What will pallets look like in the future?
Our industry is currently dealing with an unprecedented lumber shortage. As a result, wood pallet prices are quickly rising. We are faced with a big unknown.
The sales team at The Nelson Company recently discussed the future of pallets including this important question:
As wooden pallets become more expensive, will other options emerge as serious contenders in the global pallet markets?
Here is our list of predictions for the pallet of the future:
Nelson believes the future of the pallet is less about the pallet itself and more about managing the entire system. Technologies will continue to emerge allowing manufacturers and distributors to gather more information about unit loads - location, goods on board, stresses, damage and more.
Will any of our predictions become reality? We want to know what you think. What do you think the pallet of the future will look like? Let us know by commenting below.
Post by: Rich Reiher, Vice President
2/21/2016 08:13:17 am
I'm intrigued by the potential of molded wood pallets. There are the advantages of standardization, cost, weight (thus shipping cost) and nestability (thus storage efficiency) but trials I have conducted with packages that go overseas indicate the need for more rigidity ( they might get there in one piece but there is still the perception that they are wobbly and unstable) and flat surfaces to accommodate racking systems (easy sliding in and out of storage racks without catching on anything and sitting flatly/securely on racks) . This speaks to the need for fillers and adhesives that make molded wood moldable while maximizing strength. What's on the horizon in this area?
2/29/2016 08:27:55 am
Fred, your observations are spot on! One area that has a lot of promise in the pallet industry is the use of composites, or the combination of different materials. The industry already uses wood, metal, and plastic together in a variety of applications. Wood alone is an excellent material due to its strength and stiffness properties, its weight, and its relatively low cost. The development of materials that combine wood fibers and resins is emerging and will have a place in the future. Keep in mind that it is very difficult to combine multiple materials and have a resulting product that is strong, impact resistant, and low in cost.
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