The Importance of Pallet Testing
10 Jul 2015
Wooden pallets are such a common sight in our everyday lives – supporting stacks of goods at discount supermarkets, garden centres and building sites, lining the aisles of warehouses or being broken up for bonfires. Because of this, it is easy to forget just how crucial they are to the global economy. Around 80 per cent of all goods that are transported in some way or another, no matter how far they travel, will have made part of that journey on top of a pallet.
Although to those unfamiliar with them one pallet looks very much the same as another, the truth is that the industry that revolves around the design and manufacture of pallets is constantly evolving to improve the carrying capacity, strength, weight and environmental impact of pallets.
Changes in pallet design and construction can lead to huge savings in terms of unit cost and transportation fees, but any such changes need to be tested and certified to ensure the pallets still retain the required levels of functionality, durability and strength.
What weight of goods will the pallets support while stacked in a warehouse on a level floor? How will the pallet perform when being moved by a forklift truck or if it is stacked on an uneven surface? Will the pallet bend or break if the weight distribution of the goods it is carrying is uneven? How well will the pallet cope with being shaken around in the back of a truck? All these questions and more are what the business of pallet testing seeks to answer.
Pallets have such a vast variety of uses that they have to be capable of dealing with a wide range of conditions. As a result, using pallets that fail to meet rigorous safety standards can lead to a host of issues and problems. Pallets that are not strong enough to support the goods stacked up them can collapse, damaging the goods, blocking warehouse pathways and leading to transportation delays.
Pallets that have not passed pest-control standards may be prone to infestations, which could be a major issue in places where foodstuffs are stored. Pallets that have not been tested for fire safety may combust in unexpected circumstances, leading to major financial implications or even loss of life.
As pallets regularly cross international borders, the wood from which they are made must be subjected to a special heat treatment that ensures any plant diseases or insects that could impact on the ecosystem of the destination country are fully destroyed.
Attempting to save money by using a supplier that does not adhere to the proper standards may seem like a good idea in the short term, but will almost always end up costing more in the long run. Pallets that have passed the durability standards can be used again and again, with a potential life span of many years. Cheaper pallets will almost certainly need replacing more often.
Sourcing fully tested pallets from a reputable supplier is the best way to ensure smooth delivery of your goods with the minimum of concern.