Plastic pallets in the spotlight

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

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

MaxLite has donated more than $300,000 in products to Habitat for Humanity since 2013.

Expanded headquarters, new hires enhance local support in key markets.

Second acquisition in recent months to enhance real-time performance management and predictive asset analytics software and solutions.

$3.45 billion-dollar deal includes 4,500 employees across the world.

Robot orders up 35% in units and 22% in dollars over same period in 2013; both automotive and non-automotive post double-digit gains.

Article Topics

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

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


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