Stiffer, Stronger, Lighter Longer

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In this article we consider the search that many logistics professionals are on in pursuit of value in their logistics chain. New technologies and shifting mindsets are combining to challenge the presumptions about pallet configurations and how to achieve a best value result from the business spend on pallets.

Less than 100 years old, the humble pallet has evolved slowly through the arrival of fork-lifts, addition of bottom boards and varied industry specific needs that, more or less are slight variations on a very static design. The sheer versatility, resilience and functionality of the pallet are quite an achievement and it still remains central to modern materials handling and storage. Despite extraordinary advances in the surrounding machinery and equipment, the pallet remains, undeniably stable and key to the success (or failure) of materials in transit and storage.

In parallel, pallet design has emerged slowly. At first driven by the design of fork-lifts and operational context, effective pallet design technology is now defining pallet construction that will not only ensure pallets carry effectively, but also interact well within their housing and handling interface. In other words, design is now accommodating not only load considerations but what will be carrying the load, and how ought it to be loaded given its journey and lifetime purpose.

Pallet design can now be seen as a process of eliminating waste and reduction of risk through understanding and interpreting unit load considerations rather than just specifications. Pallet owners can benefit from investing in a deeper consideration of the business needs, beyond simply what for many, has been a commodity purchase.

The bottom line to best-value in pallets is a thoughtfully designed component of a material handling system. One that reflects not only a required carrying capacity, but also one that optimises the load in terms of carrying configuration, stress minimisation, and neatly interface with any handling or storage equipment.

The team at Rodpak are experienced and positioned to assist organisations to design pallets which will fulfil industry professionals in seeking out cost and mitigating risk in their business. We can certainly help to answer the perennial question - "can it be done better?".

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