts manufacturers and the automobile companies.
Common Industries/Uses: Automotive
45 x 45 pallets are commonly used to transport drums and chemicals. They are also used to transport ocean freight in sea container shipments because their size makes efficient use of the container space, “cubing out” to maximize freight density. With the high cost of a container shipment, it is critical to ship as little air as possible.
44 x 56 pallets, known as bulk beverage container pallets, was one of the first plastic pallet sizes in existence. This pallet size is used to ship empty cans and bottles from the container manufacturers to beverage fillers.
Common Industries/Uses: Beverage
36 x 36, 37 x 37, and 36 x 48 pallet sizes are known as beverage pallets and are frequently used to move filled goods, sized specifically to fit in small bays on soft Coke & Pepsi delivery trucks, and through the doors of retail stores that sell the beverages to consumers.
40 x 24 & 48 x 20 pallets fit nicely on the floor in store aisles, making them a natural choice for Point of Purchase (POP)/Store Displays.
Common Industries/Uses: Retail, Point Of Purchase
Who would have thought there were so many pallet sizes? On second thought, the more you think about the diversity of American industry, the less surprising the variety of plastic pallet sizes seems.
So you’re interested in the different plastic pallet typess? You’ve come to the right place. We’ll provide our plastic pallet expertise to help you understand the differences between the three main types of pallets.
Nestable Plastic Pallet decks are commonly supported by 9 legs and lack runners. Nestable pallet legs are tapered, allowing the legs to nest into one another when stacked. Nestable pallet decks are solid or grated (see also: open, perforated) and are usually designed with nesting registration holes that match the footprint of the pallet legs.
These pallet design features allow empty pallets to stack inside one another, normally achieving a 3-1 ratio, a distinct space saving advantage over a stackable pallet. Some nestable pallets can achieve up a 75% volume reduction during storage and transportation! This space economy reduces the per pallet freight costs & storage space required of empty pallets.
Warning: Nestable Pallets are not designed for double stacking! Stacking nestable pallets on top of sensitive, uneven loads can result is product damage and unsafe working conditions.
Stackable Plastic Pallets are designed to stack on top of each other and do not nest inside one another when empty; perfect for stack loading, static storage, and conveyance in manufacturing, warehousing, and processing environments.
Stackable plastic pallet bases are usually provided with 3, 5 or 6 runners. Pallets with bottom runners travel more safely and consistently through a chain or roller conveyor system. Pallet runners also provide additional support and stability for double stacking loaded pallets. Runners work to more evenly distribute the pallet load for more even stacking, reducing the incidence of product damage.
Rackable Plastic Pallets have bases with runners, a cruciform or 6 runner pallet is most common. Rackable pallets are designed to be placed in perimeter racking where pallets are supported on fours sides, but are not supported in the center.
“All certified mail is registered- but registered mail is not necessarily certified”
– Newman (Jerry Seinfeld’s arch enemy)
Huh? Similarly, Rackable pallets are almost always stackable – but stackable pallets are not necessarily rackable!
Of course every “Rackable” plastic pallet has a racking load capacity, but the suitability of the pallet’s capacity should always be tested for this very important reason:
Pallet capacity changes based on the unique properties of each load-
even with loads of identical weight!
Some rackable pallets are designed with additional support to boost their load capacity. This is achieved in two ways:
Was that helpful? If you have any questions about plastic pallets or need help finding the best pallet at the most competitive price, please contact our friendly Plastic Pallet Experts.
Care to share? We’d love to hear from you – please leave a comment below.
Want to continue learning more about plastic pallets? Here’s an article we wrote on how to determine pallet capacity!
Is your pallet strong enough for the job? In this post, you’ll find pallet capacity explained in plain terms to remove the mystery and uncertainty of finding pallet best suited for your application.
Plastic pallet designs have many variations. The somewhat straightforward wood pallet design, simplified using PDS Pallet Design System software, offers much less design variation / innovation.
Ultimately, the decision making process is similar; always select your pallet design based on the requirements of your specific application.
When choosing a plastic pallet for your application, the manufacturer’s specifications must meet or surpass the cargo weight that is placed on the pallet.
Specific load capacity ratings should be defined in your core requirements. Here are the three most important types of pallet load capacity types to know:
Understanding the 3 types of pallet load ratings is essential to selecting the proper plastic pallet; read on to learn everything you need to know about each one to master plastic pallet selection.
Dynamic Load Capacity is the maximum evenly distributed weight a pallet can hold while being raised by a forklift or hand jack. If your workflow causes you to lift pallets (commonly with fork or jack); consider this your maximum weight capacity.
Tip: Remember, “dynamic” denotes activity or motion.
Pro Tip: This excludes conveyors, unless they lift the pallet upwards.
Static Load Capacity is the measure of weight that the pallet can hold when it is at rest or in a fixed position on an even, level surface (also when stacked). Static Loads do not vary since cargo is static, or at rest.
Tip: Remember, a static pallet is a pallet at rest.
Pro Tip: Don’t get cute! Just because you are stacking individual pallet loads doesn’t mean you’re not exceeding capacity. Remember to calculate your total load based on the total weight your pallet is supporting (including other pallets).
Super Pro Tip: Because dynamic loads are subjected to additional forces, the Static Load Rating is always greater than Dynamic Load Rating.
Racking Load Capacity is the maximum weight a pallet can hold in a racking system (where the center and or/sides of the pallet is unsupported).
Tip: Think of Racking Load Capacity like a bridge’s weight capacity.
Pro Tip: Treat Racking Load ratings as estimates; variations in racking system designs can cause variations in a pallets working Racking Load Capacity.
Don’t go over the maximum rating! Exceeding pallet load capacity ratings can cause the pallet to fail and break, potentially creating seriously undesirable consequences:
Tip: Keep your pallet specification sheets for reference.
Pro Tip: Don’t have your pallet’s specification sheet? Contact our Plastic Pallet Experts for help.
A plastic pallet manufacturers calculated performance specifications are based on an evenly distributed load that covers the pallet’s entire top deck surface. If you follow weight distribution best practices, you should be able operate within the manufacturer’s load ratings.
Some unit loads can cause the working load capacity to fall below the manufacturer’s load capacity.
Here are some loading missteps that can diminish or confuse a pallet’s working weight capacity:
Pro Tip: Stack boxes using “brick stacking” or “cross stacking” formations so the cargo moves as unit for more secure transport and minimize point loading.
Hope that helps! For help in figuring out which plastic pallet is the most cost effective solution for your unit load and material handling environment, contact our friendly Plastic Pallet Experts.
Got a suggestion or question? We’d love to hear from you – what challenges or solutions have you encountered during your material handling adventures?
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law on January 4, 2011.
On April 6, 2016 the FDA finalized its ruling on the Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food.
This ruling establishes formal requirements for the sanitary transportation of food to eliminate, or at least reduce the incidence of, contamination.
This goal of this final ruling is top carry out further implementation of both the Sanitary Food Transportation Act of 2005 and the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011.
The rule aims to prevent transportation practices that increase or create food safety risks, such as:
The ruling applies to these U.S. and foreign entities* involved with rail or motor food transportation within the U.S.:
*Exporters shipping food through the U.S. to other destinations are exempt as long as the food doesn’t enter U.S. distribution.
What does this mean to the average business engaged in the food industry? In part, safety inspections will be both increased in number and in depth. As you may have already guessed, this will most assuredly bring additional costs and complexity to compliance of this act.
One of the main components of the act deals with sanitation in the handling and shipping of food products. Traditionally, the food industry has been dominated by the use of wood pallets in both storage and shipping due to their lower initial cost of purchase. Unfortunately, using wood pallets to handle food has inherent disadvantages that can b that plastic pallets do not.
Here are some of the main points of the Food Safety Modernization Act:
“The owner, operator, or agent in charge of a facility shall, in accordance with this section, evaluate the hazards that could affect food manufactured, processed, packed, or held by such facility, identify and implement preventive controls to significantly minimize or prevent the occurrence of such hazards and provide assurances that such food is not adulterated under section 402 or misbranded under section 403(w).
“Food Transportation Study.–The Secretary, acting through the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, shall conduct a study of the transportation of food for consumption in the United States, including transportation by air, that includes an examination of the unique needs of rural and frontier areas with regard to the delivery of safe food.”
“With respect to an article of food, if importation of such food is subject to, but not compliant with, the requirement under subsection (q) that such food be accompanied by a certification or other assurance that the food meets applicable requirements of this Act, then such article shall be refused admission.”
While specific details are still hard to come by, in terms of the exact sanitary standards derived from the Food Safety Modernization Act, evidence can be found on how plastic pallets provide a clear advantage over wood pallets in complying with the act.
Wood Pallets have the uncanny ability to absorb pretty much every type of liquid or non-solid substance that is placed or spilled on them. While in other industries this may not seem like a big problem, absorbent wood pallets used within the food industry create a number of opportunities for food transported and stored on these pallets to become unsanitary and dangerous. This article on News-Medical.net describes a case of food poisoning caused by wood pallets.
Small business (less than 500 employees and carriers with less than $27.5 million in annual revenue) get a break to ease the burden of compliance and have up to April 6, 2018 to meet compliance, two years after the April 6, 2016 Federal Register publication date.
Other Non-Exempt Businesses
All other non-exempt businesses must meet compliance standards as early as April 6 2017, one year from the the Federal Register April 6, 2016 publication date.
Obviously the new FSMA ruling takes a more solid stance on sanitary food transportation requirements to reduce the risk and incidence of food contamination due to improper material handling practices.
The FDA FSMA Food Safety Technical Assistance Network provides information to help businesses reach compliance.
For our pallet customers, we focus on the following advice:
Transportation equipment, such as pallets, must be adequately cleanable.
Luckily, there is a solution to this challenge. Plastic pallets are non-porous, and easily cleanable. Some of the plastic FDA pallets are even designed specifically with food safety in mind.
While this is a clear advantage over wood pallets, there additional reasons plastic pallets are a natural choice for handling and transporting food:
Here’s a positive Food Safety Magazine article that further details how plastic pallets are ideal for shipping and storing food: http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/index.cfm/signature-series/plastic-pallets-a-safe-play-for-food/
Businesses, as a result, are switching to plastic pallets in record numbers as they try to meet these new requirements for food handling.
To meet with the emergent demand from the Food industry, One Way Solutions, are leading the way in the sale of plastic pallets and FDA plastic pallets.
With 7+ FDA Pallets and containers to choose from, One Way Solutions has you covered.
To shop the full For more information about One Way Solutions and their plastic pallets, click on the following link: http://oneway-solutions.com
Check out our recent article on Listeria Bacteria & Plastic Pallets.
Thanks Palletizers! Please let me know what you think about plastic pallets, FSMA, or anything else on your mind.
Locating a plastic bin supplier online can take some doing. The material handling world knows this product by many different names. Try googling “plastic bins” and “plastic containers”- you’re more likely to find products suited to refrigerating leftover meatloaf, optimizing home closet space, and sorting out fasteners alongside your garage workbench. Bed, Bath, and BeGone!
These residential bins and containers share common nomenclature with industrial plastic bulk containers, but that’s where the similarities end.
Bulk containers, or container bins, are industrial strength shipping boxes specially designed to safely transport both raw materials and finished goods along the different stages of the supply chain.
Reliable plastic bulk containers are essential to any industry that cannot afford waste and inefficiency as products are transported from the manufacturing plant to the floor of the retail store.
Closed loop distribution, processing, and manufacturing systems rely on returnable, reusable packing to limit replacement cost and improve throughput.
Collapsible Bulk Containers are particularly helpful due to their high Return Ratio. Once a container bin has unloaded at its destination, it can be consolidated with other empty bins into a smaller cargo area and returned to the start of closed loop- the beginning of the supply chain.
Return Ratio calculations are made by taking the ratio of the number of collapsed containers that can be shipped in the space of one upright container.
The greater the return ratio, the greater the return shipping cost savings.
Example: A 3:1 container return ratio means that three containers can be shipped in the space of one container during return shipment.
Broken containers can halt production and distribution of products, resulting in angry customers, lost business, and inflated manufacturing costs.
A proper plastic bin is formulated from tough polyethylene and polypropylene resins to create a tough, shatter-resistant bin that will not fail during transport and storage.
And durability doesn’t necessary mean that the plastic pallet boxes are overweight; some bulk containers are made from high-density structural foam and can be lifted with one finger!
Stackable Bulk Containers allow shippers to optimize costly transport and storage space, limiting costs for more profitable operations.
Bulk containers that include 4-Way forklift & pallet jack fort entries allow them to be quickly and securely loaded and moved without delay or spillage.
The automotive, food processing, and agricultural industries rely on bulk containers to provide reliable material movement.
Plastic containers are a natural choice for handling food processing since they can be steam-cleaned for simple sanitization.
Thanks for reading our quick introduction to plastic bins and containers.
No matter what you call them; shipping boxes, plastic skid boxes, bulk bins etc, One Way Solutions can help you find the best container for your needs, at an unbeatable price.
How have plastic containers helped you meet your material handling challenges?
Please share your comments- we’d love to hear from you!