The pallet is today the most widely used base for supporting and/or handling goods in the world.
Over time, we have gone from an initial phase in which pallet sizes were left to the total discretion of individual users, to a time when, for purely commercial reasons, uniformity began to emerge, and now we have a situation in which the general-purpose pallet has standard characteristics. Provided it has the correct approvals, the pallet has become interchangeable equipment almost everywhere, solving the problem of having to return the pallet to its point of departure every time its use in an individual transport operation has ended.
Pallet use in the European context has developed over time into two main sizes, namely the 800×1200 mm size, known as the "EUR" pallet, and the 1000×1200 mm size, commonly known as the "Philips or European” pallet.
— THE PALLET WITH THE MEASURE 800x1200 mm IS DEFINED AS "EUR" PALLET
— THE PALLET WITH THE MEASURE 1000X1200 mm IS DEFINED AS “PHILIPS” PALLET
Both sizes are characterised by a height from the ground and a base conformation represented by 9 feet (145 and 100 mm on each side), joined together at the bottom in groups of three by wooden strips 22 mm thick, placed in the direction of the larger size.
The first examples of interchangeability of the equipment also came about thanks to the cooperation of railway companies, which procured pallets in large numbers and marked them with their logos on the feet and the word "EUR" in an oval. On 9 December 1960, the then EEC authority decided for the first time that pallets could circulate freely between member states without being subject to duty.
Already at this early stage, common minimum characteristics were decided with regard to the quality of the materials used, and harmonisation has continued right up to the present day, with the current technical specifications that a pallet must meet in order to bear the registered logo (EPAL-EUR).
In the latest regulatory revision, special consideration was given to ecology and health safety issues. Highlighted on the pallet by the oval lettering "EUR" and subsequently "EPAL".
The 800×1200 mm size, is the format that allows the best possible use of the surface area of the most common loading vehicles, allowing vehicles of various sizes to be used, from the smallest van to the largest trailer. If we consider that a standard semi-trailer has a loading base of approximately 13.6 x 2.5 metres, this means that it has the capacity for 34 euro-pallets.
THE EUR PALLET 800X1200 IS THE IDEAL SIZE FOR LOAD TRANSPORT
The drawback of this size is that it isn’t suitable for 20 and 40 foot containers and creates logistical problems in ocean shipping.
In the United States and Central-North America, the standard size is 40×48 inches (roughly equivalent in size to the European 1000×1200 mm). While in Asia, the square 1100×1100 mm size is frequently used.