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Aspenite versus plywood crate? Which type of crate best protects your merchandise?

Aspenite and plywood are two types of wood panel used in the manufacture of industrial crates for packing, transporting and storing goods.


Aspenite crate versus plywood crate

However, they differ in terms of manufacturing method and, consequently, in terms of strength and quality.


Aspenite crate

Aspenite is made from small wood chips and synthetic resins, which are pressed together to form a panel.


Because it is made from agglomerated wood shavings, aspenite is generally economical and is usually used in the manufacture of single-use crates, for lightweight goods or those not subject to environmental conditions such as humidity and water.


Plywood crate

Plywood, on the other hand, is made from wood veneers glued together in several layers of criss-cross fibers. The glue used is waterproof, and the various layers are arranged so that the wood grain alternates between each layer, giving it great strength. 


Plywood crates are generally more expensive than aspenite crates, since the way plywood is manufactured makes it stronger and more durable.


However, depending on the case, it may be preferable to opt for one material rather than another.


Material comparison: aspenite versus plywood

Both aspenite and plywood crates are used for a wide variety of packaging applications. Of course, as with any type of product, there are advantages and disadvantages to be considered in order to avoid damage during handling, transport or storage.


Because of its strength and durability, plywood is used in a wide range of applications, whereas aspenite offers less strength and toughness due to its wood-chip structure. Aspenite can warp or break more easily, making it a less suitable choice for heavy loads. Aspenite is therefore reserved for less demanding packaging and lightweight applications.


Here are the main points to remember about aspenite crates:


  • Less durability: aspenite is less durable and less resistant to impact and deformation than plywood.


  • Moisture sensitivity: aspenite absorbs moisture more readily than plywood, which can cause edges to swell or crumble when exposed to water or humidity.


  • Fastening difficulties: screws and nails may have trouble holding securely in aspenite, especially near the edges of the box, as its fibers are more brittle than those of plywood.


  • Repair complexities: in the event of damage, it can be difficult to repair aspenite particleboard, since it tends to crumble when repeatedly cut or drilled.


  • Low structural strength: aspenite has a lower structural strength than plywood, which can be a disadvantage for projects requiring high strength.


As you can see, plywood offers superior strength, toughness and durability due to its multi-layer cross-laminated construction, the use of quality wood veneers and waterproof glue. Plywood is able to withstand very heavy loads and is more resistant to tensile or twisting forces, making it ideal for transporting, handling and storing goods.


As a result, aspenite boxes can be an economical and versatile choice for certain projects. However, if durability, structural strength and moisture resistance are important factors, plywood is a better choice for several reasons:


Strength: plywood is composed of several layers of glued veneer, making it stronger and more resistant than aspenite and solid wood.


Lightness: lighter than metal or solid wood packaging, it keeps transport costs down.


Your choice of material for the design of your wooden crates should therefore be guided by:

  • the type of merchandise you have to ship;

  • the weight of your merchandise;

  • the size of the crate versus the level of strength required (e.g., based on the length of the crate);

  • the distance your merchandise must travel;

  • mode of transport chosen (sea, air, land);

  • type of storage (indoor or outdoor);

  • your specific needs;

  • available budget.


In any case, both materials offer versatility, since both plywood and aspenite crates can be custom-designed to fit the specific dimensions of your product. Of course, the price of a crate depends not only on the material used, but also on the complexity of its design and manufacture.


At Crates and Pallets, we specialize in custom crates for all types of businesses and industries. Visit our website to learn more about our wooden crates, packaging and shipping services.


Do you have any questions? Our team will be happy to discuss your needs. Contact us at 1.888.627.2837 or visit Crates&Pallets Web site.

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