Pallet Terms & Definitions

Here are some terms commonly used in the pallet industry along with a description of the products and services we offer at epallet.

Annular Nail
Pallet nail with annular (circular ring) threads rolled onto the shank

Four-sided superstructure to be mounted on a pallet base, with or without a cover; also known as a box or container bin pallet

Rectangular, square, or cylindrical deck spacer, often identified by its location within the pallet as corner block, end block, edge block, inner block, center, or middle blocks

Block Pallet
A type of pallet with blocks between the pallet decks or beneath the top deck

Bottom Deck
Assembly of deck boards comprising the lower, load bearing surface of the pallet

Butted Deck Board
An inner deck board placed tightly against an adjacent lead deck board during pallet assembly

Computer-aided-design software that allows the design of the “right” pallet at the best value; see Pallet Design System (PDS)

Captive Pallet
A pallet intended for use within the confines of a single facility, system, or ownership; not intended to be exchanged

Chamfered Deck Boards
Deck boards 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

Closed Distribution System
Shipping system restricted to moving goods between specified plants and facilities

Collapsible wooden container or bin which transforms a pallet into a box

Corner Post
Typically, a steel cube, fitted with an oval opening on the outside These openings serve to lift the containers or to secure them onboard transportation or to connect the container to another container.

Cost Pass Through
A cost-share system where the partial cost of a pallet is passed-through from the purchaser to the receiver of the pallet

Cost Per Trip
Average cost of pallet use for a single one-way trip

Pallets designed specifically for maximum protection during storage and transport. Durable and easy to handle, they carry heavy loads

One or more boards or panels comprising the top or bottom surface of the pallet

Deck Mat
Assembly of deck boards and stringer boards, forming the deck of a block pallet

Deck Board
Element or component of a pallet deck, oriented perpendicular to the stringer or stringer board

Deck Board Spacing
Distance between adjacent deck boards

Deck Board Span
Distance between deck board supports (stringers, stringer boards or blocks)

The amount of deformation or bending in a pallet or pallet component under load

Double-Face Pallet
A pallet with top and bottom decks

Double-Wing Pallet
A pallet with top and bottom deck boards extending beyond the edges of the stringers or stringer boards

Drive Screw Nail
Helically (continuous spiral) threaded pallet nail

Designed in a variety of forms, it is used to stabilize, secure, and protect cargo during transportation. Typically placed in the voids between cargo items, it braces against potential damage.

Economic Life
Output from PDS program which identifies the number of trips the pallet will make, provided it is properly repaired, which maximizes a return on investment

Exchange Pallet
A pallet intended for use among a designated group of shippers and receivers where ownership of the pallet is transferred with the ownership of the unit load; common pool pallet

Expendable Pallet
A pallet intended for a series of handlings during a single trip from shipper to receiver; it is then disposed; see Shipping Pallet

A mechanical device for joining pallet components such as nails, staples, bolts, or screws

Fastener Shear Index
Relative measure of shear resistance of the pallet fastener

Flush Pallet
A pallet with deck boards flush with the stringers, stringer-boards or blocks along the sides of the pallet

Fork Entry
Opening between decks, beneath the top deck or beneath the stringer notch to admit forks

Four-Way Block Pallet
A pallet with openings at each pallet ends and along pallet sides sufficient to admit hand-pallet jacks; full four-way entry pallet

Free Span
The distance between supports in a warehouse rack

Originally a trade name for a bulk-size corrugated box commonly seen in local grocery or big box stores, they attach to wood pallets to hold a bagged product or fresh produce

GMA Approved
A pallet constructed in accordance with the guidelines drafted by the Grocery Manufacturers Association

Hand (Wheel) Jack Opening
Space provided in the bottom deck to allow pallet jack wheels to bear on the floor

A single pick-up, movement and set down of a loaded or empty pallet

Hardened Steel Nail
Heat-treated and tempered steel pallet nail with a MIBANT angle between 8 and 28 degrees

Wood from broad-leaved species of trees non-coniferous, (not necessarily hard or dense)

Heat Treating
Heat-treated pallets are required for all wood packaging material used in international shipments, a necessary step for ensuring the safety of not only the product being shipped but also the environment of the product’s destination. The process specifically targets fungi and insects.

Helical Nail
Helically (continuous spiral) threaded pallet nail, see also Drive Screw Nail

Injection Molded
A process to create stronger, more durable, and more lightweight plastic pallets.

Inner Deck Board
Any deck board located between the end deck boards

Intersection and connection of components, often identified by location within the pallet as the end joint, center joint and corner joint

Refers to the stringer or stringer board (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/stringer board length

Life to First Repair
Output from PDS program which is equivalent to the number of trips the pallet will last before needing repair

Line Load
The weight of a unit load concentrated along a narrow area across the full length or width of the pallet

Load Bearing Surface
Actual area of material in contact with and supporting a unit load

Morgan Impact Bend Angle Nail Tester

The bend angle in a fastener shank when subjected to a MIBANT test

Standard impact nail tester used in the pallet and lumber industry as an indication of impact bend resistance of nails or staples

Fastener made from endless wire by cutting a point and forming a head at the shank end opposite the point

National Wooden Pallet and Container Association
A national association with the goal of promoting the design, manufacture, distribution, recycling, and sale of pallets, containers, and reels

Non-Reversible Pallet
A pallet with bottom deck board configuration different from top deck

Cutout in lower portion of the stringer to allow entry for the fork tine, usually 9" in length, 1 1/2" in depth

Notched Stringer
A stringer with two notches spaced for fork-tine entry, (partial four-way entry)

Opening Height
The vertical distance measured between decks, from the floor to the underside of the top deck, or from the floor to the top of the stringer notch

Oriented Strand Board (OSB)
An engineered wood-based panel consisting of strands of wood that are bonded together with a synthetic resin, the strands are pressed together in layers.

Overall Height
The vertical distance measured from the floor to the top side of the top deck

The distance the deck extends from the outer edge of the stringer or stringer board; wing; lip; distance the unit load extends beyond the deck

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

Pallet Design System (PDS)
Reliability-based computer-aided design (CAD) program, for determining the safe load carrying capacity, performance, life, and economy of wooden pallets

Pallet Dimensions
When specifying pallet size, the stringer or stringer board (block pallet) length is always expressed first; for example, a 48" x 40" pallet has a 48" stringer or stringer board and 40" deck boards. This is critical when calling out a pallet size.

Pallet Jack
Hand-propelled wheeled platform, equipped with a lifting device for moving palletized unit loads

Pallet Life
The period during which the pallet remains useful, expressed in units of time or in the number of one-way trips

Panel Deck Pallet
Pallet constructed with composite or structural panel top deck

Partial Four-Way Stringer Pallet
A pallet with notched stringers

Plastic Lumber
A plastic form of timber made of virgin or recycled plastic. Widely employed in outdoor decking, it is also used for to create sturdy, light pallets within shipping.

Poly Bags
A small bag made from soft plastic

Post Pallet
A pallet fitted with posts or blocks between the decks or beneath the top deck; see block pallet

Consistent performance of a uniform product meeting the customer's needs for economy and function

Racked Across Deck Boards
Output from PDS program describing the maximum load carrying capacity and deflection of a pallet where the rack frame supports the pallet only at the ends of the deck boards

Racked Across Stringers
Output from the PDS program describing the maximum load carrying capacity and deflection of a pallet where the rack frame supports the pallet only at the ends of the stringers or stringer boards

Reconditioned Pallet
Reconditioned, used, or second-hand pallets are created through recycling previously used material and are typically lower in cost.

A pallet, container or reel that has been used, discarded, salvaged, repaired and which passes through a cycle again

Rental Pallet
A pallet owned by a third party, different from the actual pallet user

To remake to use again

Returnable/Reusable Pallet
A pallet designed to be used for more than one trip

Reverse Logistics
Operations related to the reuse of products and materials. It is the process of moving goods from their typical destination for the purpose of capturing value or proper disposal.

Reversible Pallet
A pallet with identical top and bottom decks

Shipping Pallet
Pallet designed to be used for a single one-way trip from shipper to receiver; it is then disposed; see Expendable Pallet

Cut-to-size pallet parts to be assembled into pallets

Shook Grade
The classification of the quality of pallet parts relative to performance characteristics based on size and distribution of defects, independent of wood species

Shrink Film
Material created from polymer plastic film. When heat is applied, it shrinks tightly over whatever it is covering.

Single-Wing Pallet
A pallet with the top deck boards extending beyond the edges of the stringers or stringer-boards with the bottom deck boards flush (if present)

A pallet having no bottom deck

Slave Pallet
Pallet, platform or single, thick panel used as a support base for a palletized load in rack-storage facilities or production systems

Soft Nail
Pallet nail with a MIBANT angle equal to or greater than 47 degrees

Wood from coniferous or needle-bearing trees (not necessarily soft or low density)

Solid Deck Pallet
A pallet constructed with no spacing between deck boards

A device or piece used to create or maintain a desired amount of space between two pallets, typically when stacked vertically

The distance between stringer or block supports

Stevedore Pallet
A pallet designed for use on seaport shipping docks, normally of heavy-duty, double-wing construction

Stiff-Stock Steel Nail
Pallet nail made of medium-high carbon steel without heat treatment and tempering with MIBANT angle between 29 and 46 degrees

Strap Slot (also called Banding Notch)
Recess or cutout on the upper edge of the stringer or the bottom of the top deck board to allow tie-down of a unit load to the pallet deck with strapping/banding, also called the banding notch

Thin flat bands used to secure load to pallet

Stretch Film
Highly stretchable plastic film that is wrapped around items, keeping the items tightly bound. In contrast, shrink wrap is applied loosely around an item and shrinks tightly with heat.

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

Stringer Board
In block pallets, continuous, solid board member extending for the full length of the pallet perpendicular to deck board members and placed between deck boards and blocks

Take-It-Or-Leave-It Pallet (TIOLI)
A pallet fitted with fixed cleats on the top deck boards to permit fork truck tines to pass beneath the unit load and remove it from the pallet

Top Cap
Panel to be placed on top of a unit load to allow for tight strapping without damaging the unit load

Top-Deck of the Pallet
The assembly of deck boards comprising the upper load-carrying surface of the pallet

Consists of four to six handlings of a pallet

Two-Way Entry Pallet
A pallet with un-notched solid stringers allowing entry only from the ends

Unit Load
Assembly of goods on a pallet for handling, moving, storing, and stacking as a single entity

Warehouse Pallet
A double-face multiple trip returnable pallet intended for general warehouse use

Overhang of deck board end from outside edge of stringer or stringer-board