Different Pallet Material Types the Automotive Industry Can Use

pallets in warehouse

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The humble pallet will never go out of style, but this handy tool is starting to evolve for the better.

There are so many kinds of pallets to choose from, including those made from recycled materials and those manufactured from scratch. But choosing the right type of pallet is often more complicated than it seems. Every variation comes with its fair share of pros and cons. 

The automotive industry is its own beast. These companies are known for hauling bulky items that must be handled with care. That means some pallets will work better than others. 

If you are in the market for new pallets, keep these materials at the top of your list.

Pallets to Use

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Automakers should consider how they plan on using their pallets before committing to a new fleet. For hauling heavy items, parts and accessories, it’s better to go with those made of metal or plastic. They are much more durable than other types of pallets and you can reuse them again and again. Both materials retain their physical dimensions for a perfect fit every time. If the pallet is warped, cracked or bent in any way, it could get rejected, leading to all kinds of additional fees and administrative headaches. 

Use caution when utilizing plastic pallets. Many automotive parts are made of metal. They may scrape or chip away at the plastic, especially if they come to a sharp point. Plastic pallets are perfect for moving soft goods, including upholstery, rubber, plastic and leather. They can also be used to move boxes of nuts, bolts and screws. Plastic pallets are also lighter than those made of metal. Use them when you can to lower your shipping costs. Look for plastic pallets for sale online to find the size and style for your company.

For metal pallets, you can choose between steel and aluminum. Steel pallets are considerably more expensive and durable than those made of aluminum, which will increase shipping costs, but they are often essential when moving fragile or expensive items. Use them to protect your goods on the road for more peace of mind.

Aluminum pallets are also durable, but they are lighter than those made of steel, which will help you save some money on shipping.

Both plastic and metal pallets are easy to clean. It only takes a few minutes to wipe down the rigid surface, helping you keep your facility clean.

stacks of various pallets

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Pallets to Avoid

Wooden pallets are common throughout the supply chain, but you don’t usually see them in the automotive industry. That’s because they aren’t nearly as durable as those made of plastic or metal. Wood pallets are also incredibly cheap compared to other varieties, but the cheapest option isn’t always the best. The wood can easily warp, splinter or snap, which could put your deliveries at risk. If you are shipping bulky, heavy items, the wood may collapse underneath the weight, damaging your inventory. 

Discover the Difference Between a Skid vs. Pallet in Our Guide

Wood pallets are better suited for short or one-time trips. They rarely last more than a few weeks, so it’s best to go with something more sustainable.

The automotive industry is known for shipping overseas. Wood pallets aren’t the best choice when it comes to international shipping. They will have to pass inspection according to ISPM-15. This prevents the spread of woodborne pests and bacteria. Avoid using wood pallets to simplify the import/export process.

stacks of wooden pallets

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These kinds of pallets can also pose a risk to your health. Wood chips and debris can reduce air quality and increase the chances of slips and falls. Many wood pallets are also treated with chemicals that can be toxic to you and your employees.

You can also choose between a traditional pallet and what’s known as a skid, which is a lighter, less durable version of a pallet. The skid vs. pallet debate has its merits, but we recommend using a full pallet when handling automotive parts and accessories. Skids are better suited for lighter goods and those easy to replace. You don’t want a heavy payload to weigh down your skid plate.

Use these tips to find the right kind of pallet for your automotive facility. 

The pallet industry continues to evolve. Manufacturers are investing in sustainable alternatives to plastic. Some companies are even looking into the application of recycled paper sludge and biomass materials in the manufacture of a green composite pallet

It’s always better to invest in a reusable pallet container instead of those made with wood.