Pallets are platforms, primarily made of plastic, that are used to store and transport products and goods both domestically and abroad. They are important to most industries, including agriculture, food and beverage, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, packaging and assembly, construction, retail goods and services, medicine, and architecture. The term “export pallets” refers to any pallets that have been approved for export and shipping outside of the country.
Quick links to Export Pallets Information
Export Pallet Benefits
Export pallets are not typically made from wood; they are almost exclusively made from plastic. There are a few reasons that plastic is so popular a material choice in pallet fabrication. It is easier to create uniform stackable pallets from plastic, which may be molded or extruded, than from wood. Because most plastic export pallets are both stackable and nestable, they take up less space in a warehouse, which in turn leaves more room for other goods and equipment. Another reason that plastic material is used more often than wooden material to make export pallets relates to international standards. Because export pallets are so often employed for one way air freight shipping, they are required to meet many more and much stricter standards than average warehouse pallets. The international standards set for wood packaging under ISPM (International Standards for Phytosanitary Measurements) 15 dictate that all wood packaging being shipped internationally must be heat treated and stamped with an official mark from the IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention). Heat treatment is a somewhat expensive process and it slows manufacturing down. Plastic pallets, however, do not have to be heat treated, and thus they are cheaper and quicker to produce than wood pallets. Furthermore, hardwood is becoming an increasingly expensive and difficult material to obtain, while plastic costs remain the same. Also, when export pallets are sent out, as noted before, they are not typically sent back. Before plastic pallets were the norm, this fact could cause a lot of unnecessary waste. Now that plastic pallets are the norm, however, receiving manufacturers can reuse these pallets.
Design of Plastic Export Pallets
Most often, plastic export pallets are made either from high density polyethylene or high density polypropylene, both of which are very strong and durable materials. To make these 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. Typically, manufacturers choose either compression molding or injection molding. Compression molding begins with heating plastic pellets, which must be heated until they melt. After the pallets have melted, the molten plastic is placed in a heated, open mold chamber. Then, the mold is closed by a plug member or a by top force and then put under extreme pressure. During this step, the molten plastic material compresses and makes contact with every mold area, thereby 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 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, custom pallet manufacturers can design the mold to have a unique, application-specific shape; they can also mix in additives with the plastic pallets while they are being heated in order 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.
Things to Consider When Choosing Export Pallets
We would be remiss if we did not mention that, despite all the advantages of plastic pallets, there are still quite a few manufacturers out there who offer molded wood export pallets that are both excellently made and competitively priced while meeting ISPM standards. So, no matter your application or material preferences, there is a pallet manufacturer for you. For the most comprehensive consultations, reach out to one or more of the knowledgeable manufacturers listed near the top of this page. All of those with whom we partner are reputable and skilled. They will be able to take you through all the important factors of your pallet purchase decisions, including if your pallets need to be standard or custom made, what shape your pallets must be, the required dimensions of your pallets, the required load bearing strength of your pallets, what country/countries or region(s) your pallets must be cleared to enter, and what health and safety requirements (other than ISPM standards) to which your pallets must adhere.