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Pallet Design Expert Launches New Software Tool
Unit load expert launches new pallet design tool designed for packaging professionals, pallet users, pallet suppliers and others.

By Staff
Date Posted: 10/1/2012

                Aimed at pallet users and pallet producers that are looking for a basic, low-cost design tool, White & Company has just announced the development of Best Pallet®, a stringer pallet design and analysis software program. White & Company of Blacksburg, Va. is a packaging research and consulting firm led by Dr. Mark White, a globally recognized expert in the area of unit load analysis and pallet design.

                Best Pallet is an easy-to-use pallet structural analysis tool for packaging professionals, pallet users, pallet suppliers and others. The program designs, analyzes, and optimizes stringer pallets as well as creates specifications with graphics. A demo version was launched on October 1, 2012 on the White and Company website at http://www.whiteandcompany.net/

                Dr. White and his team of experts developed Best Pallet’s 3-D mathematical-model based on over 30 years of research on the scientific principles of wood properties and systems-based design while directing Virginia Tech’s, Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design (CPULD). Behind Best Pallet’s® straight-forward user interface, lies finite element structural analysis techniques and engineering fundamentals combined with years of laboratory and field testing. The software calculates estimates of pallet strength and deformation based on user-specified descriptions of the pallet and its handling environment.

                For years the industry standard software for design has been the Pallet Design System (PDS), which was developed by researchers at Virginia Tech in cooperation with the National Wooden Pallet & Container Association over many years. The NWPCA owns PDS and currently only makes it available to pallet manufacturers and recyclers. White & Co. is offering Best Pallet as a simplified pallet design tool to both pallet suppliers and users/buyers. The software will be available for annual lease on November 1 for $995, with discounts available for multiple licensing.

                White said, “I don’t think that anybody is going to replace PDS with Best Pallet because it does things that our new tool does not do.” He explained that the current version of Best Pallet does not analyze block pallets nor does it calculate durability and the number of trips that a pallet design will be able to make.

                White added, “We made Best Pallet very user friendly. It offers an easy-to-use interface that saves time and makes the process easier for experts and novices alike.” Despite a more scaled down approach, Best Pallet outputs top notch structural analysis for stringer pallets design.

                In essence, White & Company has taken the pallet design aspect of its complete Best Load® design software and simplified it to provide a tool that lands between a basic pallet drawing program and a fully detailed PDS analysis.

                White said, “Our clients have been requesting this tool for well over a decade, we are responding to the market. Best Pallet gives supply chain owners the ability to develop the optimum pallet design based on the demands of their unique systems from production line through distribution, storage and retail display.”

                According to White, Best Pallet is just the first step in achieving an optimized supply chain and is a program module within a much more powerful systems-based design tool. Best Load®, White & Co.’s proprietary unit load packaging design optimization software, has the ability to design the pallet, package, and unit load. It will predict the compression stress on the distribution packaging as a function of pallet design, package design, unit load design and unit load storage practices.

                Best Load® will also predict the compression strength, weight, and optimum dimensions of corrugated fiberboard boxes as well as select the optimum fit of distribution packaging to pallets and unit loads to shipping containers. The software also optimizes stretch film applications and documents packaging mass, volume, and cost data for managing sustainability goals. It is currently available for White & Company clients on a consulting basis, and the company is considering offering it to the market in some commercial capacity early next year.

                Having led the team for years that pioneered PDS and worked to develop the expertise and reputation of the CPULD at Virginia Tech, Mark White is uniquely qualified to develop these new software tools. Currently, he is a professor emeritus at Virginia Tech and still works with aspiring young minds to develop the future of unit load design.

                White points out the importance of pallet design as a key step toward supply chain optimization. He said, “Pallet manufacturers can rarely get the breadth of detail needed from the purchasing agent or local shipping manager to design for the extreme handling environments to which unit loads may be exposed, once leaving the production floor.”

                White added, “Best Pallet is a tool for packaging professionals to communicate requirements to their pallet vendor suppliers. Product damage, workplace safety, and load failure are all direct results of poor pallet design. This breakdown results in huge inefficiencies in the supply chain. Best Pallet will help begin to narrow this costly divide.”

                Besides the scaled down, simplified approach of Best Pallet, another major difference between Best Pallet and PDS is that licensees will own the pallet designs they produce indefinitely, regardless of lease renewal.

                For more information or to download the demo version of the software, visit http://www.whiteandcompany.net/ or call 800/942-7943.

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