Wooden Pallets: How Kiln Drying Differs from Heat Treatment

Posted on: 9 June 2017


People who are planning to order wooden pallets may be unsure about how heat treatment differs from kiln drying where pallets are concerned. This article discusses these two processes so that you can be sure that you have specified the right process when you order your pallets.

Kiln Drying

A kiln is a controlled environment where materials can be placed so that they may be heated to a desired degree. The primary objective of kiln drying is to reduce the moisture content of lumber. Large amounts of moisture can be detrimental to the performance of timber products. For example, the timber can warp as it contracts and expands in accordance with the changes in ambient temperature. Lumber with minimal amounts of moisture will be less likely to warp as temperatures around it change.

Kiln drying is largely used in the flooring and furniture-making industry. However, wooden pallets can also be kiln dried in order to stabilise the timber used.

Heat Treatment

Heat treatment also involves subjecting lumber to controlled amounts of heat. However, the primary objective of heat treatment is to kill any biological agents, such as insects, which may be in that timber. This differs from kiln drying, whose primary objective is to reduce the moisture in the timber.

Heat treatment helps to curb the spread of pests from one location to another as the pallets are used to ship products from the manufacturer to the distributors and the consumers of those products. Several standards exist to regulate how heat treatment should be done in order to sterilise timber. For instance, ISPM15 certification requires wood to be heated for at least 30 minutes at a defined core temperature for the lumber. Any pallets that lack this certification stamp may be denied entry into the country where you are exporting your products.

Heat treatment also has other advantages. For example, it also reduces the moisture content of lumber. Furthermore, heat treatment increases the durability of the pallet because it will be less likely to rot when it is exposed to moderate amounts of water during shipping.

As you can see, the process through which lumber is subjected is determined by the purpose for which that lumber will be used. It may therefore be a mistake to opt for kiln drying instead of heat treatment if you would like pallets to be made for you. Kiln drying can only be an additional step through which timber for making pallets is subjected before it is heat treated. Contact a pallet supplier in case you have any other reservations before you place your order.