Pallet boxes are containers designed specifically to fit on pallet jacks, hand-propelled, wheeled platforms used to lift and move palletized unit loads. Companies use pallet boxes to ship and store many types of cargo, from food to industrial materials. When the boxes reach their destination, which is usually a warehouse, workers use pallet jacks to lift and stack them for transfer into storage areas or onto trucks. An assortment of standard-size boxes is available for purchase, or they can be made to a customer’s specifications.
Both standard and custom pallet boxes come in a choice of materials. They can be made of corrugated cardboard, fiberboard, plastic, metal or wood. Sides and floors may be solid, slatted, wire mesh, or a combination of solid bottoms and open sides. Collapsible or rigid boxes are available new or used from a number of manufacturers and retailers. They come in square or rectangular shapes that can be stacked for more efficient use of space in warehouses, shipping containers and trucks.
Depending on their use, pallet boxes may be open or closed on top. Open boxes are usually shrink-wrapped in heavy plastic prior to shipping. Binding stacks of boxes together with shrink wrap plastic increases stability when they are loaded on and off the pallet jack.
The type of pallet box selected by shippers depends on the contents that will go into the container. Some products, such as machine parts or industrial equipment, call for transport and storage boxes made of heavy plastic or metal. Delicate or fragile objects, though surrounded by layers of protective packing, also need the extra security of a strong container that can resist crushing or compression. Items such as cartons of clothing or lightweight food products can be shipped successfully in standard cardboard boxes.
Transporting liquids or refrigerated cargo requires the use of highly specialized pallet boxes. These containers frequently have double walls and insulation and may have interior reinforcements to increase their overall strength and capacity to withstand compression. Pallet boxes used for liquids come with interior surfaces that are resistant to acid or alkaline solutions. Openings in the corners allow them to be drained and cleaned as needed.
Though generally utilized for moving and storing mundane commercial products, pallet boxes fulfill functions that lift them out of their usual realm and accord them a level of importance that may go largely unrecognized. Museums regularly use special customized pallet containers to ship valuable art treasures, such as paintings and sculptures, around the world. In these instances, the interior of the lowly pallet boxes can be tailored precisely to accommodate and safeguard the priceless article or articles they will hold.