Park Logisitics - Creating Supply Chain Solutions

Park Logistics - Creating supply Chain Solutions

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What makes plastic pallets more attractive than wooden pallets?

By John Andrew Shawyer, director, Plastic Pallets.

Plastic is now beginning to take some of the share of the pallet market away from wood. Originally, these types of pallets were predominately used in industries where hygiene was paramount, such as food and pharmaceuticals. However, they are now gaining prominence across different industries. What are the benefits of plastic that are making it more attractive than wood for manufacturing pallets?

Plastic has many advantages when it comes to producing pallets, but one of the key factors that has held back the increase of sales is the initial cost. This is now becoming less of a deciding influence for businesses, as they begin to see the positive environmental and financial aspects of looking for plastic pallets for sale rather than wood.

The products themselves have advanced considerably since the first plastic pallet was introduced. They are now manufactured from higher-quality materials, have a better design and the entire production process has advanced. One of the key influencers has been that the price has reduced, making plastic more competitive against wood. All these elements have combined to make plastic a realistic alternative to wooden pallets.

Strength and Durability

When businesses are purchasing pallets, whether plastic or wooden, they have to ensure that they are suitable for the loads that need to be carried. Today, a plastic pallet is generally manufactured from a thermoplastic resin, which is cheaper than the alternatives and has a less complex production process. This type of plastic is also much easier to recycle when the pallet comes to the end of its life. One of the main advantages of thermoplastics is that they are more durable than the alternative thermosetting resin. They are resistant to shock and impact and are stronger than wood. However, this impact resistance does make the material not as stiff, which may reduce the weight that can be carried.

Environmentally Friendly

In today’s business world, companies are keen to showcase their sustainability and want to increase the ways in which they are limiting their impact on the environment. Purchasing pallets made from plastic rather than wood is one way of achieving this, and it makes the material a more attractive option.

A plastic pallet can be reused a considerable number of times without any impact on its strength or durability. On the other hand, wood can only really be used around 10 times, including time for repairs. A plastic one can be used up to 250 times. Therefore plastic has a higher initial cost, but over time these types of pallets become more cost-effective.

Even when a plastic pallet comes to the end of its life, it is still more environmentally friendly. The plastic can be completely broken down and then recycled to form a new pallet. This ensures that less waste is sent to landfill, reducing costs for the business.

Lightweight

One of the most common reasons for injuries in the workplace is the incorrect handling of heavy objects. Plastic pallets are considerably lighter than wooden ones, making them far easier for employees to carry and handle. This helps companies remain within the health and safety regulations and limits the number of injuries that occur to their employees. As they are less likely to injure themselves, they will need to take fewer days off work, which makes the business more productive and saves it money.

Hygiene Factors

A key influencing factor for businesses when they are deciding between plastic and wooden pallets is the hygiene element. A plastic pallet is quick to clean and is resistant to moisture and bacteria. These reasons are why they are routinely used in the food, drink and pharmaceutical sectors, where it’s critical that the goods being transported are not contaminated.

Uniformity

Modern manufacturing sites are now often based around an automated system. The speed and efficiency of this process relies on the use of pallets that are all the same size and shape. If a different-sized pallet gets into the system it can cause delays with the machinery. Plastic has its advantages for an automatic system as the pallets won’t change shape during their lifetime. This results in less downtime and a more efficient manufacturing process.

Plastic has still not overtaken wood in the pallet industry, and it will be a number of years before this occurs — wood maintains around a 90% share of the market. However, plastic is now becoming more widely used, as businesses see the economic and manufacturing benefits.

Author’s Bio: John Andrew Shawyer is a director of Plastic Pallets. John specilises in all types of pallets and pallets distribution.

Article source: http://www.logisticshandling.com/articles/2014/07/05/what-makes-plastic-pallets-more-attractive-than-wooden-pallets/