What's It Called?
Pallets are much more than simple slabs of wood, nailed together and thrown on a pile. While it’s true that they have no moving parts, they are still manufactured to suit a specific purpose and everything from the type of wood that is used, to the nails, and even the fork entry, is carefully selected and controlled for quality. It’s important to know what different features and processes are called, to understand the business vocabulary associated with package design, in order to communicate ideas clearly between different people and offices. Make your next pallet order faster and more accurately by referring any terminology questions to the following list of related terms.
Recess or cutout on the upper edge of the stringer or the bottom of the top deckboard to allow tie-down of a unit load to the pallet deck with strapping/banding.
Reinforcement on wood containers used to hold a series of boards together to create rigidity – generally set in from each end to prevent board splitting. When used flush with the end it becomes a cleat. Blank – a flat unassembled pallet box exclusive of pallet base and top.
Four-sided superstructure to be mounted on a pallet base, with or without a cover; also known as a box or container bin pallet.
A type of pallet with blocks between the pallet decks or beneath the top deck.
Used for heavier applications, it offers maximum protection for goods being shipped. It’s typically completely enclosed and is used multiple times. The lumber is usually higher quality to ensure product protection. It’s stackable if needed due to the strength of each box.
Deckboards with edges of one or two faces beveled, either along the full or specified length of board or between the stringers of blocks, allowing easier entry of pallet jack wheels.
A piece of lumber used to strengthen or support the framework of a container. Various forms of cleats include batten, diagonal, filler edge, framing, intermediate, support and through-edge.
Used for lighter shipping applications, it offer some protection to goods being shipped. It’s usually not completely enclosed packaging and is designed for single use. The lumber is thinner for lower cost shipping.
Element or component of a pallet deck, oriented perpendicular to the stringer or stringerboard.
The amount of deformation or bending in a pallet or pallet component under load.
Angle member placed between vertical and horizontal members within a panel to provide rigidity to a wood container or crate.
A pallet with top and bottom decks.
A pallet with top and bottom deckboards extending beyond the edges of the stringers or stringerboards.
A mechanical device for joining pallet components such as nails, staples, bolts or screws.
A pallet with deckboards flush with the stringers, stringer-boards or blocks along the sides of the pallet.
Opening between decks, beneath the top deck or beneath the stringer notch to admit forks.
Developed by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) that directly addresses the need to treat wood materials of a thickness greater than 6mm, used to ship products between countries. Its main purpose is to prevent the international transport and spread of disease and insects that could negatively affect plants or ecosystems. ISPM 15 affects all wood packaging material (pallets, crates, dunnage, etc.) requiring that they be debarked and then heat treated or fumigated with methyl bromide and stamped or branded, with a mark of compliance. This mark of compliance is colloquially known as the “wheat stamp”. Products exempt from the ISPM 15 are made from alternative material, like paper, plastic or wood panel products (i.e. OSB, hardboard, and plywood).
Refers to the stringer or stringerboard (in block pallets) length; also refers to the first dimension given to describe a pallet i.e., 48″ x 40″, where 48″ is the pallet stringer/stringerboard length.
Load Bearing Surface
The surface load on a pallet that determines the weight capacity limits, i.e. full uniform load, partial uniform load or point load.
Parts that form the fundamental structure of both sheathed and open crate – members are typically boards. This terminology can also refer to export boxes where structure is inside panel or sheathing. Specific names include bottom/lower, cross, end, intermediate, longitudinal, side and top/upper member.
Fastener made from endless wire by cutting a point and forming a head at the shank end opposite the point.
The National Wooden Pallet and Container Association is a national association with the goal of promoting the design, manufacture, distribution, recycling, and sale of pallets, containers, and reels.
Cutout in lower portion of the stringer to allow entry for the fork tine, usually 9″ in length, 1 1/2″ in depth.
A portable, horizontal, rigid platform used as a base for assembling, storing, stacking, handling and transporting goods as a unit load, often equipped with a superstructure.
Wood container using a pallet as its base.
Pallet Design System
Pallet Design System (PDS) is a reliability-based computer-aided design (CAD) program, for determining the safe load carrying capacity, performance, life and economy of wooden pallets.
When specifying pallet size, the stringer or stringerboard (block pallet) length is always expressed first; for example, a 48″ x 40″ pallet has a 48″ stringer or stringerboard and 40″ deckboards.
Panel Deck Pallet
Pallet constructed with composite or structural panel top deck.
Racked Across Deckboards (RAD) refers to the deflection of a pallet where the rack frame supports the pallet only at the ends of the deckboards.
Racked Across Stringers (RAS) refers to the deflection of a pallet where the rack frame supports the pallet only at the ends of the stringers or stringer boards.
A pallet, container or reel that has been used, discarded, salvaged, repaired and which passes through a cycle again.
A pallet built from either all reclaimed (used) lumber or built from a combination of new and reclaimed lumber.
A pallet owned by a third party, different from the actual pallet user.
A pallet with the top deckboards extending beyond the edges of the stringers or stringer-boards with the bottom deckboards flush (if present).
A pallet having no bottom deck. Also called a single face pallet. Lengthwise member of the base in a wood container.
Wood from coniferous or needle-bearing trees (not necessarily soft or low density).
Continuous, longitudinal, solid or notched beam-component of the pallet used to support deck components, often identified by location as the outside or center stringer.
Overhang of deckboard end from outside edge of stringer or stringer-board.