New plastic pallet developed for leading retailer’s fresh produce needs
The Rami Levy retail chain started out as a small grocery store. Today, it is the largest retail chain in Israel. Its goal is to provide customers with conveniently located stores offering a broad range of products at the lowest prices.
A Rami Levy owned subsidiary is responsible for all the agricultural produce that reaches its branches. Menashe Kadouri, the Purchasing Manager for Rami Levy, was looking for an alternative solution to meet the palletization needs of the new logistics center. This initial conversation led the two companies to collaborate in an interesting and challenging development process that took approximately one year and concluded with the Power Pallet.
At the beginning of the process the sales team was presented with the minimum requirements the pallet needed to meet. This included durability in repeated reuse and ensuring a comprehensive solution at every stage of the work cycle:
- Workplace functionality when loading produce
- Easy and convenient processing at the packing house
- Optimal performance at the company’s logistics center, including the ability to load up to 1,000 Kg in high racks
- Arrival at supermarkets – rapid unloading, while ensuring that pallet weight is not too heavy for manual handling
- Return to the logistics center and repeating the cycle
Beyond these requirements, other design needs were articulated. The 1100 x 1100 dimensions must be adapted to the vegetable crates, preventing plastic crates from sliding off the pallet. Also, the pallet must carry heavy loads (dynamic and static) while still maintaining a light weight.
The R&D team began intensive work on creating a suitable pallet. The process included a tour of all of the customer’s working locations and discussions with the teams at each stage to achieve a thorough understanding of the needs involved. This included several experiments and field tests, until the desired result was achieved.
According to Michal Moses, Product Manager at Plasgad’s R&D Department: “The customer works mainly with “2/3”and “45” crates. However, there are a variety of cardboard boxes and other types of packaging that are used and loaded onto the pallets, making a safety rim for the pallets out of the question. Therefore, we created sockets on the surface of the pallet to support the base of the plastic crates (like lego cubes) and prevent slipping. All without the need for a safely rim.”
To meet the demands of racking, while satisfying the maximum weight requirements for the pallet, Plasgad chose a design that combines steel rods inside the pallet’s plastic structure. During the design stages, Plasgad conducted experiments and analysis to establish the optimal plastic pallet that, together with the rods, will give the required strength to the pallet.
After receiving the product, Plasgad conducted experiments to ensure it complies with all the customer’s requirements and stringent safety standards. Working on the pallet was interesting and challenging and has opened new doors in the development of additional pallets of this type in Euro and other sizes.
The mold arrived at the production site in Israel, and serial production of the Power Pallet began in June 2018 for Rami Levy.