Products such as produce or other heavy, large, or awkward items are best transported via crates. Custom wood crates are made to fit and secure the product so that it can be shipped without damage. Materials used for construction include hardwood, softwood, plywood, particle board, hardboard, and OSB.
Wooden crates are constructed with six sides, but there are many variations in design. Choice in design should be determined based on the product being shipped as well as transportation method and storage conditions. Every point along its journey will affect the durability of a crate. Differences in pressure, temperature, and humidity can impact the products inside, along with the structural integrity of the crate itself.
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Generally speaking, a closed crate design is one in which the crate is completely or nearly completely enclosed with plywood or lumber boards. An open crate is one that uses lumber for sheathing (or protective covering) placed at predetermined gaps. A frame crate is one that only contains a skeletal structure and no material is added for surface protection.
With any design, when custom wood crates reach a certain size, more boards—called cleats—may be added for structural integrity. It is common to add two cleats across the top panel of a crate for added strength where chains or straps may press on the crate during lifting. “Skids”(or thick bottom runners) are sometimes specified to enable easier access for forklift trucks.