Letter to the Editor: Reader Questions Column, Description of GMA Pallet
Many people refer to 48x40 block pallets as 40x48. This is often the case with plastic block-style pallets. It seems that block pallets are much more susceptible to this even though block pallets have both top deck boards and stringer boards. The stringer board direction should come first.
By Ed Brindley
Date Posted: 7/1/2007
Rick LeBlanc wrote a very interesting column about the GMA footprint (GMA Footprint Optimized Both Rail and Truck Freight, May Pallet Enterprise).
For many years almost everyone in the pallet industry has tried to develop a uniform standard for entering orders for production. We always try to have the customer specify the stringer length first and the top and bottom boards second.
In his article Rick refers to the GMA pallet as a 40x48 while in accordance with the industry standard nomenclature we would identify this pallet as a 48x40. The 40x48 pallet is commonly known as an ‘opposite way’ or ‘GPO,’ which has four stringers.
I only bring this up because we want the industry ordering standard to be stringer size first and board size second. It only takes one load produced wrong to understand the importance of size sequence.
Peters Pallets, Inc.
Thanks for calling attention to this. I was out of the country when this issue went to the printer and just made a cursory read of the article in question after the fact.
In his column, Rick never actually referred to the GMA pallet, a 48x40 pallet, although he wrote extensively about the early popularity of the 40x48 pallet in the 1940s.
The confusion was over the title to his column. When Rick submitted his column, it carried the title, ‘Breaking News from 1949: 40x48 Footprint Optimizes Both Rail and Truck Freight.’ The title was changed (GMA Footprint, etc.) in the editing process and was in error, and nobody caught it through our multi-level proofing process. We apologize for the oversight.
Rick was looking back to the late 1940s to some early printed material related to pallets. What he wrote in his column appears to be an accurate portrayal of what was being said at that time. The old articles identified the Navy and emerging grocery pallets as 40x48; for Navy pallets that seems to have been an accurate portrayal. The rest of the material was simply a reflection on what the old articles stated. Of course, the same principal of optimizing both truck and rail transport would hold equally true for both 48x40 and 40x48.
Rick stated, “I would make a guess that as truck transport came to dominate, it would be more important for a stringer pallet to have its full opening on the ends that would facilitate rapid truck loading versus rail loading.”
Our staff agrees that in today’s market the stringer dimension should come first; certainly this has been our standard practice for over 25 years.
However, it does point to an interesting observation. Many people refer to 48x40 block pallets as 40x48. This is often the case with plastic block-style pallets. It seems that block pallets are much more susceptible to this even though block pallets have both top deck boards and stringer boards. The stringer board direction should come first.
It was obviously not our intention to put anything into print that might cause any confusion to readers who are not familiar with common industry practice.
Thanks for your letter. We always look forward to hearing constructive comments from friends in the industry.
Ed Brindley, Ph.D.
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