The types of pallets
Pallets are a useful tool for preparing the load unit by grouping a series of packages and creating a single handling unit. These are specifically designed to be handled by forklifts and transpallets, as they can be forked.
There are various shapes, sizes and materials, in order to adapt to all needs.
Pallet test methods are ruled by the standard ISO 8611: 2011, Pallets for materials handling – Flat pallets – Part 1: Test methods. The test methods depend on the type of the intended use considering:
- Handling of loaded pallets with racking and stacking;
- Handling of loaded pallets without racking;
- Handling of loaded pallets without racking or stacking.
The test methods are divided into groups with respect to the nominal load test, nominal load and life comparison tests.
Standard european pallet, called “europallets” and marked with the code “EUR”, have dimensions of 800 mm x 1200 mm, while the so-called “Philips” format type has dimensions of 1000 mm x 1200 mm. For both types the support base is on nine points, and it is possible to fork from the four sides.
Wooden pallets can carry organisms harmful to the plant world. Therefore, to ship to some destinations, fumigation treatment may be required. This allows you to break down any parasites present in the material before shipping.
In some cases it is possible to use plastic pallets, for light loads, or metal pallets for heavy loads that may not be adequately supported by a wood structure.
In addition to pallets of standard sizes, there are also pallets with different sizes to adapt to specific needs. A square type is foreseen with a side equal to 1200 mm, or with a size equal to half of the standard one for small shipments.
Loading the pallet
To achieve good quality unit load device that has adequate characteristics of rigidity and stability, it is necessary to follow certain rules. These are quite simple principles but which, if disregarded, result in a load unit not suitable for being correctly secured in the transport unit, compromising the integrity of the material and the safety of transport.
As far as possible, the shape should be regular without gaps.
This requires a specific care in the assembly, and therefore in the organization of shipments, arranging packages with compatible shape and size.
If there are packages with different weights, the heaviest ones must be positioned at the bottom to ensure stability, keeping the center of gravity as low as possible.
If there are packages containing liquids and packages containing solids, the liquids must be placed at the bottom.
Securing the load to the pallet
Particular attention must be paid to the securing between pallet and load. If the load unit thus obtained is not sufficiently rigid and stable, any securing on board the vehicle could be compromised. Static tests according to the EN 12195-1 standard or dynamic tests according to the EUMOS 40509 standard can be used as a test method for packaging.
There are several ways to secure the load to the pallet. Please refer to the dedicated pages for each type for further information: