What are the advantages of heat treated pallets
10 Nov 2017
Have you ever wondered why wooden pallets have to be heat-treated before they can be used?
Why does this happen, and how does it benefit us? The answer is insects. Wood pallets often contain small bugs and insects, so in 1951 the International Plant Protection Convention was formed to help prevent the spread of pests across the globe.
Heat treated wooden pallets are one of the most popular global forms of storage and transportation, which means that every day thousands of pallets leave the country that they were made in to travel to another country. This helps the global economy to thrive, but it also opens up each country to the possibility of foreign insect infestations.
Two of the bugs that have been accidentally transported via wood pallets are the Emerald Ash Borer and the Asian Longhorned Beetle, which can both devastate large wildlife communities. For this reason it is important to make sure that no bugs leave the country where they are supposed to live, which is why pallets are heat-treated.
The decision was made by the IPPC, who decided that all wooden packaging should be heat-treated to ensure that no insects can travel in them to other countries. The regulation that was set in place is called the ISPM 15 pallets, which stands for International Standards For Phytosanitary Measures.
A Changing Business
Once the ISPM 15 was implemented, the wooden packaging business was changed forever. It became compulsory for every wooden crate to be treated in this way to ensure there was no cross-contamination.
How Does the Treatment Work?
The wood is treated by being placed in a special temperature-controlled chamber. Once the pallets have been placed inside the tank, the chamber is heated up to exactly 132.8 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature is then maintained for at least 30 minutes to ensure that no insect survives.
Once this is completed, the pallet will be stamped with a regulation mark so that it is clear that it has been treated.
The heat treatment also provides other benefits to the pallets: the wood will last longer and be of a higher quality, so it is a more effective form of transportation. The wood is also less likely to decay, even if it is exposed to water, and is less likely to be affected by fungus or other spores.
Another benefit is that heat treated pallets are actually lighter after they have been heat-treated, so they are easier for people to move around and transport. The final benefit of the wooden pallets is that they are accepted all across the globe, as they meet important international standards. This shows that there are lots of different benefits to heat-treating wood before it is transported.