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The Automotive Industry Has Been Shifting to Plastic Pallets Over Wood – and Here’s Why

Discover the economic and damage-reduction performance benefits that leading auto manufacturers embrace as the way of the future.

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As technology advances, so do logistics practices. Traditionally, wood pallets were often used to ship various cargo, but with the latest advancements including high-friction, anti-slip technology, plastic pallets and trays have been quickly emerging as the leading material handling solution in supply chain management.

The automotive industry was one of the first to embrace plastic as its pallet material of choice. In this post, we’ll cover the reasons they’ve been making the shift from wood, highlighting the economic and other benefits and industry-specific features that make automotive plastic pallets a more durable, cost-efficient long-term solution. 

Benefits of automotive plastic pallets 

Plastic pallets offer a range of benefits over wood pallets for the automotive industry. As automakers began using automotive plastic pallets and trays, they discovered the following benefits that helped them see that plastic pallets are the way of the future: 

  • Durability: Automotive plastic pallets and trays are more durable than wood because they don’t splinter, warp, or absorb chemicals. Wood pallets simply cannot compete in longevity. Plastic pallets can be used roughly 10 to 12 more times than wood pallets. Better still, old plastic pallets can even be recycled and used in the creation of new plastic pallets while maintaining consistency in strength and integrity.
  • Returnable: Through our plastic pallet buy-back program, automotive plastic pallets can be returned when they have reached the end of their useful life. We will buy back and recycle your used pallets and replace them with new ones. You will even receive a credit to apply to your next order. We pride ourselves on engineering a cost-effective, green solution for shipping cargo. 
  • Cost-effective: At first glance, wood pallets seem to be more cost-effective since plastic pallets can be about three times more expensive up-front. However, in the long-term, wood pallets are actually more expensive. Wood pallets can only last two to three turns before they begin to break down, whereas plastic pallets can last up to 50 – or more – turns with the correct use and environment. For automakers, it may take a decade or longer before they need replacement, helping to deliver a lower cost per load. There is also no need to invest in treating plastic pallets and trays with chemicals or heat like wood requires. 
  • Damage reduction: Our TruGrip™ non-slip plastic pallets have the ideal combination of durometer, ductility, and texture to create optimal friction and hardness that help prevent auto parts from in-load slipping and sliding. With a variety of hardnesses to suit the load, plastic pallets and trays can be used to ship cargo in various weights and still reap the benefits of plastic pallet anti-slip technology. To take it one step further, Cargo Protect+ includes an on-site analysis to determine the products you need to decrease in-transit load shift and reduce product damage – a critical piece of the equation for automakers.

Plastic lends more options than wood

Moving away from wood pallets not only comes with economic and performance benefits, but it also opens a whole new world of plastic product options for automotive industry supply chains. Whether shipping wheels, batteries, engine blocks, cylinder heads, compressors, taillight bezels, oil pans, pistons, or other parts, logistics managers can tailor the following products to their specific application:

The automotive industry has been leading the way in transitioning from wood to plastic pallets, but it’s not the only industry that can benefit. Virtually any industry can see the same economic and performance-boosting advantages from making the switch.

To learn more about automotive plastic pallets and trays or to find out whether plastic pallets are right for your industry and application, contact our sales team online or call 800.356.8150 today.