The Timber Packaging & Pallet Confederation (TIMCON) has launched a new Essential Guide Pack (EGP) for drying timber pallets manufactured using timber that has not been pre-kilned – a process standard to supply quality and fit for purpose pallets.
The EGP includes Dry Pallet process standards and an easy-to-use computer data analysis tool. The guide is a further addition to the many free-of-charge benefits already available to TIMCON members.
TIMCON commissioned an independent and in-depth study led by Dr Ivor Davies of Edinburgh Napier University Forest Products Research Institute (FPRI); this was due to the increase in demand for kiln dried pallets – the requirement of these pallets being supplied stain and mould free – and the lack of documented information.
The study involved exhaustive trials of kiln drying assembled pallets, carried out in the commercial pallet manufacturing environment. The trials took place on 18 kiln batches and processed almost 15,000 moisture content measurements.
The EGP focuses on best practice for the UK pallet industry supported by independent and verifiable evidence. Going forward, TIMCON recommends pallet manufacturers carry out their own trials, which should meet the performance requirements and verification procedures detailed in the EGP.
The study’s results identified, from a variety of drying options and drying schedules, the dried pallets can be categorised into three standard levels. This will help manufacturers offer a range of dry pallet service offerings to an agreed Acceptable Quality Level (AQL) tailored to the individual needs of any pallet user.
TIMCON members who want to be endorsed as meeting the required premium standard benchmark and processing criteria defined in the EGP must submit their dry pallet data for verification to TIMCON. Following the submission of data and successful verification, members will be added to the approved suppliers list published on the TIMCON website.
Stuart Hex, General Secretary of TIMCON, said: “On occasions, mould can present a challenge for pallets and packaging made from all materials – it is important to point out that most packaging materials may face mould issues. However, we in the wood based pallet and packaging industry have always maintained we can meet this challenge; now we have the evidence to back this up.”
“We believe there are pallet companies in the UK that have on occasions been responding to customer pressure by guaranteeing mould free pallets and a set maximum moisture content for every pallet. The study has clearly shown that these claims are unachievable and are potentially causing harm to the industry’s credibility. The pallet industry now has independently verifiable scientific evidence to support this.
“The great advantage of wood is that we can kiln dry it to set levels of performance. There has previously been confusion about what it is technically possible to deliver in terms of guaranteeing a dry pallet, and there has been no commonly accepted dry standard for pallets. This is the first time the industry has had a reference document that gives an in-depth view of what is required and what is achievable when drying timber pallets.
“To aid both manufacturers and pallet users further, TIMCON recently published the Best Practice Guide to Timber Stain and Mould – for Users of Wooden Pallets which gives detailed information about sensible precautions the pallet user can take with regards transportation, storage and shrink wrapping to ensure that the pallets remain in the same fit for purpose condition they were delivered in. This essential guide now gives our manufacturer members the tools to educate customers and, based on a sound, scientific approach provide them with assurance on dry pallets.”
TIMCON stresses that members wishing to become a named “Approved Supplier” must conduct drying trials to achieve the “Premium” standard quality benchmark and complete three preliminary assessment spreadsheets (sampling of 60 pallet batches) to TIMCON. TIMCON will then verify the compliance data.