Plastic pallets are the perfect choice for the global distributor of electrical components

More and more companies are switching from wooden pallets to plastic pallets to increase efficiency, improve operational processes and reduce their impact on the environment.

In the summer of 2021, when a global electronics component supplier approached to help them find a more efficient pallet to integrate seamlessly into their automated high bay system, the plastic pallet experts had the solution.

Starting as a supplier of spare parts for radio repair shops 84 years ago, the company has grown to become the world’s largest distributor of electronics and maintenance products.

Today, it operates in +30 countries, offers approximately 500,000 products to over one million customers and ships over 44,000 packages per day, many of which are delivered the next day if ordered before 8:30 pm.

One of the important steps in achieving this growth was the opening of its main UK distribution center in 1997. This 500,000 square foot warehouse has enabled the company to make substantial progress in the ‘fulfillment of orders, expansion into new countries and development of its presence in e-commerce.

As the business continued to grow at a rapid pace, it incorporated new technologies into its processes to improve efficiency. Automation and robotic technology have made order picking and packing faster and more accurate, which means happier customers.

However, the company’s engineering and facilities team was beginning to identify areas in their day-to-day operations where wooden pallets were not performing as well as they wanted. The team reached out to for advice on recurring wooden pallet issues and were looking for a recommendation for a different solution in their order fulfillment process.

The distribution center consists of a 15-level high-bay pallet warehouse with over 19,000 pallet locations and 1.2 million SKUs.

When the stock arrives at the warehouse, it is delivered on pallets and the pallets are stowed in the high bay warehouse, their location being recorded in the inventory system. When the company receives an order, the goods are collected from the great height and presented to the preparer on the pallet. The item is picked, scanned and the stock pallet is returned to the high rack. The stock level is adjusted and the product moves to the next stage of order fulfillment.

To meet its commitment to next day delivery to customers, the process of picking, packing and shipping must be flawless and fast. Incoming wooden pallets often varied in quality with different sizes and sizes of fork openings present in the supply chain, which impacted the efficiency of the operation.

Most of the pallets received were damaged and in poor condition, and not strong enough to enter the high bay through the automation system. This meant that the pallet had to be exchanged and the goods reloaded before they were accepted into the big bay.

There have been other instances where wooden pallets had been accepted into the system but subsequently failed under load, meaning the pallets could not be automatically retrieved and sent to the picking area. This caused disruptions and delays with double handling of goods and interventions by warehouse staff to remove damaged pallets from the large bay. This was both time consuming and expensive, as the high bay area had to be isolated and the sample suspended to allow this process to be performed safely. recommended its “APB1210 Pool Pallet 5R” for its strength, consistency and reliability.

This sturdy pallet with five skates is made from high quality recycled polymer. It is designed for multi-cycle use and can withstand rigorous handling. High pressure injection molding in a polished molding tool ensures dimensional accuracy and constant loading capabilities of the pallet. Smooth radius corner block profiles and wide flat slides also mean the plastic pallet moves easily through automation, rolls well on conveyors, and passes through junctions and intersections in and out of the building. great height.

The pallet has a high performance specification and is rated to ISO 8611 at 1200 kg when stored in pallet racks. It has a dynamic load capacity of 2,500 kg. The fork openings are wide and well designed and allow easy operation of forklifts, PPTs and stacker cranes.

The high load capacities allow the customer to load the pallet with individual heavy items such as cable drums on the pallet knowing that the pallet will not flex and can still be accessed by automated cranes on and off the system. hat rails.

Unlike wooden pallets, a plastic pallet is consistent in size and weight. With heavy workloads, wooden pallets quickly became damaged and inconsistent in use. The nails on wooden pallets loosen and fall, and the wood moves and breaks under load, causing the pallet to fail. Nails and splinters of wood will then enter the automated system causing regular stops on the roller and chain conveyors. The APB1210 5R swimming pool pallet does not retain moisture, so the surface of the plastic pallet is clean and dry and keeps the retail packaging of the stored products in perfect condition.

Since the trial, the customer has replaced 6,110 wooden pallets with plastic pallets. The next step for the company is to consider the advantages of the APB1210 5R swimming pool pallet as the main pallet used in a fixed loop. It can issue pallets to suppliers, deliver them to the distribution center with stock, use them in the automated system, and return them to suppliers when empty to restart the process.