New White Paper Analyzes Molded Wood Pallets for Strength, Functionality in One-Way Shipping

Stiffness matters, when it comes to pallet and unit load performance, and based on a recent study, Litco’s Inca molded pallets were found to be twice as stiff as GMA pallet designs.

Litco’s Inca 48″ x 40″ molded wood pallets feature nested stacking and 4-way forklift entry. Superior stiffness enhances all other packaging components of a unit load.

Litco International, Inc. has announced the publication of a new white paper: “A COMPARISON OF PALLET STRENGTH and FUNCTIONALITY.” The 12-page white paper, authored by Dr Marshall White, provides detailed analysis comparing Litco’s Inca molded pallets to GMA-style, new and repaired, traditional nailed wood pallets for one-way shipping.

The study is based on published testing reports by Marshall S. White, PhD, an internationally recognized authority on the design of pallets, packaging, and unit loads for shipping.

Gary Sharon, Executive Vice President of Litco said: “Dr White’s study is important because it independently compares the strength and functionality of the pallets. From that, he then concludes the impact of each pallet’s design on supply chain operating efficiency.

Strength and functionality, along with price, determine an optimal design and cost benefit basis for shipping products on pallets.”

The complete study is available at This paper makes the case that a stronger, stiffer and more durable pallet will better protect packaged product from the rigors of supply chain handling. “It is important to note that mechanical stresses imposed on the packaged product in a unit load during handling and shipping pass through the pallet first,” said Dr White.

In addition to comparing pallet weight and moisture content among other characteristics, the study specifically evaluated Litco’s Inca molded wood pallet and new and rebuilt GMA-style wood pallets on two measures: Pallet Strength and Deck Stiffness. Two measures of shipping pallet strength were compared:

  1. Dynamic strength when supporting loads on forklifts
  2. Static strength when supporting loads on the warehouse floor

Of critical importance, the comparative deck stiffness was evaluated as the single most important functionality characteristic of a pallet. Stiffness is defined in the study as how much the top deck deforms under load. Simply put, “stiffer pallets are better” because they enhance all other packaging components of a unit load.

A significant finding in the study was that the Inca pallet performed remarkably well at twice the stiffness compared to the GMA pallet designs.

The study concludes that when Inca pallets are compared to a GMA-style:

  1. When used as a one-way shipping platform, the Inca pallet will improve supply chain operational efficiency
  2. There will be less product damage and product contamination when shipping on an Inca pallet.
  3. There will be fewer injuries associated with the use of the Inca pallets
  4. Using the Inca pallet will significantly increase shipping and materials handling efficiency

Additional key findings in the study:

  • The Inca pallet has a much higher resistance to mold because it has 86% less moisture content than a new, heat-treated GMA-type hardwood pallet
  • At the time of manufacturing, the Inca pallet is sanitized at temperatures exceeding 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Inca pallets with rounded corners are lighter and ergonomically easier to handle, manually, and therefore reduce work-related injuries.