How to increase the lifespan of a pallet
Posted 5th April, 2022
Pallets are one of the most important items in global shipping. As well as being responsible for carrying commercial goods all over the world, they are also at the heart of many life-saving operations – from getting vital supplies to refugees during the recent conflict in Ukraine to ensuring that the NHS got the stocks it needed at the height of the Covid pandemic. All things considered, they are possibly one of the single most important objects in our lives – and we probably don’t even realise it.
Pallets are also incredibly sustainable, and with careful handling can enjoy a long working life. Read on to discover some top tips for increasing the lifespan of your pallets.
Start with a quality pallet
Think of your pallet just as you would a pair of new shoes – you truly get what you pay for. Invest in a high quality pair of shoes made from quality materials with good workmanship and they’ll last for miles. Pallets are exactly the same. The standard of construction and quality of timber have a huge impact on their lifespan.
Keep pallets dry
Like shoes, moisture is not your friend when it comes to pallets. Damp environments or prolonged exposure to the elements not only degrades the timber over time, but can also lead to mould growth, which can gradually weaken the integrity of the structure. Also, make sure that water is not allowed to gather and pool below the pallets when they are loaded.
Handle with care
Pallets are made to be constantly moved, but this does not mean that they are built to withstand unnecessary abuse. Forklift damage is the single biggest factor reducing the lifespan of pallets.
If you have your own FLT operatives, ensure they are fully trained and operate professionally. As a rule, training should ensure that drivers adhere to the following principles:
- Take care on pallet entry to avoid hitting the pallet blocks with the forks.
- Slow down on entry to avoid slamming into the pallet.
- Ensure forks are as level as possible when entering the pallet, so that they don’t puncture it.
- Avoid ‘short-forking’ by ensuring that forks are inserted far enough that the pallet is fully on the forks.
- Once loaded, tilt pallets back slightly so that the pallet rests on the forklift mast.
- Ensure pallet loads are never be pushed across the floor or rotated using the fork tines. Stack pallets tidily to minimise the risk of the stack toppling over or being caught by a passing forklift.
Use the right type of pallet
It may seem obvious, but using the most appropriate kind of pallet for the job will also help to increase its lifespan.
There are different kinds of pallets available for different kinds of jobs, as well as additional supplies such as bump protectors and shields that can also help to prolong the lifespan.
Need advice on palletised shipping? Our experts are always happy to help. Call now on 01686 621190 to speak to a member of the team.