Rackable, nestable in design, PALLET+910 has the possibility of transforming the market, says Schaefer Plastics North America.
Schaefer Plastics North America has introduced a new rackable/nestable plastic and steel composite pallet, the PALLET+910. It is the first pallet to offer this combination of functionality in the North American market, according to the company.
The benefits of nestable pallets are well known to many pallet users in applications such as export, downstream consumer products distribution, chemical, and postal and printing, to name some. The attractiveness of nestable pallets is particularly evident when stacked to provide dramatically improved empty pallet cube utilization in transport and storage versus typical pallets, which have a bottom face and do not nest.
Nestable pallets can help dramatically reduce the cost and environmental impact of empty pallet reverse logistics. Potentially, it is an extremely exciting opportunity. Up to this point, however, they have not yet been widely considered as an option for pallet rack storage – a barrier that has limited their more widespread adoption. The new pallet is rackable in both directions.
Branded as the PALLET+910, the new pallet is so named because it can stack 35 pallets per stack, or 910 pallets per truckload – based on a calculator of 26 pallet positions. It is part of Schaefer’s PALLET+™ product range. Made from recyclable materials, it is truly a composite pallet. It features a polypropylene exterior with superior rigidity and strength provided by a continuous inner steel structure. Additionally, the PALLET+910 works with the Schaefer Track and Trace service to provide complete traceability.
The 910 is based on the standard 48×40” footprint to support industries such as grocery, food, and beverage. It is designed to be washable and provides airflow to facilitate drainage and ventilation, features particularly valuable for perishable products.
While there have been many plastic pallets introduced to the marketplace over the years, improvements have been incremental, according to Andy Schumacher, Vice President of Packaging for Schaefer Plastics North America, LLC. “None of them are gravitating towards a truly game-changing value proposition,” he told Reusable Packaging News. “My whole goal with this happening is that it’s so unique that it captures the mind and also the hearts of the whole industry and challenges them to look at things differently.”
SSI Schaefer is partnering with Dan Kroeker, a longtime retail industry veteran in developing the nestable and rackable pallet. Kroeker, the founder of Quad Foot Pallet, developed the concept about four years ago. “I looked at the wood pallets product is normally shipped on and the space-saving plastic nestable pallet and said why isn’t there a pallet that combines the advantages of both into a single pallet? Then the idea for the Quad Foot Pallet hit me. It has been a fun journey and has kept me busy in retirement.”
Kroeker said he is excited to partner with SSI Schaefer. “SSI is known in the plastic manufacturing community as an innovator, looking at what the market needs and then filling that need,” he continued. “SSI has a wealth of plastic manufacturing knowledge and the ability to manufacture the Pallet+910 all in one company. We’re confident that SSI will be able to take this unique pallet design, showcase the bottom-line impact for their customers, and scale manufacturing to meet market demand.”
Gavin Keen, a leading international pallet pooling expert, has introduced samples of the Quad pallet into an international supply chain for testing. Aside from other benefits mentioned above, he cited the lack of center blocks as a particular advantage for the South Africa retail environment. “The ride-on power pallet trucks are the cause of most pallet damage,” he said. “Eliminating the center blocks and bottom elements significantly reduces the average pallet damage rate.” For the 910+, the addition of limited center blocks has been made to support conveyability in automated systems.
Schumacher stated that it is already suitable for 80 or 90% of applications for intended markets, with continued refinements continuing to be made. “It’s such a game changer that people should take a serious look at it,” he concluded.
We agree. Watch for further upcoming coverage on this trend. The PALLET+910 will be on display at PROMAT 2023 in Chicago.