Pallets 101: The Supply Chain Guide to Wood Pallets
In 2023, logistics and supply chain industry professionals managed the domestic movement and delivery of one billion tons of shipments by freight and more than 12 billion tons of shipments by truck. Movement and delivery are the end steps of the logistic process, however. Before any goods leave a warehouse or store, they must be properly packed and secured. Proper handling is vital for foods and pharmaceuticals.
Packing containers for these shipped goods requires multimodal functionality; they must be easy to handle, transport, and load. Wood pallets meet all these requirements for logistics managers. Pallets stack easily and feature a streamlined design that allows quick unloading and movement, but not all wood pallets are designed for every industry.
Madison County Wood Products offers a range of pallet options for businesses, and our team of industry experts wants to provide businesses with the resources and information they need to choose the best pallet type for their shipping needs. Explore MCWP's Guide to Wood Pallets.
Table of Contents
The Three Types of Pallets
Pallet Wood Varieties
Preventing Mold Growth on Wood Pallets
Industries must assess shipping needs when choosing their pallet type
While the wood variety impacts pallet durability and strength, the pallet design maximizes load-bearing capacity.
Choosing kiln heat treatments or food-safe fungicides protects the wood from mold growth.
A Trio of Designs: Understanding the Benefits of Each Pallet Type
There are three types of wood pallets: stringer, block, and skid. However, some industry insiders argue that a skid isn't a pallet. Each shipping pallet is designed with unique features and functionalities. One type is the standard favorite for the majority of industries. Learn the differences between these three pallet types to make an informed decision.
All About Stringer Pallets
A stringer pallet is a type of wood pallet designed with three vertical wood boards supporting the horizontal wood boards on the top of the pallet. The 'stringer' is a 2" x 4" board, and its role is to support the pallet's surface and bear the weight of the shipment.
Stringer pallets are incredibly popular. They are often chosen for shipping foods and pharmaceuticals. Depending on the choice of wood used in the pallet's construction and the structural design of the pallet, stringers can withstand a heavy load.
The design of the stringer pallet enables it to be easily handled by a forklift. This is one of the many reasons why stringers are the universal wood pallet design. In addition, businesses can customize the stringer to suit their shipment needs better.
What is a Block Pallet?
MCWP also offers block pallets. This wood pallet is typically designed with nine wood blocks to support the top boards of the pallet. Blocks are positioned in each pallet corner and the in the middle section of the pallet both along the length and the width of the pallet.
Block pallets are the pallets of choice for the military and chemical industries. The design of these pallets also makes them easy to move via pallet jack. Madison County Wood Pallets also customizes block pallets for any load specification.
The Benefits of Using Skids
Is a skid a pallet? Unlike the stringer and block pallets, skids offer no bottom deck, which offers a 'nesting' functionality. These pallets can slide easily across surfaces. Any industry can use them, but sod companies prefer them.
Stringer vs. Block vs. Skids
Customize for Load (Y or N)
Universal. This is the most popular pallet type.
2" x 4" boards support the weight of the upper boards. This pallet is easy to haul via a forklift.
Military and chemical industries.
Solid wood blocks support the upper and bottom boards. Block pallets are ideal for pallet jacks.
Sod companies and landscaping (plants)
This pallet features no bottom board. Skids offer nesting functionality and can slide easily across surfaces.
Pallet Wood Varieties
Choosing the type of pallet is only one step of the pallet process. Wood pallets are created using different wood varieties, and companies must consider their options. Which wood is the best?
MCWP is unique in the pallet industry because it supplies its lumber; our company has a forest of trees from which the pallets are manufactured. We offer mixed hardwoods some
of which include red oak, white oak, hickory, and hard maple, making up the bulk of the
Oak is known as the best and strongest choice for wood pallets. However, MCWP also
offers pine pallets; for some industries pine is an ideal species and can be more available. The team can help guide lumber choices and educate logistics professionals about the pros and cons of each wood variety.
Designing the wood pallet for a specific load is crucial. While some wood varieties offer more strength for heavier loads, the pallet design impacts the load-bearing capacity. MCWP uses the Pallet Design Software (PDS) to customize the design of each pallet and optimize safety and dependability.
Preventing Mold Growth on Wood Pallets
Businesses shipping food and pharmaceuticals must ensure their products remain uncontaminated. Wood pallets treated with chemicals or prone to mold growth pose significant safety risks. To prevent mold without risking contamination, companies must be cautious with untreated pallets. Any contact between these goods and mold necessitates their disposal, posing both product losses and financial setbacks for businesses.
Madison County Wood Products uses only the safest wood treatments to prevent mold growth. PQ-80 and PQ-8 are both approved for use on pallets with food packaging contact. In addition, kiln drying methods remove the moisture from the wood to prevent mold growth.
The MCWP team discusses the treatment options with businesses to help them decide whether kiln drying or an application of PQ-80 or PQ-8 is ideal.
Logistics professionals who still have questions about pallet options can explore more topics in the Pallet FAQ.
What is the best size for wood pallets?
Every business has a specific shipping need. MCWP customizes pallets for any shipping specification. However, the most common pallet size is 48' x 40.'
What storage options are available?
MCWP offers both indoor and outdoor storage for companies. Reach out to our team to arrange for pallet storage.
How does Madison County Wood Products build its pallets?
All pallets are first designed using the Pallet Design Software (PDS), ensuring each pallet offers the ideal load specifications and optimizes safety and reliability. Automated nailing machines are used to build the most structurally sound pallet possible.
Are wood pallets sustainable?
Yes! We manage and harvest our timber and grow more trees to continue the forestation. In addition, MCWP recycles wood pallets for our customers. We believe in the 3Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle.
Why are wood pallets the best choice for shipping?
Businesses can choose plastic or wood pallets for shipping. Plastic manufacturers will state that plastic is stronger than wood. However, wood pallets can be customized to meet any load. Plastic pallets do not offer this advantage. In addition, chemicals from plastics can leach into foods and pharmaceuticals. Plastic also is not sustainable.
One study explained: Wooden pallets have clearly been proven as the smart environmental choice because of certification granted through an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) and the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) on wooden pallets were certified by UL, a leading EPD operator, and developed in conjunction with Forest Products Laboratory, the national research lab of the United States Forest Service.
Contact Us and Learn More!
Wood pallets remain the most popular shipping solution across all industries, and some
studies indicate the pallet market is expected to exceed $100 billion in 2025. Pallets simplify shipping and save time and money, but companies and logistics professionals might wonder if wood pallets are their ideal shipping solution. Contact us today, and our team will discuss the pallet process, answer any questions, and show you why wood pallets are the only shipping solution companies need.
Madison County Wood Products Inc. is a vertically integrated company specializing in land and timber management, logging, sawmilling, and pallet manufacturing. With a focus on environmental impact, we take a zero-waste approach while providing customers with quality products, competitive prices, and on-time deliveries.