Pallet and Top Cap System Protects Coca-Cola Freestyle Dispenser – InterBev Award Winner


To help The Coca-Cola Company better package and protect their Coca-Cola Freestyle® beverage dispensers for shipment to restaurants across the United States, Polymer Solutions International, Inc. designed and engineered a unique 3-piece pallet and top cap shipping platform named the Side Step Pallet System.

“Previously, Coca-Cola used a single-piece thermoformed plastic pallet to package the Coca-Cola Freestyle dispensers for shipment,” explains Steve Kurth, Director of North American Sales for Polymer Solutions. “But this system created a shipping package with a high center of gravity, which was not optimal for shipping.”  Furthermore, when a dispenser arrived at its restaurant destination, special pallet ramps had to be deployed to remove it from the packaging.

To solve these problems, Polymer Solutions’ transport packaging engineers devised the reusable Side Step Pallet System. Molded entirely from 100% recyclable, FDA-approved polypropylene (PP), the system includes a 42 x 32-inch footprint pallet assembly with a separate center and left/right base rails that are easily removed with a pallet jack. To secure the dispenser to the base pallet and reinforce dimensional integrity during transit, the system also includes a top cap, also molded of PP.

“Being able to add and remove the center and base rail components separately in both shipping and installation keeps the Coca-Cola Freestyle dispenser close to the ground for a lower center of gravity. Not only does this make for more stable shipping, but it also allows for easier removal from the packaging and faster installation at its destination” Kurth says.

Since the initial development of the system, Coca-Cola has capitalized on a variety of cost savings as a result of the new packaging. These include:

  • Reduction of shipping claims caused by damage in transit.
  • The ability to ship units individually via a less-than-truckload (LTL) network.
  • Elimination of the need for and use of ramps to remove the dispenser from the packaging.
  • Faster installations at restaurants.
  • Re-use of the Side Step Pallet System, reducing packaging waste and supporting sustainability initiatives.

In recognition of the cost savings delivered by the Side Step Pallet System to Coca-Cola’s distribution process, the shipping platform won “Best Distribution Innovation” at the 2012 InterBev Awards. Supported by the American Beverage Association, the competition highlighted innovative solutions created for the beverage industry, and attracted more than 170 entries from 15 countries in 30 categories.

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