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COMING INTO FOCUS: Innovation Seeks to Reduce Damage, Improve Pallet Life
California pallet company develops protective plastic shield to reduce damage and increase the life of a pallet.
Date Posted: 11/1/2012
Looking for the best way to improve pallets has been a tireless pursuit over the past thirty years. Innovators have tried everything it seems to improve pallet performance and increase the life span of a pallet. United Pallet Services Inc. of Modesto, Calif., a wooden pallet supplier, has developed the pointGUARD™, a plastic shield that protects wooden pallets from forklift damage to high-impact areas. These plastic shields are molded to fit a typical pallet design and attached to the exterior of a pallet using wood screws.
Based on tests conducted at the Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design (CPULD) at Virginia Tech, results indicate a 48 x 40 block wooden pallet equipped with a pointGUARD could last up to 60 cycles. The two outside middle boards were the ones that failed the most with the pointGuard. This makes sense because that was the unprotected side of the pallet.
Wayne Randall, president of United Pallet Services said, “A wooden pallet fitted with the PointGuard lasted as long as any plastic pallet out there.”
United Pallet Services has developed the pointGUARD in response to customer concerns about product damage due to pallets. This patent pending design also prevents damage to the top lead board caused by strapping.
United Pallet Services tested its unique shield design on the FasTrack testing simulation offered by the CPULD. This testing simulation is designed to mimic the real world stress of pallets in fast moving consumer goods supply chain. Changes made after previous FasTrack simulations have helped significantly improve the life cycle of a pallet design
How long a pallet can last all depends on the design. Things that can impact the longevity of a pallet include the joints and fasteners, the amount of wood or plastic in the pallet, the design, the stiffness of the material, etc. On average, a pooled wooden pallet takes about 10 cycles before failure of some sort and may go as high as 20 cycles. The average rackable plastic pallet can last between 40-60 cycles.
Whether or not you like the pointGUARD concept or not, it does show the kind of innovation that is possible and needed with the typical wooden pallet, which has not changed much in years. Finding solutions to problems and taking risk is something that this industry needs more of if it wants to protect future markets.
The pointGUARD weighs about 3.lbs each guard and is currently offered for stringer 48x40 pallets. Each set (two shields) costs about $16. For more information on the pointGUARD visit www.palletpointguard.com or call 209/538-5844.