Pallets are generally constructed of wood, plastic or metal (steel or aluminum), pallets provide a portable, horizontal, rigid platform that serves as a base for unit loads. Typically designed with fork entry, an opening between the top and bottom decks, pallets can be handled by fork lift trucks. Pallets are used as a returnable, reusable surface for assembling, storing, stacking, handling and transporting of goods as a unit load. Slave pallets are used in an automated storage system.
Pallets come in a variety of sizes—both standard and custom—with certain industries standardizing their operations around a specific dimension, such as the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) and the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA). When empty, pallets can be nested or stacked.
Dunnage is the materials or devices used in the securing and/or bracing of products during shipments. These can include reusable, pre-formed foam inserts with custom sizes and shapes cut or punched out to hold components prior to their installation on the assembly line. Since it’s impractical for most facilities to stock multiple container sizes to accommodate shipping different product weights and sizes, most items get shipped in boxes that are too big. Void fill—crumpled paper, flowable peanuts (polystyrene or biodegradable materials) or inflatable air pillows—fills the open spaces and protects the contents from damage during shipping. Still other, larger-scale dunnage can be used to prevent shifting and contact between unit loads in a trailer, shipping container or railcar.
Materials that hold several items together to form a complete load. They can be applied as a tie down, or means to secure a load to a pallet, These include:
Stretch film is a roll-based, plastic film. Tensioned and stretched manually or mechanically as it is wrapped around a unit load, the film holds and secures the load to the pallet.
Shrink wrap is a plastic film that shrinks tightly over the item or load it is carrying when heat is applied to it.
Strapping made from low and medium carbon steel, hot roller high tension steel, polyester, nylon and polypropylene.