The reason for this bare construction is that rackable pallets are designed to fit squarely on those beams, which allows for their easy, safe and efficient placement and removal by forklifts and jacks.
The base of a given rackable plastic pallet determines what kind of storage rack it is suited for. Many plastic pallet bases feature leg designs that allow for the easiest entry by forklift attachments. They usually feature four legs at the corners of the pallet frame, one leg in the middle of the pallet and one leg placed at the middle of each of the pallet’s sides.
This construction allows for forklift access from any side, though forklift operators must be especially careful when racking this kind of pallet. Other varieties feature pallets with “picture frame” bases, which are completely flat on the top and bottom surfaces but feature hollow channels in their middles for forklift access.
Most rackable pallets are made of injection molded high-density polyethylene, or HDPE. HDPE is known for its strength and durability, which make it an excellent choice in demanding applications. The injection molding process is a common method for processing plastics because of its relative ease and simplicity.
The process requires a supply of raw plastic material; the material can be newly processed, or it can come from recycled plastic products. In both cases, the raw material is loaded into a conveyance channel that leads to a mold cavity. The mold cavity is specially designed in the shape of the intended plastic product.
A long screw in the conveyance channel heats and pressurizes the plastic material, which brings it to a molten state. The molten plastic is then ready to be injected into the mold cavity where it takes the mold’s shape. Once it has been shaped, the plastic cools and hardens. It is then ejected from the mold and made ready for customer use.
Five other plastic fabrication processes are also used to create plastic pallets: structural foam molding, thermoforming, compression molding, rotational molding and profile extrusion. Injection molding is the most common process because it is a comparatively simple process and produces durable products.