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

American Logistics Aid Network mobilizes logistics partners to deliver supplies to difficult-to-reach areas.

In a fundamentally changed world, your approach to strategy, and your supply chain, must also change. Andrew Winston, author of The Big Pivot, discusses how business can profit from this fundamental change.

Voice-enabled work is one element in a broad management strategy to improve order accuracy, increase productivity, and reduce labor costs in the supply chain. This complimentary white paper is designed to help you speak the ROI language, and provides a calculation formula to present the performance and financial payback from a variety of voice-enabled applications.

Conveyor manufacturers revise growth estimate up from 2% to 5%.

Experienced executive joins provider of automated storage and retrieval systems.

Article Topics

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


© Copyright 2013 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA