Pallets are ubiquitous throughout the operations that make up the supply chain. From loading and transport to storage and distribution, they play the role of supporting and protecting goods. Each product category corresponds to a specific type of pallet. Its typology can be made according to its size, its material of manufacture and its use. Discover the different types of pallets according to these classification criteria.
Types of pallets according to their dimensions
Pallets are classified into four categories based on their size and format.
The Europe, EURO or EPAL pallet
Easy to identify, it has a circular symbol containing the words “EUR” or “EPAL” stamped on its dice. Its standard dimensions are 1,200 x 800 mm with a height of 140 to 145 mm and a maximum weight of 30 kg. This is the type of pallet most used in European logistics. Wooden EURO pallets are designed for repeated use. They have a static load capacity of 5000 Kg and a dynamic load capacity of 1500 Kg.
The American pallet, ISO or universal pallet
Used in logistics in the United States, Canada and Japan, this type of pallet measures 1,200 x 1,000 mm, with an approximate weight of 25 Kg. Its format, larger than that of the EPAL pallet, is therefore not suitable not to European trucks. The American pallet supports a static load of up to 6,000 Kg and a dynamic load of no more than 1,500 Kg.
The half pallet
As its name indicates, it is a Europe pallet divided in two along its length. Its dimensions of 800 x 600 mm make it easier to manoeuvre. In the supply chain, the half-pallet can be used in the retail trade for the loading, distribution and presentation of goods. It is also compatible with the majority of standard handling equipment.
The quarter pallet
This smallest format measures 600 x 400 mm, that is to say half a pallet divided in two along its length. Due to its small size, the quarter pallet is nestable. Also, it can be used directly in distribution for the shelving of products.
Types of pallets according to their material
Pallets come in four types based on their material of manufacture.
The wooden pallet
This type of pallet is the most widely used on the market. It is particularly suitable for transporting heavy or semi-heavy loads. The wood can be resinous, low or high density. The various parts of the pallet are designed with materials that are resistant over time (pine, cedar, walnut, oak, etc.). Wooden pallets have several advantages including:
- The strength of the material
- The adaptability of the pallet to different categories of goods
- The ease of rotation
- The possibility of recycling or repairing damaged parts.
However, their cleaning and disinfection are more complex. They require treatment with specific products, in accordance with the NIMF 15 standard.
The plastic pallet
This model is taking an increasingly significant market share. The plastic pallet is made of high density polyethylene (HDPE) or polypropylene (PP). It has a non-slip surface to stabilize the transported goods. Its main advantage lies in its lightness, with however great resistance and a high load capacity.
Practical and easy to handle, pallets made of plastic simplify load transfer. This material poses no risk of pest or mold growth, making it an excellent choice for export. However, they cannot be reused in case of damage.
The metal pallet
Usually made of steel or aluminum and more rarely of cast iron, metal pallets are the most robust and also the heaviest. They are suitable for intensive use, particularly in the field of construction, in the nuclear industries or machine manufacturers. The metal pallet has a long lifespan and is particularly resistant to shocks, heat and humidity. Its considerably higher weight than other types of pallets can, however, have an impact on the cost of transport.
The cardboard pallet
Appeared in recent years, cardboard pallets are made from 100% recycled corrugated cardboard. They are distinguished by their light, biodegradable and recyclable side. This is a solution that is both ecological and economical in terms of export costs. The cardboard pallet provides an optimal level of security for the protection of packages and goods. Unlike other pallet models, its tightness and limited life cycle remain its main weak points.
The plywood pallet
Material derived from wood, plywood is also used for the manufacture of pallets. Unlike wooden pallets which are made up of multiple planks, plywood pallets have a solid deck. This option is suitable for rack storage or for stacking in layers. Although they are reusable, this type of pallet is not suitable for long-term storage.
Types of pallets according to their use
Depending on their use in logistics, transport pallets can be reusable or single-use.
Also called multi-rotation pallets, they have great resistance. Their lifespan can be up to 6 years, which allows use over several cycles. Reusable palettes come in three types:
- Returnable pallets: belonging to a company, they must be returned to them after the logistics operation;
- Exchangeable pallets: in particular EPAL pallets acquired for joint use by companies located in different regions;
- Captive pallets: can only be used indoors.
The lost pallets
These are unirotational or single-use pallets. After use, they are directly destroyed in order to avoid any dangerous effect on hygiene and safety. Moreover, the lost pallets arrive at their destination with certain deteriorations due to their lightness and their fragility.