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

Dallas-Fort Worth-based regional operation offers service and support for key logistics hub.

This complimentary white paper addresses areas of potential benefit to a grocery distributor considering an investment in automated case picking technology.

In 2015, a new era in shipment pricing will go into effect when major carriers implement dimensional ("dim") weight pricing for all ground packages regardless of their size. This complimentary white paper, "Dimensional Weight: Don't Let it Weigh You Down", can help you optimize your packaging operation to minimize the financial impacts of dimensional weight pricing.

Replacing older, less-efficient lift trucks at the right time can reduce your maintenance costs, improve your productivity and, most importantly, save money and maximize your return on investment. So how do you determine the right time to make a new, significant purchase? Download this complimentary white paper for guidance on how to determine the ideal time to replace lift trucks and how planned replacement can benefit your operation.

The prolonged operating hours of automated distribution operations leave limited time for maintenance. For tightly-scheduled fulfillment operations, unplanned downtime not only cuts into slim profit margins, it jeopardizes future business and customer loyalty. Download this complimentary white paper to learn five mission-critical benefits of implementing a resident maintenance program.

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