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Alternative Material Pallets Offer Wide Range of Options
Alternative Material Pallet Guide: This listing of the leading suppliers of alternative material pallets is designed to help pallet companies find unique pallets for specialty applications.

By Staff
Date Posted: 11/1/2012

While compiling the 2012 Alternative Material Pallet Guide, the Pallet Enterprise staff found that a small number of companies have gone out of business in the last year, most likely due to the general economic problems, and that several have discontinued their pallet product line. However, as diverse a range of transport packaging options as ever is still available from many companies that manufacture, distribute or market alternative material (non-wood) pallets.

Plastic pallets are still the most common alternative material for pallets - available from the highest number of companies (63% of all surveyed companies) as well as being the most popular material for companies that provide pallets made from only one material. Nevertheless, they are manufactured using a wide range of different processes, such as rotational molding, using plastic lumber, one piece injection molded and vacuum formed.

The top materials all maintained their places from last year, with corrugated pallets in second place, provided by 26% of companies, steel in third from 16%, and aluminum in fourth, offered by 15%. Other types of available pallets include metal, composite, wood composite, wooden packaging with metal hardware, presswood and honeycomb.

Offered designs include block-style, stringer pallets, two-way and four-way entry, the GMA footprint, and many custom styles. Some alternative materials have the benefit of being easily suited to customization and over 40% of included companies provide some level of customization on their pallets. Though most companies still provide standard pallet styles, several companies manufacture only custom pallets.

Many companies market their pallets as superior alternatives to wooden pallets, describing them as hygienic, lighter, environmentally friendly and cost effective. The lack of heat treatment or fumigation requirements also continues to be a marketing focus for many companies, especially those that focus on export pallets. At least 70% of the companies listed provide export or expendable pallets of some kind.

Other features available on alternative material pallets include hot stamp or label identification, RFID tracking, coatings or designs to increase slip resistance, features for containing spills, and metal reinforcements. Many pallets are also capable of nesting and racking. Dynamic strength may vary from as little as 250 pounds up to 30,000 pounds. Reported prices cover a broad range from $4 up to at least $3,000.

 This guide is the most complete resource of its kind a great tool to assist pallet companies in finding niche pallet products for specialty needs. The included information is gathered from surveys completed by the participating companies and publicly available information.

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