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Comparing Suppliers of Pallet Heat-Treating Systems, Chambers
Heat-Treating Equipment: Systems to heat-treat pallets or lumber can enable a company to supply pallets for export; a review of heat-treating equipment with information provided in a table format.

By Staff
Date Posted: 4/1/2007

   Treating pallets for export applications is another way that pallet suppliers can add value to their products and profits to their business.

   Treating processes for lumber and pallet have come to the forefront in recent years since the establishment of global phytosanitary standards for wooden pallets and containers to eliminate the spread of wood-eating insects from one country to another. Lumber and pallets may be treated by fumigation or heat to eliminate the risk of insect infestation. Proper treatment and marking is the only way for wood packaging material to comply with the international standard.

   Many companies supplying heat treating systems for the pallet and container industry are manufacturers and suppliers of dry kilns and dry kiln equipment. Although heat treating for global phytosanitary standards and kiln drying lumber are not the same, they share some similarities in science, technology and equipment.

   In fact, some have developed systems that can perform dual functions — treating pallets to meet phytosanitary standards and kiln drying lumber. In addition, some suppliers have had prior industry specific experience with equipment and products for heat treating processes for pest eradication.

   Heat-treating systems can vary widely. Systems are available to treat relatively small quantities of pallets (less than a truckload) to multiple truckloads. Suppliers can erect a heat treatment chamber from the ground up, provide units that can be readily put in place on a concrete pad, or supply equipment packages that enable heat treating pallets in a shipping container or trailer van. Chambers may allow loading and unloading pallets by forklift or they may use a specialized loading system. Fuel may range from wood to electricity or propane.

   Another issue to consider in evaluating and selecting equipment for heat treating pallets is the control system and record keeping. Systems are available that function automatically and may be monitored remotely; they also capture and record data during the process – information that may be needed to meet certification requirements.

   The following pages contain information on advertisers that supply pallet heat treating equipment. We submitted a survey form to each one to capture information. Some of the questions we asked were:

   • Do you offer standard models, and how many?

   • Do you offer ‘turn-key’ models?

   • Do you supply equipment to adapt a truck trailer or container?

   • What is the capacity of GMA pallets?

   • What is the lumber capacity in board feet?

   • What is the charge time – time required to complete the heat-treating process once pallets are loaded?

   • What is the loading method – forklift, cart?

   • What is the fuel type and heating method?

   We also allowed suppliers a certain amount of space to list features and options beyond the information contained in the survey questions.

   There can be quite a variance in some areas, such as charge time. How fast the pallets can be treated may depend on the type of pallets (recycled pallets or new pallets made of green lumber), ambient temperature, and so on. Fuel cost per pallet also may vary according to the type of fuel used, the charge time, ambient temperature, and so on.

   The information has been compiled in the accompanying tables, and it is a good starting point if your company is exploring options for heat-treating pallets.

   As with any decision to invest in plant or equipment, carefully scrutinize your company’s requirements and the technology offered by suppliers. The more information you gather, the better informed will be your decision.

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