Machinery Needed to Make Wood Pallets

by Ned MillisUpdated September 26, 2017
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Pallets are critical to the bulk movement of goods. They are used to move groceries, building materials, chemicals, automotive parts and all kinds of retail goods. The most common pallets used around the world are wood pallets. Wood pallets are cheap and can be re-cycled. They are strong and can be repaired if damaged from heavy use. A variety of specialized machines are used to fabricate wooden pallets.

Crosscut Saws

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Lumber for wooden pallets is ordered directly from mills that cut the basic wood components to length as ordered. Wood that serves as the top and bottom of pallets is called “deck wood.” Deck wood is applied to the top and bottom units called “stringers.” Pallet manufacturers use manual or automated cut-off saws to cut the deck wood and stringers to specified lengths for assembly.

Nail Guns

Special nailing guns have been developed by nail gun manufacturers for pallet construction. The guns hold long coils of nails to secure the thick deck wood to the stringers. Low-volume pallet makers may use handheld units to assemble the pallets at one-man stations. Manually assembled pallets are labor intensive. Higher-volume pallet makers use assembly-line methods to build pallets. Pallets move through cutting stations and separate stations for stacking desk wood on stringers. One side of the pallet is set up and deck wood nailed with a template before the pallet is flipped and the deck wood is nailed on the reverse side.

Pallet Stackers and Pallet Jacks

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Assembled pallets are stacked clear of the assembly point or line. Specialized pallet stackers pick up a stack of finished pallets and move them to a storage area or loading dock ready for distribution to customers. Pallet stackers are capable of moving pallets from point to point and lifting them vertically for higher stacks. Pallet jacks are used to move a stack of pallets or a loaded pallet at a customer's warehouse.

Fork Lifts

Fork lifts are used to move pallets quickly from storage to loading docks. They may also be used to load flat-bed or enclosed trucks with finished pallets.

Automated Pallet Machines

Because pallet making can be very labor intensive, manufacturers have developed fully automated pallet-building machines. Automatic pallet-building machines are very expensive but they offer the advantages of lower labor cost and better quality control,

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