A small, low, portable platform on which goods are placed for storage or moving, as in a warehouse or vehicle. It is mostly used in intermediate goods transport around the planet. The pallets appeared in the 2nd World War for easy and quick transportation of ammunition and over the years there have been attempts for improving their strength and quality. Palettes are one of the main materials for transportation and storage. The transportation of pallets is of flat loading, which means they are stackable products. In addition, there are standard types of pallets, which can be recognized by their size and by their finishing treatment (such as heating or soaking with specific herbicides).
1. Regulations for Pallets
Pallets are made according to specific regulations. The dimensions, the clearances, the number of the tacks, are all details arranged in accordance with regulations. This is because pallets are used for transporting goods worldwide. Manufacturer or carriers know that each pallet is able to withstand a load depending on the category it belongs to.
In Greece pallets often belong to the EPAL category and the so-called Euro pallet-which is the most widespread standard pallet manufactured in Europe. Below the three basic categories of the dimensions and the construction plan are presented.
1. EPAL 1: 120cm x 80cm
2. EPAL 2: 120cm x 100cm
3. EPAL 3: 100cm x 120 cm
Typically, the load that palettes must withstand is 1500 pounds on the palette and an additional 6000 pounds load from above.
On the actual pallet you should be able to find details, such as the country of production, the production date, the production standards and whether it has been repaired or not.
There are differences between different geographical places as mentioned above. For example pallets in Asia are usually 110cm x 110cm and made of specific products (e.g. melon).
2. Pallet labelling
• EUR / EPAL: It means that it is made in accordance with the European standard EPAL
• IPPC: It means that it is made in accordance with the IPPC standards for international transport.
• HT: It means that heat-treated
• MW: It means that has been chemically treated with Methyl Bromide (Methyl Bromide)
• D / DE / DR / MAV / IE / NS ….: They are national symbols that indicate the country of origin, the railway network of the country of origin
• DB: It’s about DeBarked meaning it has completely peeled.
• ID-T-ET: Six digit number. The first three digits are the manufacturer code, the middle is the month of manufacture and the last two are the year of manufacture.
• going to stamp: It means that it is repaired
• 7-8 digit code, which starts from 49: It is a unique code and it has to do with the manufacturing batch
3. Wood origin & pallets
The wood from which pallets are made pallets differs. They are special rules that apply to the type of appropriate wood.
In Greece and generally in Europe, several types of wood are used, from pine to oak.
The most common wood species worldwide are from coniferous and deciduous trees with soft or hard wood and they can be from fir, alder, oak, spruce, birch, pine, maple. chestnut and other trees.
Not all pallets are suitable for constructions. Some are from soft woods, while some are from hard ones. Up until a while ago, pallets were made of solid wood, but recently the chocks in the middle are from particleboard.
Special attention should be given to health and safety measures, for example if the pallets are treated chemically or there are outbreaks of bacteria and fungi. It is preferred to choose pallets (EPAL / EUR) having the HD seal (Heat Treated) instead of bearing the MB (Methyl Bromide), which in the first case means that heat-treated versus the second, which is a chemical herbicide. Second, disinfect pallets with steam cleaner or baking soda or even bleach and then paint with a varnish or an oil paint so that the wood cannot “breathe”.
For more readings on pallets you can visit www.metronlogistics.eu, where ISO International Organization for Standardization (International Organization for Standardization -ISO) is explained.