Pallet Observations

Pallet Stacking Skills

Sr Admin - Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Take a look at this guy's impressive pallet stacking skills!

Forklift Safety

In all seriousness though, improper pallet stacking can lead to accidents and proper forklift safety policies are imperative to preventing injuries. Beware of the following forklift hazards and be sure your employees are educated on safe fork lift operation practices.

Wooden Pallet FAQs

Sr Admin - Saturday, May 28, 2016

Do you have questions about pallets? Here are the answers to some of the most common pallet questions we hear...

Why are there slots in the side of pallets?
These slots are called notches and they allow a forklift to move the pallet from the sides.

What does the "ISPM-15" stamp mean?
It is a stamp that informs customs that the pallet meets the international shipping standards and has been heat treated to kill any insects that may have been living within the wood.

What is the difference between a stringer and block pallet?
Stringers have 2x4's that make up the length of the pallet, whereas block pallets have 9 blocks, usually 4x4' or 4x6'.

What is the cost to repair a pallet?
It depends what damage the pallet has sustained, but generally costs between $2.00 - $4.00.

What is the right way to refer to pallet measurements?
You should always say the length measurement first, and then the width. For example, the pallet below would be referred to as a 48"x40" pallet.

How is pallet strength determined?
Strength is a measurement used to quantify a pallet's breaking capacity. The industry safety standard designates the strength at 2 and a half times the average pallet breaking point, to avoid dangerous situations. So, if a specific type of pallet breaks at 5,000 lbs., on average, the strength capacity would be determined to be 2,000 lbs.

What is deflection?
Deflection is the amount of sag or give that occurs on a loaded pallet. It is important to obtain deflection measurements when comparing pallets, as deflection itself can affect product store and transportation. In severe cases, deflection can even prevent fork lifts from properly inserting into the pallet. The ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) limits deflection to 1.9% of the greatest span. For example, in a storage system with supports spaced every 44 inches, deflection would be limited to  about 3/4 of an inch.

What is the difference between a hardwood and softwood pallet?
A softwood pallet is one that is made from an evergreen tree, such as a Douglas Fir. If a pallet is made from a tree that does not stay green all year, Oak for example, it is made of hardwood.

How long have pallets been in use?
Since the mid-1920s.

Here are a few more pallet facts:

Want to know more about pallets? Ask us!

Preventing mold on pallets

Sr Admin - Friday, April 29, 2016
Mold on pallets doesn’t reduce the integrity of a pallet, but it certainly isn’t pretty. There is also a risk of contaminating products, particularly if food or healthcare products come into direct contact with the pallets. The presence of mold can also cause a musty smell, which can also leach into the products they store and transport. 
Mold spores are all around us, just looking for a warm, moist area to land and spread. A properly dried pallet, that is a pallet with a moisture content of 20% or less, is actually mold resistant, but removing moisture from your pallets may be easier said than done. 

There are a variety of processes for drying pallets, such as heavy-duty industrial fans or kiln drying pallets during the manufacturing process. Both of these options can be costly, in addition, kiln drying may lead to split boards. Note that kiln drying pallets is not the same as heat treating pallets. Heat treating is meant to rid the wood from bugs, larvae and other pests, but does not ensure that the moisture content is reduced to the magic mold deterrent number of 20%. 

How to avoid moldy pallets 

The way you handle and store your pallets goes a long way to decrease their likelihood of mold contamination. Here are a few best practices to implement in your transport and storage practices: 
  • Do not leave pallets outside where they will be exposed to rain and high humidity, store them inside instead preferably in a climate controlled area. 
  • Unload pallets quickly.
  •  Don’t store pallets on the ground. 
  • Pallet storage areas should be well ventilated, as stagnant air hinders the evaporation process.
  •  Don’t use trailers to store pallets for an extended period of time. Trailers are warm and humid containers with little to no ventilation, the perfect combination to propagate mold spores.

Cutting Shipping Costs Without Compromising Standards

Sr Admin - Monday, November 30, 2015

Preventing damage and maximizing load efficiency are two very simply tricks to cut shipping costs without cutting corners. Looking for cheap alternatives to quality puts lives, products, and the bottom line at risk. We believe selecting quality pallets will also help your bottom line in the long run. In this article, we discuss three simple tricks that may help you save money in shipping goods.

Purchase High Quality Pallets

Our first recommendation hits very close to home, because we build custom wood pallets. Picking quality pallets designed specifically to handle your load is going to be more expensive than purchasing second hand pallets or some cheap alternative, but cutting corners will eventually come back to bite you. Damage to products is a waste of money, time and resources, but more importantly broken pallets can put lives in danger. A broken pallet can set off a chain reaction that can cause problems on the forklift, problems in shipping, or even problems while items are being stored or stacked on warehouse shelves.

Pick quality when it comes to shipping pallets if you want to help protect your company from unwanted damage and dangers.

Preventing Damage to Freight

High quality pallets aren’t the only way to protect goods from shipping damage. A company called Polywoven Distributers creates heavy-duty airbags designed to fill up empty freight space. These innovative bags help keep things in place during the shipping process and prevent damage. Watch this brief video to learn more about how companies are using these airbags to prevent shipping damage:

Maximizing Load Efficiency

Wasted space means wasted fuel, which significantly impacts the bottom line. While this cost might not be as blatant as other costs, empty shipping space adds up over time. There are a few strategies to maximize freight space and load capacity, but we recommend starting with a good sturdy pallet that can hold the necessary capacity. Are you shipping goods in such a way to reach the recommended target freight weight of about 43,500 lbs per load? If not, you might want to consider making some changes to how items are being shipped or how items are being arranged in the container to maximize efficiency. Richmond, Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic Region are great places to ship goods anywhere in the U.S., just be sure to utilize best shipping practices to get the best the best results.

There are lots of methods to cut costs in the area of shipping, but it isn’t worth making cuts to quality, especially when it comes to pallets. Contact us to learn more about how quality pallets can help your company’s shipping process or for an estimate on custom pallet building.

Preventing Pallet Loss

Sr Admin - Thursday, October 15, 2015
Is your company suffering from pallet loss? Maybe a couple pallets get left behind when a supplier sends them back, a few are forgotten behind a retailer’s store, they are being used for an in-store display, or perhaps thieves make off with a few more. Whatever the reason, losing a couple pallets here or there is a common problem, in fact it’s expected to happen, but when these instances start to add up it can lead to serious operating cost increases.

When pallet losses go from inconvenience to cost debilitating

It is unreasonable to expect that every pallet that goes out the door will be returned to your company, sometimes they break during transport and accountability mistakes are bound to occur, but when your shipping supply losses creep up toward 10% it’s time to take a look at where the loss is occurring and what can be done to minimize the cost. 

Most pallets are lost due to honest mistakes or oversights…Maybe your products were diverted to an offsite warehouse due to storage limitations or perhaps your products were damaged and had to be rerouted. Often times, when the shipping routine is disrupted your pallets get misplaced and “lost” due to a lack in accountability. The first thing to look for in identifying your pallet loss problem is where the losses tend to be the highest and if there is a common contributor.

Implementing a pallet accountability policy

It may be time to start holding staff, suppliers and/or retailers accountable for the pallets and shipping supplies you loan to them. A simple pallet-out and pallet-in accounting system has been found to be the most effective, where customers are charged when pallets are shipped out and credited back once they have been returned. The implementation of this accounting system varies greatly and is often dependent on the amount and value of the shipping supplies at stake. Some companies are successful with simply recording the pallets in and out with a pen and pencil, but technology is available to make the process more precise. Some companies use bar codes and scan each pallet in and out, while larger companies take it a step further and label pallets with RFID chips. 

Even the most effective tracking program is going to fail without support from suppliers and other participants involved in the shipping process. It is important to have a conversation with all your partners to discuss your expectations of when and how pallets should be returned, as well as the fact that lost assets increase cost across the entire supply chain. If the cost savings of recouping pallets and other shipping supplies is significant, you might consider sharing some of the savings with your partners to encourage buy-in.

Responsible Pallet Disposal

Sr Admin - Monday, September 28, 2015
Our pallets are made to be durable and, when used and stored properly, they last for a long time. However, when the day comes that they cannot be repaired, it is imperative that they be disposed of properly.  Keeping used pallets out of the landfill is good for the environment, especially when you consider that between 450-500 million pallets are manufactured every year. What's more is that recycling pallets can also benefit your bottom line.

How can recycling pallets save my company money?

If you're still throwing away pallets, it's costing you money. Pallets take up a lot of space and your waste hauler is likely charging you based on the size of your dumpsters, so the fewer pallets going to the landfill translates into smaller dumpsters and reduced operating costs. It doesn't cost anything to give old or broken pallets to pallet recyclers, in fact many recyclers will pay between $0.50 and $3.50 per pallet, depending on the type and size. Many pallet recycling companies will also pick up your used or broken pallets for free, although they sometimes require a minimum amount before they'll schedule a pick up.

What can be made from recycled pallets?

There are a variety of applications for recycled wood pallets, some of the most common items the recycled wood is used for are building materials, such as flooring, furniture, paneling and cabinets. Other uses include mulch, particleboard, animal bedding and even charcoal.

Where can I recycle pallets?

Where you can recycle your pallets depends on where you're located. The North American Pallet Recycling Network provides an easy way to connect businesses with pallet recyclers nearby.

Prevent Mold on Pallets

Sr Admin - Friday, July 31, 2015

The Hot, Humid Temperatures of Summer are Conducive to Mold

This has been a very humid summer, just going outside for a moment is enough to allow you to feel the weight of the moisture in the air. During this time of year it is important to fight mold on wooden pallets, since some types of mold can deteriorate the structure of the pallet and others can contaminate pallets with toxins.  We do everything we can at our plant to deliver mold-free pallets, but one common misconception is that heat treating pallets prevents mold.  This is not true.  Heat treating pallets for international shipments kills bugs but does not prevent the growth of mold on your pallets.

To Prevent Mold on Pallets Dominion Pallet:

Uses kiln dried pine lumber
Keeps lumber and the pallets in an area where there is as much air flow as possible
Uses lumber that is less susceptible to mold (white and red oak) than others that grow mold quicker (gum and poplar).

What Can You Do to Prevent Mold on Pallets when they arrive at your Facility?

Keep them in a cool area.  Mold cannot grow if the temperature is not hot enough.  
Keep them dry.  Mold needs moisture to grow.  Keeping the pallets out of the elements will go a long way towards them remaining mold free.  
Rotate your pallets.  Use a first in, first out system to make sure pallets do not remain in the warehouse for an extended amount of time.

How to Choose the Right Pallet for Your Products

Sr Admin - Wednesday, June 24, 2015
When it comes to buying pallets the options are limitless and it is crucial that you select the right pallet to avoid accidents, keep your staff and products safe, and get the job done as efficiently as possible. So how do you find the pallet that’s right for your products and/or application? An experienced pallet manufacturer can help guide you through the process and ensure you get the pallet that meets your needs, but here are a few things to be aware of:

Type of Pallets

When determining the pallet that’s right for you, the load bearing capacity and size need to be carefully considered. In addition, there are many different types of pallets and they are created differently based on how they are to be used. Here the common pallet types: 
  • Export pallets- These pallets are created for shipping needs and are only intended for one way shipping. 
  • Stacking pallets- As the name suggests, stacking pallets are designed with a bottom so you can stack one loaded pallet on top of another one. 
  • Racking pallets- These pallets are compatible with racking systems. They are constructed to support their capacity while stored on a rack with a front and back beam. 
  • Display pallets- Often used in retail stores for displaying merchandising, these pallets are basically half pallets and are usually 24x40. 
  • Drum pallets- Specifically used to contain spills and keep drums securely in place with indented rings. 
  • Nestable pallets- These are a good option when working with limited space, nestable pallets have peg legs that join together when stacked.

Identify All Uses of Your Pallets

Think about how you will be using and handling your pallets and be sure to communicate that with your pallet manufacturer. Will you use a forklift or pallet jack to organize your products? Will you be using a racking system? Will you be using pallets for shipping, storage or both? If you are shipping your pallets, will they be shipped internationally? Will you be using your pallets long term or just for one time use?

Do You Have Unique Needs?

We can create custom pallets, manufactured for your specific shipping or storage needs. Unlike other pallet companies, we have a quick turnaround time for custom pallets, often in just 3-4 days.

Pallet Safety Policies

Sr Admin - Thursday, April 30, 2015

Obviously we think that pallets are a revolutionary tool that allow for safe and effective transportation and storage of countless products all over the world. Unfortunately accidents involving pallets happen all too frequently and can cause serious injury and property damage. The good news is that most pallet accidents are preventable with proper training and the implementation of safety policies. Here's a quick guide to prevent injuries and keep your staff and your products safe.

Understanding ISPM-15 Regulations

Sr Admin - Saturday, February 28, 2015

The IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention) consists of over 100 countries working collectively to protect their native plants from the possible spread of diseases and pests. The IPPC issued the ISPM-15 requirement in 2002, which states that all wood shipping material, such as pallets and crates, must be heat treated or treated with methyl bromide before they can be approved for international shipping. The heat treated method is preferred because it is considered to be more environmentally friendly and doesn't risk the chemical contamination of products. Heat treated pallets are required to reach 56 degrees Celsius for a minimum of 30 minutes in order to attain the ISPM-15 designation. Shipping materials that fail to display the ISPM-15 markings may be quarantined or returned by customs if the country of import is compliant with the IPPC regulations. 

The ISPM-15 standard is constantly changing and it is important that your pallet manufacturer be well versed in the regulation specifications to ensure your pallets clear customs efficiently. Size requirements are another factor to consider when preparing for international shipping. Size specifications can become quite confusing as the US standard is inches, but many other countries have adopted the metric system.

For more information on the ISPM- 15 regulation, see details on the IPPC website here or contact us to discuss the details of your international shipping needs.