Many of the products that make modern life possible have exacting standards of production. The microprocessors that power the phones and computers we use every day depend on connections smaller than the human eye can see to do their calculations. A microscopic dust particle introduced in manufacturing will sever the connection and create a faulty product. The medicine that cures us when we are sick and the vaccines that keep us from becoming ill in the first place can also be ruined by minuscule amounts of foreign material.
The exacting necessities of pharmaceutical, electronics, and other cleanroom manufacturing are, of course, a logistical challenge. The manufacturing environment must remain clean, but the constant coming and going of components and products provides an avenue for contaminants to enter the cleanroom. A wood pallet that has been stacked outside on loading docks doesn’t begin to come close to meeting cleanroom pallet standards.
Cleanroom manufacturing requirements mean that many companies use a set of cleanroom pallets and then transfer loads to external pallets for shipment outside of the cleanroom. This is an interruption that slows down supply chain operations and can compromise product safety during transportation—as companies like Johnson & Johnson, Depomed, and Pfizer have discovered. Their use of wood pallets for transport caused costly recalls due to chemical contamination. Plastic shipping pallets, which do not absorb chemicals or need to be treated with pesticides, are the clear choice within a cleanroom environment and are also a safer and more hygienic solution for transporting products produced in cleanrooms to storage facilities and end retailers.