Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


Plastic pallets in the spotlight

Food safety regulations and automation are driving the plastic pallet market.
By Bob Trebilcock, Executive Editor
March 07, 2013

When it comes to pallets, wood still accounts for most new and used shipping pallets in the market. However, the demand for plastic pallets continues to grow, according to Curt Most, senior product manager for pallets and bulk at Orbis (http://www.orbiscorporation.com).

“Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen an increased interest and steady growth industry wide,” Most says. “It hasn’t been one specific area, but a growing demand in several areas.”

Most identified three trends that are driving the growth of plastic pallets.

Increased regulation: While food and pharmaceutical manufacturers have used plastic pallets for years, new food and drug safety regulations are driving those industries to be more proactive than reactive around product safety and contamination. For instance, the plastic used in food grade pallets now includes barium sulfate that can be detected by x-ray or metal flakes that can be picked up by a metal detector. “If a piece of plastic from the pallet has contaminated a batch of product, it will be picked up as the food or drug passes through a metal detector or x-ray system prior to packaging,” Most explains. The idea is to catch contamination before product goes out the door rather than issue a recall later.

Increased automation: Everyone agrees that we are in the midst of an automation boom, as more manufacturing plants and distribution centers introduce automation to their operations. That is leading to more interest in plastic pallets. “Pallet dispensing machines, automated cranes and photo eyes like consistency,” Most says. “Plastic pallets are all the same dimensions, heights and weights because they’re coming out of a mold.” In addition, plastic pallets have no loose boards or protruding nails that may jam a conveyor.

In-store displays: While still a niche of a niche market, quarter-sized and half-sized pallets are showing up as the platform for end-of-aisle and floor displays in retail stores. In part, it’s because plastic pallets create a nicer impression than wooden pallets. “If they store the display pallets in the back, many are nestable, which means they don’t take up as much space as wooden pallets,” Most says.

 

About the Author

Bob Trebilcock
Executive Editor

Bob Trebilcock, executive editor, has covered materials handling, technology and supply chain topics for Modern Materials Handling since 1984. More recently, Trebilcock became editorial director of Supply Chain Management Review. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484.


Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

Crown invited me to its flagship service center outside Chicago for a demonstration of their operator and technician training programs. Prepared for plenty of PowerPoints and goofy videos, I instead experienced two full days of hands-on, grease-covered, eye-opening and tremendously exciting education.

PwC CEO survey finds only 19% of top retailers say they can fulfill omni-channel demand profitably.

Seegrid’s former director of development from 2003-2007 returns to the company.

March shipments came in at 988,065, which easily eclipsed February by 24 percent, as well as March 2014 by 19 percent. Panjiva said total first quarter shipments at 2,580,899 were 4 percent ahead of the first quarter of 2014.

Diligent monitoring of battery inventory can cut waste, boost battery performance and lifespan, and increase productivity.

Article Topics

News · Packaging · Pallets · Pallet Report · ORBIS · All topics


© Copyright 2015 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA