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Standard Pallet Dimensions in Australia

5 Oct, 2022
Understanding standard pallet dimensions is crucial for optimising warehouse storage and transportation. This article details the typical sizes, load capacities, and materials for Australian pallets, including the standard 1165mm square pallet, to ensure compatibility and efficiency in logistics operations." For detailed information on pallet dimensions, materials, and their applications in the Australian context, read the full article

Pallets are essential in various industries, offering an efficient solution for storing and transporting products. According to figures quoted by Deakin University, approximately 140 million pallets are being used in the Australian market alone. In this article, we will discuss everything from What a pallet is to the different types of pallets and the standard pallet dimensions in cm for Australia and internationally.

What is a pallet?

Pallet definition: a portable load-carrying platform usually having two interconnected decks spaced apart so as to permit the entry of lifting equipment, such as fork arms or tines, and used as a base for assembling, storing, stacking, handling or transporting goods as a single unit load.

Types of pallets:

1. Captive Pallet: This pallet is designed explicitly for reuse within a single enterprise or system, ensuring efficient logistics and material handling.

2. Disposable Pallet: Also known as an expendable, non-returnable, one-way, or single-trip pallet, this variant is intended to be discarded after a single shipment or a single cycle of use, reducing the need for return logistics.

3. Four-way Pallet: Designed to allow tines or arms to enter from four different directions, these pallets offer versatility in handling, making them suitable for a wide range of applications.

4. Non-captive Pallet: Used in unrestricted operations that extend beyond one enterprise, including common carrier services and pallet exchange pools, these pallets provide flexibility in supply chain management.

5. Standard Pallet: Meeting the requirements of AS4068-1993 – Australian Standard for Flat Pallets for Materials Handling, this pallet ensures consistency and compatibility across the industry.

6. Two-way Pallet: These pallets allow tines or arms to enter from two opposite directions only, providing stability and efficiency in certain handling scenarios.

By understanding the characteristics and uses of each type, businesses can make informed decisions on which pallets best suit their specific needs.

What is a standard pallet size in Australia?

When it comes to standard pallet dimensions in Australia, the most commonly used size is a square pallet measuring 1165mm × 1165mm (45.87″ × 45.87″).  This standard size was introduced in 1974, specifically for the railway industry  Its dimensions allowed for 2 pallets to fit perfectly side by side in an Australian railway (RACE) container.  As a result, one railway container can hold 20 standard pallets. It is worth noting that around two-thirds of the pallets used in Australia still adhere to 1165mm x 1165mm.

Pallet Dimensions in cm for Australian standard pallet dimensions

For a more precise understanding, let’s break down the pallet dimensions in centimeters:

Australian STANDARD PALLET Depth:

The depth of a pallet is the measurement of the side parallel to the main direction that tines or arms enter. In the case of the Australian standard pallet depth is 116.5cm or 1165mm
Note: this dimension is sometimes called the ‘length of the pallet’.

Australian STANDARD PALLET Height:

The height of a pallet is its overall vertical dimension. On average, the standard pallet height in Australia is 15cm or 150mm.

Australian STANDARD PALLET Width:

The width of a pallet represents the measurement of its side from one end to the other, perpendicular to the direction in which tines or arms enter it. The Australian standard pallet size width is 116.5cm or 1165mm.

Load capacity:

The capacity of the Australian standard pallet ranges from 500kg to 2000kg.

Australian Export Pallet

It’s important to note that another size is used mainly for export purposes alongside the standard pallet size mentioned above. This size is 1100mm × 1100mm and is commonly used when goods need to be shipped in ISO containers. Japan and Korea widely use this pallet size.

While slightly smaller than the standard pallet, this Australian export pallet can still fit two across a standard shipping container. It is worth mentioning that different countries have their own maximum sizes and weight requirements for pallets.

This pallet size is specified in the Australian standard for flat pallets for materials handling AS4068-1993 as the Australian export pallet.

AS4084-1993 – Flat Pallets for Materials Handling Standard

Australia was one of the pioneers in developing a standard pallet size. In 1993, standard sizes were introduced and defined in the Australian Standard AS:4068-1993 Flat pallets for materials handling, as well as the ISO. The introduction of a standard size helped create order within the industry.

Some key requirements outlined by the AS4068-1993 standard include:

  • An Australian standard pallet should measure 1165mm × 1165mm with an inside loading dimension of 865mm.
  • Top boards must be a maximum of 150mm in width and a minimum of 22mm thick.
  • The top intermediate board should be a minimum of 95mm wide and 22mm thick.
  • The overall height of the pallet should not exceed 150mm.
  • The overall weight of the unloaded pallet must be between 30-40kgs
  • The pallet must be capable of holding a capacity of 2000kg in weight.
  • Lengthways and widthway cracks that could risk breaking the boards should be absent.
  • Knots and holes must be less than 50% of the board width.
  • There should be no protruding nails greater than 1mm or large splinters, and all boards are secure.
  • No missing, damaged or misshapen boards.
  • Fungus or mould should not be present.
  • No chemicals, powders or oils should be present.
  • The pallet should be pest-free and free of loose dirt and rubbish.

The benefits of using a standard pallet in Australia

Using a standard pallet in Australia provides several benefits including:

  1. Reduction in labour costs and loading time – as they can be loaded with a forklift
  2. Space optimisation – as pallets can be stacked on top of one another
  3. Durability – pallets can be reused many times and easily stored
  4. Versatile – used in various settings, including warehouses, factories, and retail stores.
  5. Affordable – option for storing and transporting goods in Australia and can be reused multiple times.
  6. Ease of use – used by all major Australian shipping and warehousing systems making the standard pallet size easy to use
  7. Easy to Store – extensively used in Australian storage and warehousing as racking pallets because they can be removed from transport directly onto warehouse racking for storage.

What are pallets made from?

Pallets can be made from hardwood or softwood, with hardwood being suitable for heavy loads over 2 tonnes. Softwood pallets can be made from lighter timber for weights up to 1 or 2 tonnes. Pallets can also be made from plastic or metal, but timber pallets offer advantages such as:

  • Timber is renewable and doesn’t require mining like metals or long-term landfill waste like plastic pallets
  • Easily recycled or fixed
  • Simple in design and construction
  • Offer a great combination of weight, strength, durability and cost-effectiveness
  • Alterations can be made without much time or special equipment
  • It can be taken apart and made into different sizes by cutting or combining pieces

Choose the right pallet size for your needs

When it comes to choosing the right pallet size for your needs, it depends largely on what you need to store and how it will be moved or stored. Several factors should be considered including:

Intended Use

Can the pallet be used with an automated materials handling system or for storage, shipping, export or general purpose?

What the pallet will be carrying

When choosing the pallet type, consider the dimensions and weight of your product to ensure that it occupies the pallet securely: no product overhang and the pallet material and its structure can hold up the weight of your product.

How the pallet will be moved or stored

Will the pallet be moved with a forklift or pallet jack, will it be stored in selective racking or drive-in racking, stacking of loaded pallets and how they’ll be packed into trucks or shipping containers to minimise wasted space?

When choosing the right pallet size for your needs, it’s crucial to consider both the Australian standards and any international shipping requirements that may apply. With a wide range of sizes available on the market, conducting thorough research will help you select the option that best suits your specific circumstances!

Storing your pallets

Total Racking Systems has a wide range of pallet racking options, we can help you optimise your warehouse space while ensuring efficient and safe storage of your pallets.

Our pallet racking systems are designed to meet various storage needs, from heavy-duty industrial applications to smaller warehouses or retail spaces. We offer selective racking, which allows access to each pallet individually, and drive-in racking, which maximises storage density by allowing forklifts to enter the racking system.

At Total Racking Systems, we understand the importance of proper pallet storage for a smooth and streamlined operation. That’s why we provide expert advice and personalised solutions tailored to your requirements. If you are located in Australia, our team of experienced professionals will assess your space, consider factors such as load capacity and accessibility, and recommend the most suitable pallet racking system for your business.

In addition to high-quality pallet racking systems, we also offer accessories and safety features to enhance your storage setup. From wire mesh decks and pallet supports to guard rails and column protectors, we prioritise safety and durability to ensure your goods are securely stored.

Don’t let inefficient pallet storage hinder your warehouse operations. Contact Total Racking Systems today to explore our range of pallet racking storage solutions and take your warehouse organisation to the next level. For more information read our article on the 6 key facts on pallet racks and the benefits of buying locally made pallet racking.

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