Ideas For Extending the Life of Durable Wood Pallets

Increase wood pallet life and durability, and reduce your pallet cost per use by following this advice. 










Laszlo Horvath, Assistant Professor of Practice and Director of the Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design at Virgnia Polytechnic Institute (Virginia Tech) was a speaker at the PACK EXPO 2014 Show in Chicago, Illinois.  Specifically, he was a presenter at the Reusable Packaging Pavilion at PACK EXPO, hosted by the Reusable Packaging Association (RPA.  His presentation was sponsored by United Pallet Services, the supplier of Pallet pointGUARD, a plastic device attached to the end of wood pallets to help increase pallet durability.

Here are some of his ideas for improving the durability of pallets and pallet life, based on decades of research at Virgina Tech:

  • More fasteners: a 5-6 percent increase in the number of fasteners results in a 56 percent improvement.
  • Butting lead-edge deck boards together: butted lead-edge deck boards  deliver a38 percent improvement.
  • Pallet end protectors: split-inhibitors in leading-edge deckboard prove a 48 percent improvement.
  • Use dense hardwood instead of medium density hardwood: the use of dense hardwood instead of medium density hardwood → 38% improvement.
  • Use dense hardwood instead of Douglas-Fir: the use of dense hardwood in place of Douglas fir results in a 165 percent improvement.
  • Use air-dried material instead of green: The use of air-dried material delivers a 43 percent improvement.

This CHEP pallet demonstrates  the butted lead edge board feature. The butted boards provide greater resistance to forklift impact.

One of Laszlo’s key tips is to periodically review pallet requirements. Changes can signal the opportunity for cost reduction changes. Under no circumstances, Laszlo stated, should pallets be designed to last more than 10 years, because produce designs change, and as a result, so will pallet requirements.