What is a Plastic Pallet?
  • News
  • April 3, 2019

Are you new to plastic pallets industry or a professional who want to learn more about pallets?

Well, you’ve come to the right place.

In this plastic pallet guide, you’ll learn 8 important facts about this product. It has all the information
you need to know compiled in one place.

Here is a summary of what you’re doing to learn:

  • What is a plastic pallet?
  • Types of plastic pallets
  • Best plastic pallet material
  • Plastic pallets manufacturing process
  • Features of plastic pallets
  • Advantages & disadvantages of plastic pallets
  • Where to buy plastic pallets
  • Future of plastic pallet market

With this information, I am convinced that you’ll be a professional in the plastic pallet industry.

Again, as you read this guide, in case you find any concept difficult to understand, don’t hesitate to
ask us.

So, let’s begin exploring these facts:

What is a Plastic Pallet?

A pallet is a structure that facilitates mechanical handling of goods by front loader, forklift, jack, etc.
They are made from either wood or plastics.

Therefore, plastic pallets are those that are made from plastic material.

Here is exactly what I am talking about:

As you can see, the three plastic pallets are quite different based on design, color and type of
application.

So, what does this imply?

There is a range of factors that define a plastic pallet.

For instance, telling an oil manufacturing company to purchase a plastic pallet is not enough.
You need to be very specific as to the exact type of plastic pallet they should use.
That is, companies exporting products in drums should use drum plastic pallets.

Therefore, let’s give plastic pallets an in depth meaning by exploring the fundamental aspects I had
listed earlier.

Types of Plastic Pallets

Have you read my blog post on 12 Types of Industrial Plastic Pallets for Supply Chain
Management?

You should read it today.

This is because you’ll know all the types of plastic pallets available in the market.

With this information, you can choose a pallet that will optimize product handling in any supply
chain.

Still, I’ll make a quick summary of what to expect from that blog in case you don’t have time to read
it right now.

Some of the most common types of plastic pallets include:

Types of Plastic Pallets Based on Application

You can choose from drum plastic pallets, export plastic pallets, display plastic pallets, spill control
plastic pallets, hygienic plastic pallets, RFID plastic pallets, anti-static plastic pallets, shipping
plastic pallets, transport plastic pallets, etc.

Plastic Pallet Types Based on Design

I want you to note that even the above plastic pallets have unique designs and shapes. Take for
instance, the display plastic pallets and drum plastic pallets.

They have unique designs, hence you can classify them based on design.
Here, you may consider the following plastic pallets: stackable plastic pallets, rackable plastic
pallets, nestabl plastic pallets, double side plastic pallets, nine legs plastic pallets, picture frame
plastic pallets and three runner plastic pallets.

Types of Plastic Pallets by Type of Material

We have High-density polyethylene (HDPE) and Polypropylene (PP) as the most common plastic
material in the industry.

However, you may opt for recycled plastic pallets.

Recycled plastic pallets are made from used plastic materials therefore you have a mixture of
HDPE and PP materials.

Plastic Pallet Types Depending on the Manufacturing Process

Broadly, you can classify plastic pallets as injection molded, thermoformed or blow molded plastic
pallet.
Each molding process imparts different properties on the plastic pallet.
Honestly, all information about types of plastic pallets can be a guide of its own and I have one for
you already – the 12 types of industrial plastic pallets.
You can read it and let me know if you have any questions.
hat’s why I am here – to help you be a professional in the plastic pallet industry.

Best Plastic Pallet Material

When it comes to choosing the best materials for plastic pallets, you may choose from HDPE and
PP plastics. The choice of a particular material will depend on what and where you intend to use
the plastic pallets.

Again, you’ll choose either 100% virgin or recycled plastic material.

So, what’s the difference between the two?

100% Virgin Plastic Material

100% virgin HDPE or PP materials guarantee superior performance than the recycled plastic
pallets.

That is, such plastic pallets are molded from only one type of material.

As a result, the plastic pallets are durable, strong, guarantee superior performance and
dimensionally stable.

Recycled Plastic Material

This is a mixture of used plastic pallet material. That is, you may mix PP and HDPE material
amongst others.
Such plastic pallets are cheaper than those molded from virgin plastic pallets.
They are characterized by weak molecular structure, inferior performance and difficulty in
controlling the individual properties of constituent materials.
Compared to plastic pallets made from 100% virgin materials, these pallets have a short lifespan.
Again, choosing a specific material will depend on the specific criteria you want the plastic pallets to
meet.

In most cases, you will have two main options:

1. 100% Virgin HDPE Material for Plastic Pallets

HDPE plastic pallets are popular due their affordable price besides the unmatched performance.
They are suitable for closed-loop product handling processes.
Compared to PP plastic pallets, HDPE plastic pallets are affordable.

2. 100% Virgin PP Material for Plastic Pallets

PP plastic pallets are harder and rigid than HDPE.
They are suitable for high temperature applications.
These plastic pallets are suitable for holding heavy loads in racking systems.
Normally, we advise our clients to choose plastic pallets depending on their unique application
requirements.

For instance, in situations where you don’t expect plastic pallets to be returned to the facility, go for
recycled plastic pallets.

Plastic Pallets Manufacturing Process

What is the best plastic pallet manufacturing process?
This is a common question that worries most plastic pallet OEM clients.
The truth is; adopting a specific manufacturing process will define a plastic pallet in the sense that it
determines the physical properties, design and shape of plastic pallets.

Below is a video showing the actual process in the plastic pallet manufacturing process:
As professionals in the plastic pallet manufacturing industry, we can recommend a manufacturing
process based on many factors.

These may include the benefits, features and production cost.

Let’s review some of the most common plastic pallet molding processes:

We use injection molding for large volume orders, especially those with standard sizes.
The molding process is highly recommended for orders of at least 50,000 units.

Also, this process is a perfect choice for high performance and durable plastic pallets to be
manufactured from 100% virgin HDPE plastic.

Most injection molded plastic pallets are known for superior dimension and high impact resistance.

Even though the process is expensive, it guarantees high plastic pallet manufacturing speed.
Once you have the right mold, the molding process is super-fast.

Even though thermoforming is cheap and popular in most plastic pallet manufacturing industries,
the plastic pallets are not suitable heavy weight applications.

However, the production cycle is lower compared to the injection molding plastic pallets.
It is a process that is popular due to lower cost of tooling and plastic pallets show little or no
damage when hit by a forklift.

To learn more about this process, you can read my blog on: Thermoformed Plastic Pallet
Manufacturing Process You Should Know. I have outlined 5 critical aspects you need to know
about thermoforming plastic pallets.

Blow Molding Plastic Pallets

Blow molded plastic pallets are a perfect choice for cold supply chain. The blow molded plastic
pallets resemble twin-sheet plastic pallets.

Remember, twin wall plastic pallets are durable. They can handle heavy loads.
The good news is that you can use blow molding to make plastic pallets with the same features as
twin wall.

Furthermore, the blow molding process will cost about 10% to 13% less.

Again, I have another vital resource for you: Blow Molded Plastic Pallet: Why it is Durable than
Injection Molded Pallets?

You should read this before you buy either an injection molded or blow molded plastic pallet.

Structural Foam Molding Plastic Pallets

Do you need a plastic pallet manufacturing process that offers many benefits as injection molding
and costs less?

You should consider structural form molding process.

We use this when we need plastic pallets for high load capacity racking.

However, these structural foam molded plastic pallets are susceptible to damage when subjected
to high impact.

As you can see, there are so many plastic pallet manufacturing processes to choose from.

In case you find it difficult to choose the right process, feel free to contact our team.

Features of Plastic Pallets

These are important aspects that define plastic pallets.

In fact, they are the attributes that distinguish plastic pallets from wood pallets.

By the way, I think you can learn more about these pallets from my ultimate comparison between
wood pallet and plastic pallets.

Here is a link to this useful wood pallet vs. pallet information: Plastic Pallets vs. Wood Pallets: How
to Cut Costs in Your Next Supply Chain.

For now, let’s list all the key features of plastic pallets:

  • Made from high grade HDPE or PP plastic material that are UV stabilized
  • Many design options available due to flexible molding techniques such as standard and
    custom designs.
  • Plastic pallets are recyclable hence, environmentally friendly
  • Strong and durable structure that support enormous dynamic, racking and static loads.
  • Weather and chemical resistant
  • Dimensionally stable
  • Lightweight – weight is about 50% to 70% less than that of wood.
  • Meets the ISPM 15 standards
  • Impervious to weak acids, alkalis and moisture
  • No splinters or nails

As you can see, plastic pallets have many desirable features, making them a perfect choice for
most supply chain processes.

Remember, their dimensional consistency and long lasting features are some of the main reasons
for their use in the closed loop supply chain.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Plastic Pallets

This guide will not be complete without discussing the advantages and disadvantages of plastic
pallets.

Even though plastic pallets are superior and popular in most product handling applications, they too
have some advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of plastic pallets

  • Long-term investment since they can last
    10 times more than wood pallets
  • Old or broken plastic pallets can be recycled to make new pallets hence, no wastages and environmentally friendly
  • Easy to clean hence, you can maintain high
  • Stackable plastic pallets take less space thus saving both space and cost.
  • Safe and easy to handle since they don’t have splinters, nails or sharp edges.
  • Flexible designs and manufacturing processes thus, you can customize pallets as per your needs.
  • Plastic pallets are exempted from the ISPM 15 regulations thus, all your operations will be seamless without any disruptions during importation and shipping
  • Resistant to chemicals and weather conditions 
  • Easy to handle since they have 4 way forklift entry

Disadvantages of plastic pallets

  • High initial cost compared to wood plastic pallets
  • Once broke or extensively damaged, the best option is to recycled the material, which can be expensive
  • May get slippery if not properly designed hygiene standards
  • Lighter thus easy to transport and save on
  • Wood pallets, especially those reinforced with steel are stronger than plastic pallets

From the above, you can see that plastic pallets have many advantages than disadvantages.

It is actually for this reason that most product distributors consider plastic pallets as a perfect
choice.

When you look at the bigger picture, plastic pallets are suitable for applications where a business
intends to use them for more than 5 years.

Where to Buy Plastic Pallets

There are many companies that design, mold and supply plastic pallets. Most of them do not have
high quality plastic pallets.

It is important that you buy plastic pallets from the original manufacturer.
This way, you will interact directly with the technical team and access all information pertaining to
the quality manufacturing process.

Furthermore, you’ll get the best price in the market.

This is an over 2000 words guide that explains in details the following:

  • How to source for plastic pallets from China
  • Evaluating the types of plastic pallets
  • Types of plastic pallet material
  • Choosing plastic pallet with the right load capacity
  • Assessing plastic pallet quality and compliance
  • Benefits of plastic pallets
  • Prices of plastic pallets

Furthermore, I have included 9 different sources of information in this plastic pallet buying guide.

For sure, this is a must read plastic pallet buying guide.

The Future of Plastic Pallet Market

With many countries adopting the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15
(ISPM 15) regulations, it will prove quite difficult to use wood pallets.

This leaves all players in the supply chain with no option but to use plastic pallets.

According to a research published on TechNavio, the global plastic pallet growth is expected to be
about 7% by 2020.

As a matter of fact, businesses in the plastic pallet distribution industries can take advantage of this
growth.

For instance, the shipping and logistics companies can use plastic pallets as a sure way of a
sustainable business growth.

I believe at this point, you give an accurate and comprehensive answer to the question – what is
plastic pallet?

I guess you should.

Conclusion

Plastic pallets play an integral role in the supply chain.

Therefore, knowing all the vital aspects about plastic pallets is important whenever you’re shopping
for a quality product handling equipment.

For any inquiries about plastic pallets, feel free to contact us.

Our mission is to provide the world with safe and reliable transportation and storage of plastic products, to provide customers with a full range of logistics and warehousing solutions.

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