Information guide about plastic pallet boxes
Plastic pallet boxes are multifunctional and very convenient to easily store, transport and ship different types of merchandise. Available in several models, their basic design is the same: four walls mounted on a pallet. All models can be used to handle bulk items while saving packing and unpacking time, hence maximizing operations.
These multipurpose bins can be used in all areas of activity because they are an equipment of choice to avoid the physical handling of products, to contain or store a big quantity of product and to protect the merchandise from damage related to handling or transport. They are evenly suitable for containing loose parts of all sizes, bulk products, bags or boxes of goods, textiles or food products. Some models have been developed to meet more specifically a particular function, or to better serve one type of industry. However, even if these pallet boxes and combo bins have been designed for specific applications, they can still be used for other purposes. The plastic boxes are also especially practical to contain items that are difficult to palletize. With strong walls around the pallet, they are insured to protect the contents during handling and shipping. They are strong, impact resistant and durable in time. That’s why they are very popular in the market.
Benefits of banks-plastic pallets
The plastic pallet boxes have several advantages over those made of wood or metal, they are inert to moisture and water, so their weight remains invariable at all times, even if they are stored outside in the rain or snow. They do not gorge themselves with water and do not absorb anything. Another advantage of plastic is that it is cheaper and lighter than stainless steel, it does not rust and corrode. The bins keep their integrity and therefore remain identical at all times. Plastic pallet boxes are 100% recyclable at the end of their useful life cycle.
Stable weight – a considerable advantage during transport
First of all, it is a big advantage when exporting internationally, because the shipping containers that are weighed on shipment and on arrival must, in order to comply to the export regulations, respect the acceptable tolerance weight margin which is a difference of 5%, not exceeding 500 kg, between the weight declared in a transport document and the arrival weight of the declared container. Therefore, to reduce transportation costs in general or to avoid any extra charge, it is not desirable to pay for wet or waterlogged cases, because in transport, it is the volumetric weight or the actual weight that is calculated, but it is the heaviest of both that will be the “billable weight”. So, it’s better to pay for the goods and not for the humidity.
Another advantage due to their stable weight is that their load capacity also remains the same, so no questions to ask. They always remain safe even when the weight in the pallet box is very close to the maximum load capacity of the pallet box. Since plastic is a material that is inert to moisture, its properties will always remain the same.
On the other hand, if the wooden pallet boxes are full of water, they will be damaged, deteriorated and go moldy with time. Fungi or bacteria may even overrun them and weaken them, which will no longer ensure that their strength will be the same as originally, since the properties of wood will change. This is not the case with plastic ones, all of that have no effect on plastic. So, whether used inside or outside, exposed to any weather conditions, dry, wet or frozen areas, their weight remains stable and does not affect their load capacity.
In fact, regardless of the model, all plastic pallet boxes have a high resistance to sudden changes in temperature, such as weather and climatic changes. They can therefore be used outdoors and even be stored all year round. When used indoors, they can be used just as much to hold a hot or frozen product, or switch from one to the other without problems. The food approved pallet boxes could, for example, may contain a hot sauce and then be moved to the freezer for cooling or freezing. In fact, they can withstand temperatures ranging from -40 °C to 49 °C.
Pallet type under the bin – 9-leg or with runners
The type of pallet under plastic bulk containers can be different from one model to another, some have 9 legs and others have runners. It’s important to know how the bin will be handled to choose the right pallet type. In some cases, several types of pallets are offered for the same bin. It is therefore possible to select the palette that will best suit the application.
The pallet base can have a configuration with nine legs to clear the four sides on the bin to have access in all directions using a pallet truck or forklift. These legs can also be interconnected with 2 or 3 runners, positioned in one direction or the other, so as to give more strength to the box and to be able to turn it on rotating forks to empty it. To make a choice, it is necessary to know the way the plastic bins will be handled, transported or shipped, while taking into account the equipment used in the plan, in the transport trucks or even among the customer’s plant, who will receive their goods or be the end user, because it can be nice to accommodate them as well in the handling process.
The type of walls – solid or ventilated
Depending on the model, the pallet boxes are made with solid or perforated walls to meet applications requiring either a watertight box or a ventilated one.
To preserve the freshness and preservation of fruits and vegetables for example, the agriculture field is using vented pallet boxes for the collection, storage and transportation of the harvest products in bulk. The food processing plans are also big consumers of ventilated food-grade plastic bins for storage of food materials in refrigerators and freezers, where the air must circulate easily to preserve the freshness of food. The vented walls and bottom are also interesting for other industries that are looking for the possibility of soaking, draining or drying the contents when stored in crates.
Solid walls plastic boxes are for the most part watertight and can contain a liquid. A drain is either installed during manufacture, otherwise it can be added as needed. There are many more model choices with solid walls than vented walls. Food processing plans are also major consumers of solid walls combo boxes, they are mainly utilized to store raw materials to be used on production lines or to contain processed products such as animal carcasses, nuts, cheeses or any other type of fresh, frozen or processed products.
Plastic pallet crates can be used under any circumstances such as warehousing, handling, shipping and exports. Which makes them found everywhere; in fields and farms, warehouses, food plans, chemical, pharmaceutical and aeronautic industries, recycling plants, distribution centres, etc.
Characteristics – load capacity, dimensions and volume
Since the variety of pallet boxes is wide on the market, it is important to choose the model that will meet the requirements of the application.
Internal and external dimensions
Using a plastic pallet box can be very different than the usual cardboard ones. One thing to check is that the dimensions of the parts that go inside the plastic pallet box work well with the internal dimensions of it, because due to the thickness of the walls, there may be up to 5 inches difference between the internal and external measurements of the box. People who are used to working with large 40” x 48” x 48” cardboard boxes deposited on a pallet are the first to be surprised by the internal dimensions because the cardboard boxes have thin walls, and the total volume as well is smaller when they pass to plastic pallet boxes.
Indeed, the length and the width decrease because of the thickness of the walls, but the internal height also decreases because the box comes with a pallet. In fact, the pallet adds height to the bin dimensions but contains nothing. To know the internal height of a box, 6’’ must be subtracted from the overall measurement.
When selecting a plastic bulk box, it becomes very important to consider both internal and external measures, to ensure that everything will fit and be appropriate for what it contains, as for the place where it will be handled or stored. It must, for example, be able to slip under equipment, enter the conveyor, pass through a standard door, optimize the storage space in the warehouse or a fridge, maximize the transport truck or even meet the available dimensions at the customer’s plant who might be the end user.
On other occasions, it will be the volume that will be prioritized when selecting a pallet box. For example, the bulk container may contain a complete batch of products, a soaking liquid that will not overflow when the products are introduced, or it has to be more voluminous, leaving an internal height to prevent splashing during transport of liquids or sauces to refrigerators or processing lines.
If each of these specifications is taken into account before making the purchase of pallet boxes, you make sure to work most effectively and thus, facilitate operations, increase the production rate, reduce packaging and unpacking time, save on disposable packaging, maximizing space in the warehouse and during transport.
The solid or vented bins must be selected taking into consideration the type of product to be contained, because the choice of material, the type and thickness of the walls will not be the same if the content is liquid, solid, hot, frozen food, industrial or chemicals, etc.
When the food-grade pallet boxes are going to be used in a food processing plan, a pharmaceutical centre, a laboratory, or just in a cold room or a freezer of a restaurant or a hospital for example, the rules of hygiene and sanitation are stricter and the bins must respect them. Therefore, they must comply with FDA or CFIA standards to be accepted. Inspectors are responsible for validating this compliance.
Food accreditation – FDA AND CFIA
All the pallet boxes that we are promoting are compliant for food contact, but they also serve very well all other areas that do not really need this approval. Every type of industries can use those multipurpose bins because they are very easy to use, durable and they are the perfect type of packaging to facilitate the handling, storage and transport of bulk products in general.
FDA pallet boxes are all made with a virgin polyethylene resin, which means from a first melting, not from recycled material. This resin is white, but by adding a food grade colour dye, the variety of colours becomes very large. This choice of various colours will be quite suitable for food processing plans for example, as they often work with colour codes separating departments, products, allergens, edible from non-edible products or even for discards or garbage products.
FDA: “Food and Drug Administration” – American Standard
The FDA (American Food and Drug Administration) does not approve of a product, it sets the rules that require compliance. All pallet boxes are made from virgin polyethylene that meets the FDA’s standards.
So when we say that a product meets the FDA standards, it indicates that the manufacturing methods and the resin used are meeting its requirements. It is not the article itself or its part number that is accepted, but the material with which it was made that meets the standards. As mentioned above, all pallet boxes that we are offering are FDA compliant, so they can all be used to hold fresh, frozen or processed foods.
For information, all pallet boxes made from recycled resin do not comply with the FDA standards, even though this resin is derived from the granulation of products that were originally made from 100% virgin polyethylene. In fact, a second fusion, no matter what, is no longer considered food grade, it is automatically classified recycled. On the other hand, there are qualities of recycled plastic, either 100% polyethylene or polyethylene mixed with other types of plastics. But we are no longer talking about accreditation here.
To facilitate the access to the contents, an access door can be added. It can be installed either on the short or long side of the bin, or even both sides if needed. It facilitates the work of employees and maximize operations. Access doors become necessary when the pallet boxes are loaded and unloaded by hand and have walls over 36″, because leaning over the walls to reach the content on the bottom can become painful or not safe for employees.
Three types of doors are available: a hinge door, a removable panel or a cut-out opening; thus, the wall is cut to the desired size. The most popular model is the hinged door, because it allows to fill the entire box when closing the door, which the cut-out door does not always aloud. Also, it greatly reduces the possibility of losing or breaking the door because it is always attached to the box, so no part management and disorder. It is possible to choose the size of the door, in width and height, so that the loading is the easiest as possible.
Finally, another option is offered to make the pallet boxes even more practical and profitable; it is to have them manufactured in the desired dimensions. This is a great advantageous option when the choice of standard boxes available on the market does not seem to suit the need. Pallet boxes can be manufactured to specific dimensions to better meet the requirements of the application.
During a custom-made manufacturing, the starting is done with a standard box of 40″ w x 48″ l x 31″ h which will be modified in width, length or height. To obtain bigger dimensions than the original one, 2 or 3 crates can be are cut and weld together.
By changing one dimension out of three, we obtain:
- A pallet box with varied length: 40″ w x (20″ to 136 ” l) x 31″ h
- A pallet box with varied width: (20″ to 136″ w) x 48″ l x 31″ h
- A pallet box with various heights: 40″ w x 48″ l x (10″ to 77″ h)
The combination of 2 dimensional changes at once is also possible, but not all 3 at the same time.
Identifications et colours
By respecting the minimum required, it is also possible to opt for customization such as identification by stickers, plates or hot stamping, or choose a specific colour for manufacturing.
Without any doubt, the options are varied and very interesting. They allow to facilitate the work, maximize handling, increase efficiency and reduce wasted time.