Metal Pallets

Written by Shirley Parker
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Metal pallets are needed when wood, plastic or corrugated just can't handle the job. Examples would be when the weight is enormous or the product very dangerous. Galvanized steel pallets are used for very abusive conditions. They are often the standard 48" x 40" size and treated during manufacture to withstand extreme heat, cold or corrosion.

Testing of galvanized steel pallets includes dropping them from various heights, to make sure they meet government specs. They are also load tested to meet government specifications for withstanding up to 16,000 lbs, when such weight is evenly distributed. A safe working load might be up to 4,000 lbs.

Steel pallets have a variety of commercial applications, including use in foundries or warehouses that move large containers of bulk products in and out. Frequently, galvanized steel pallets are also the pallets of choice for ocean freight, where containers may experience unwanted entrance of salt water, or saltwater spray, particularly if carried on an open deck. Aluminum pallets are extremely strong and compare favorably with steel, sometimes outperforming them. Both metals are used for seafreight containers that are generally 20 feet or 40 feet in length.

Military and Hazardous Waste Use

The military also uses or strongly recommends steel pallets to transport ordnance, including weapons, live ammunition and combat vehicles. These are all extremely heavy and potentially dangerous loads. However, metal pallets are slick, lacking the friction of wood pallets, so additional heavy-duty tie-downs are usually necessary. Workers who transport hazardous waste materials also keep in mind the possible slippage of metal drums containing caustic, toxic or poisonous products. Securing them at all times is critical.


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