Pregis Hexacomb® is introducing the latest generation paper, honeycomb-based pallet solution into the European market. Unlike most other paper pallets, it is engineered to perform in wet environments.
Called Hexacomb® HexHydro™, the new pallet features moisture-resistant “feet” which make it ideal for demanding plant conditions and also for export via shipping containers which are typically exposed to water while in transit.
HexHydro’s water-resistant properties are achieved by inserting a Hexacomb® honeycomb core into an engineered water-resistant “box” which becomes one of the pallet feet.
The box is made from 100% recycled content fiberboard onto which polyethylene film is laminated. (The small percentage of polyethylene used does not adversely impact recycling in the paper waste stream.) It has been die-cut into precise dimensions, which, when assembled and closed, create a water-resistant seal. (The structure has been jointly developed by Pregis Hexacomb and Smurfit Kappa Specialties Division, Netherlands.)
“We see this product as a great one-way trip alternative to wood or plastic pallets. Not only does it meet rigorous performance requirements, but it is also more cost-effective,” explained Jeff Kellar, president, Hexacomb. “Unlike wood alternatives, HexHydro™ also provides food and pharma manufacturers with a pallet solution that doesn’t require pesticide and fungicide treatment.”
The paper-based HexHydro™ pallets provide additional performance benefits. Each pallet can handle static loads of up to 2,700 kilograms. There are also significant weight benefits. Wood pallets typically weigh 20-plus kilograms each vs. 4- to 5-kilograms for a honeycomb alternative. This means that approximately 360 kilograms can be eliminated from a typical truckload by converting to HexHydro™ pallets which positively impacts transportation costs. The weight reduction also minimizes back strain associated with lifting heavy objects.
Additionally, HexHydro™ pallets can lower overall expenses by eliminating costly pallet exchange and lease programs and minimizing damage claim costs. Other benefits include:
- Smooth surface (no nails to damage product or floors; no splinters)
- Improved sanitation and cleanliness
- Reduced fire hazard (no piles of old pallets)
- Better nesting capability
- Environmentally-friendly (100% paper construction, made from both post- and pre-consumer recycled fibers)
- Suitable for roller-type conveyors
Hexacomb® honeycomb is made from kraft paper (linerboard) and water-based adhesives. The paper is sliced into strips which are glued together to form a pattern of nested hexagonal cells similar in appearance to a beehive honeycomb. To produce a pallet, Hexacomb® honeycomb is used both in the “deck” (or platform) portion of the pallet as well as the “blocks” or “runners.”
The vertical-cell orientation allows the deck to handle heavy loads without a loss of strength. The water-based adhesives used to join the components enable the entire pallet to be recycled with other paper and paperboard products.
Unlike wood pallets, which are mostly available in the industry standard size of 40- by 48-inches, Hexacomb® pallets are available in a variety of non-standard sizes, both for U.S. and export applications. Customers can choose from a variety of standard pallet deck, runner and block dimensions (length, width, height) depending on their specific requirements (such as two-way or four-way entry).
“Currently, HexHydro™ pallets are only available in Europe, but we hope to extend the product’s availability in the future,” Kellar said.
Pregis Hexacomb is a leading supplier of paper-based protective packaging and serves key industries which value product protection coupled with environmental sustainability. This includes furniture, consumer, automotive, textile, food, building products, energy, glass and industrial. Hexacomb has nine manufacturing plants in North America and three in Europe. For more information about Hexacomb visit www.hexacomb.com.