Plastic Pallet Lifespan Dramatically Longer Than Wood
OCONOMOWOC, Wisconsin – Researchers from the Virginia Tech Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design used the centre’s FasTrack life-cycle analysis to compare relative durability of wood and plastic pallets
In the tests, Orbis Corporation’s 40 by 48-inch RackoCell plastic pallet was shown to have approximately 18 times the life span of a 40 by 48-inch whitewood stringer pallet.
The FasTrack life-cycle analysis included a 10-step handling sequence, which involved routine pallet handling activities, followed by inspections of the plastic and whitewood pallets.
The Virginia Tech centre performs tests for pallet and container manufacturers and their customers to develop new, more efficient pallet, packaging, and equipment designs. A description of some of the equipment available in the test lab can be found here.
In testing, the RackoCell plastic pallet completed the sequence up to 200 times without failure, while the wood pallet’s average failure was after 11 cycles.
“We wanted to quantify the life and durability of plastic pallets to help companies understand the long-term cost savings associated with reusable plastic pallets,” said Ryan Roessler, product manager at Orbis.
“The FasTrack life-cycle analysis confirms just one of the many advantages plastic pallets have over wood. More companies are transitioning to plastic for their dimensionally consistent design, cleanability and environmentally friendly characteristics.”
The RackoCell is a one-piece plastic pallet manufactured for hygienic use in food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries. It was chosen for this testing because it has performance characteristics that are similar to traditional whitewood pallets, including load ratings, footprint, and racking strength required in food manufacturing and distribution applications.
In addition to lasting durability, the RackoCell is easily cleanable, keeps plants free of wood chips and can store products in unsupported racking systems while protecting loads from damage caused by nails or loose boards associated with wood pallets.