Wood pallet makers create wood pallets for use in storage, shipping and manipulation of goods. Pallet makers operate a machine that takes in usually low-grade softwood planks treated with heat or chemicals and nails them together. The material and shape of the pallets, the treatment methods, and the number and pattern of nails used are all highly standardised to make exchange of used pallets possible.
The following job titles also refer to wood pallet maker:
pallet machine operator
pallet machine worker
pallet machine technician
wooden pallet maker
pallet machine specialist
pallet nailing machine worker
pallet nailing machine specialist
pallet nailing machine technician
pallet nailing machine operator
A high school diploma is generally required to work as a wood pallet maker.
ISCO skill level
ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:
- the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
- the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
- the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.
Wood pallet maker is a Skill level 2 occupation.
Wood pallet maker career path
These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to wood pallet maker.
Long term prospects
These occupations require some skills and knowledge of wood pallet maker. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of wood pallet maker with a significant experience and/or extensive training.
Essential knowledge and skills
This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of wood pallet maker.
- Types of pallets: The structure, properties and use of the two main types of pallets: stringer and block pallets.
- Pallet dimensions: The standardization and regulation of the different dimensions of pallets, such as ISO pallets, North American pallets or European pallets.
- Quality standards: The national and international requirements, specifications and guidelines to ensure that products, services and processes are of good quality and fit for purpose.
Essential skills and competences
These skills are necessary for the role of wood pallet maker.
- Operate forklift: Operate a forklift, a vehicle with a pronged device in front for lifting and carrying heavy loads.
- Remove inadequate workpieces: Evaluate which deficient processed workpieces do not meet the set-up standard and should be removed and sort the waste according to regulations.
- Troubleshoot: Identify operating problems, decide what to do about it and report accordingly.
- Remove processed workpiece: Remove individual workpieces after processing, from the manufacturing machine or the machine tool. In case of a conveyor belt this involves quick, continuous movement.
- Perform test run: Perform tests putting a system, machine, tool or other equipment through a series of actions under actual operating conditions in order to assess its reliability and suitability to realise its tasks, and adjust settings accordingly.
- Work safely with machines: Check and safely operate machines and equipment required for your work according to manuals and instructions.
- Dispose of cutting waste material: Dispose of possibly hazardous waste material created in the cutting process, such as swarf, scrap and slugs, sort according to regulations, and clean up workplace.
- Wear appropriate protective gear: Wear relevant and necessary protective gear, such as protective goggles or other eye protection, hard hats, safety gloves.
- Monitor conveyor belt: Monitor the flow of the work pieces on the conveyor belt as they are processed by the machine to ensure optimal productivity.
- Monitor automated machines: Continuously check up on the automated machine’s set-up and execution or make regular control rounds. If necessary, record and interpret data on the operating conditions of installations and equipment in order to identify abnormalities.
- Supply machine: Ensure the machine is fed the necessary and adequate materials and control the placement or automatic feed and retrieval of work pieces in the machines or machine tools on the production line.
- Set up the controller of a machine: Set up and give commands to a machine by dispatching the appropriate data and input into the (computer) controller corresponding with the desired processed product.
- Ensure conformity to specifications: Ensure that the assembled products are conform to the specifications given.
Optional knowledge and skills
This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of wood pallet maker. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Woodworking processes: Steps in the processing of wood for the manufacturing of wooden articles and types of machines used for these processes such as drying, shaping, assembling and surface finishing.
- Types of wood: Types of wood, such as birch, pine, poplar, mahogany, maple and tulipwood.
Optional skills and competences
These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of wood pallet maker. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Inspect quality of products: Use various techniques to ensure the product quality is respecting the quality standards and specifications. Oversee defects, packaging and sendbacks of products to different production departments.
- Record production data for quality control: Keep records of the machine’s faults, interventions and irregularities for quality control.
- Carry out measurements of parts: Operate measurement instruments to measure parts of manufactured objects. Take into consideration specifications of manufacturers to perform the measuring.
- Replace sawing blade on machine: Replace the old blade of a sawing machine with a new one by removing the chip brush, taking away the front blade guide, loosening the blade tension and removing the blade. Assemble and install new blade by replacing the front blade guide, installing the chip brush, replacing the blade cover and adjusting blade tension.
- Identify hazards in the workplace: Perform safety audits and inspections on workplaces and workplace equipment. Ensure that they meet safety regulations and identify hazards and risks.
- Conduct routine machinery checks: Check machinery and equipment to ensure reliable performance during use and operations in worksites.
- Operate nailing machinery: Set up and operate machinery and equipment that uses nails to fasten wooden parts together to create goods, such as boxes, crates or pallets.
- Stack empty pallets: Deposit empty pallets in the designed location.
- Perform machine maintenance: Perform regular maintenance, possibly including corrections and alterations, on a machine or machine tool to ensure it remains in a proper productive state.
- Prepare production reports: Prepare a comprehensive and unbiased report on wood technology production and progressive development of wood based materials.
- Operate nail gun: Use a mechanical tool to fasten parts together by hammering nails into wood or other materials. The nails are ejected by compressed air, electromagnetism or other forces.
- Consult technical resources: Read and interpret such technical resources such as digital or paper drawings and adjustment data in order to properly set up a machine or working tool, or to assemble mechanical equipment.
- Check quality of raw materials: Check the quality of basic materials used for the production of semi-finished and finished goods by assessing some of its characteristics and, if needed, select samples to be analysed.
- Operate thickness planer machine: Feed wood materials into the thickness planer, after which a surfaced board is retrieved. Avoid ‘sniping’ by using an additional piece of wood with the same thickness.
- Heat materials: Put the materials in an oven and heat them for a certain amount of time and to a specific temperature to shape or cure the material.
- Keep records of work progress: Maintain records of the progress of the work including time, defects, malfunctions, etc.
- Inspect machinery: Check machine equipment for proper performance and detect faults and malfunctions. Diagnose malfunctions using testing equipment to determine the required repair.
- Produce customised products: Produce goods designed and created to fit the specific needs or request of a customer.
- Operate wood sawing equipment: Operate various machinery and equipment to cut wood in different sizes and shapes.
- Load pallets: Ability to load and unload pallets on vehicles in a safe way.
ISCO group and title
7523 – Woodworking-machine tool setters and operators
- Wood pallet maker – ESCO