Having a standard, universally recognized pallet size greatly simplifies storage organization, the calculation of logistics costs, as well as merchandise handling operations. Depending on your region, but also on the industry you’re working in, there can be several pallet sizes that are widely used by manufacturers and retailers alike.
In turn, this information can help you decide whether your warehouse racking and storage system can benefit more from certain size configuration than others.
The Rise of Global Transportation
Because shipping overseas is much cheaper and easier via containers, pallet racks were devised as a great way to maximize the amount of available space provided by intermodal containers while also keeping in mind loading and unloading times. Containers have a level, smooth surface that pallets can easily be moved or slid upon.
Instead of having to operate heavy machinery to load dangerously high amounts goods at once, pallets are a great way to distribute cargo weight in a way that can easily and safely be handled by a forklift. The system also considerably reduces the amount of manpower needed to handle warehouse operations, given appropriate equipment. The entire shipping business is using one type of pallet or another, which is why it often benefits businesses to store their goods in this way.
Materials Used to Make Pallets
Wooden pallets, arguably some of the most common storage surfaces, consist of several deck-boards placed over a series of stringers, usually three or four. The bottom deck makes it possible to handle equipment by means of various conveyors and lift trucks in order to be stored or transported. Although there are several international standards, the pallet remains the most common unit load.
Wooden pallets are easy to manufacture, durable, weight resistant, but also easy to recycle. There is a well-established business infrastructure entirely dedicated to reusing pallets, which is crucial towards the refurbishment and reuse of these platforms.
Standard Pallet Dimensions
The main pallet size for North America is 48×40 inches (1219×1016 cm), also known as the Grocery Manufacture Association (GMA) pallet, where the first dimension is the board length or stringer and the second is the width. Knowing these two, manufacturers and businesses can get an idea of how to package their goods so that they fit on a pallet. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) also recognizes 5 additional types of pallets according to size. These are:
1000×1200 cm – used mainly in Europe and Australia.
1165×1165 cm – used in Australia.
800×1200 cm – common in Europe; can fit through a door.
1100×1100 – used in Asia.
1067×1067 – found in North America, Europe, and Asia.
In the United States, grocery logistics use these units to such an extent that 30% of all the wooden pallets produced in America fit the GMA standard. These dimensions are tremendously important, since they need to fit in your warehouse pallet racks. Before ordering or building the latter, it is crucial that you find out what pallets you’re most likely to encounter in your industry, as well as which storage systems might be better suited for your operations.
Types of Pallets
There are several types of pallets according to the way in which they are made. Stringer pallets, for instance, are the most known variety. They can be made out of wood, metal, or plastic and, although the latter two tend to be more expensive, they’re also much more durable.
Here are the most common pallet types that can be handled by a forklift:
Four-way entry pallets that have forklift openings on all four sides for increased accessibility.
Stringer pallets with two-way openings.
Block pallets with four-way forklift entry, where the weight is supported by blocks of wood, rather than by stringers.
Partial four-way pallets with standard forklift openings on two sides, but also smaller openings on the other two.
Standard Pallet Racks from Kingmorack
As you can tell, despite great industry and regional standardization, pallets continue to exist in a variety of dimensions. The latter can be problematic in terms of appropriate warehouse storage, which demands a system that is either flexible or one that is most suited to your particular business.
If you’re unsure about which racking framework to choose, you can give us a call at Kingmorack and we’ll use our years of expertise to your advantage. We deliver pallet racking systems for all types of warehouse operations, pallet dimensions, as well as materials.