Pallets are plastic platforms used to transport and store all kinds of products and goods. They are popular in many industries, among them industrial manufacturing, packaging and assembly, retail goods and services, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, food and beverage, architecture, construction and more. Pallets are available in standard configurations. However, many customers benefit more from custom pallets designed specifically to serve individual purposes. Custom pallets and custom skids can be uniquely designed to accommodate all the features of a load, such as weight, shape, and size. In the past, pallets and skids were exclusively made from wood. However, wooden pallets and skids are becoming rarer as plastic pallets are replacing them. Plastic pallets offer many advantages over wooden pallets, such as the fact that they are more durable, are easier to clean, harbor fewer bacteria, and can more easily be reused. For that reason, we will focus mainly on custom plastic pallets from here on out.
Quick links to Custom Pallets Information
Custom Pallet Process
Most often, plastic custom pallets are made either from high density polyethylene or high density polypropylene, both of which are very strong and durable materials. To make custom pallets, pallet manufacturers typically engage in one of six different plastic fabrication processes. These processes are compression molding, injection molding, rotational molding, structural foam molding, thermoforming and profile extrusion. The most popular pallet forming processes in this list are compression molding and injection molding. The first process, compression molding, begins by heating plastic pellets until they become molten. After the pallets have melted, they are placed as one in a heated, open mold chamber. Then, the mold is closed either by a plug member or a top force and subjected to extreme pressure. While under pressure, the molten plastic material compresses and makes contact with every area of the mold, thus taking on its shape. Held down by pressure and heat, the plastic stays in this position until it has cured. Next, injection molding begins just like compression molding–with the melting of plastic pallets. After this, the process changes and it is no longer exactly like compression molding. To continue injection molding, the newly molten plastic is injected into a mold or split die cavity. Once inside, the mold is clamped shut and the plastic is held in place under high pressure until it cools and solidifies. To further customize the pallet-making process, pallet manufacturers can design the mold to have a unique, application-specific shape; they can also mix in additives with the plastic pallets while being heated to change their physical or mechanical properties. Additives can, for example, make custom pallets more durable, more UV resistant, more waterproof, or virtually anything else. The other listed methods are used less frequently because they are not as quick or easy to carry out.
Applications of Custom Pallets
Custom pallets can be specialized in a number of different important ways beyond weight, shape, and size. One major area of focus in the custom pallet world in compliance with health and safety regulations. Some custom pallets may, for instance, be engineered with chemical inertness and bacteria resistant properties. This is a popular customization option for those working in pharmaceutical companies, food processing plants, or restaurants. Custom pallets like these typically comply with FDA standards of safety and cleanliness. Similarly, customers may pay for their custom pallets to be infused with corrosion-resistant and flame retardant properties to meet important workplace safety standards. In addition to seeking to meet the standards of health and safety regulations, companies also order custom pallets for brand recognition. This is especially true of large scale distribution operations, such as food and beverage suppliers, who wish to have their brand emblazoned on the pallets in which their products are shipped and stored. To that end, manufacturers can create pallets using any logo, printed company name, and color. To accommodate overseas shipping, manufacturers can also engineer custom pallets to fit the standard dimension requirements of countries and unions outside of the United States and Canada, such as Europe, which mostly uses the Euro pallet.
Things to Consider When Choosing Custom Pallets
Are you ready for your business to thrive with hardy, recognizable and compliant custom pallets? If so, get in contact with a top-notch pallet company, such as one of those listed on this page, in order to get your questions answered. Any company listed here will take the time to listen to your specification and requirements and figure out the best fit for your application.