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Thursday, May 23, 2024

New trials prove prolonged pallet life

University trials have revealed UPALL’s new protecting components extend the working life of pallets by ‘a minimum of three times’ before first repair

Edinburgh Napier University tests have confirmed that new patented guards fitted to Euro size (800mm x 1200) wooden pallets extend their grocery supply chain lifespan – and their environmental benefits – dramatically.

The robust UPALL-branded protectors, which were launched recently by UPALL Limited, are fitted at the point of entry on all four sides of the pallets in order to reduce damage to key structural components, including blocks, base boards and stringers.

The Napier University research replicated pallet handling conditions in European dry grocery supply chains. They found that the UPALL protectors gave the timber at the perimeter of the pallet a high degree of protection from impact damage.

Specific results of tests on UPALL pallets compared with non-protected pallets include:

  • A minimum of three times longer life before first needing a repair. 
  • A high level of prevention of damage to blocks. There was a 96 per cent reduction in damage of corner blocks – usually the most frequently damaged part of a wooden pallet.
  • 52 per cent reduction in damage to stringers and base boards.
  • 16 per cent reduction in damage to top-deck boards.

The results are consistent with the findings of earlier tests carried out at Virginia Tech in the US, which showed that wooden pallets protected by UPALL have a lifespan at least three times greater than a conventional wooden pallet.

UPALL pallets last longer and spend more time in circulation – rather than out of use being repaired. The reduction in damage means less dust, splinters and other debris; consistent dimension tolerances are maintained; and unit loads are safer.

The carbon stored in the wooden pallets is retained for longer as a result of their longer lifespan. Meanwhile, a closed loop approach sees the polypropylene UPALL guards recycled at the end of their useful life.

UPALL is currently working with one of the major pallet pools and suppliers who are running trials across several supply chains.

Gil Covey, Chairman of UPALL, said: “The team at Edinburgh Napier University have put UPALL through its paces by replicating as closely as possible the stress pallets undergo in the supply chain – and has provided further evidence that UPALL guards extend the lifespan of a wooden pallet significantly.

“Compared with an unprotected pallet, a UPALL-protected pallet lasts much longer, needs far fewer repairs and stays in circulation for longer earning revenue. The economic advantages are compelling – while a pallet that is longer-lasting, reusable and fully recyclable also has a much greater benefit for the environment.”

UPALL protectors can be supplied in corporate colours, with printed logos and other designs, so they can be displayed at the point of sale in retailers.

The Napier University trials were modelled on previous trials at Virginia Tech, although the procedure was modified to more accurately replicate European conditions. All pallets were checked at the start of the process and any damage incurred during the trial was meticulously recorded.

UPALL Limited is a joint venture company in which James Jones & Sons (Pallets and Packaging) Limited is a major shareholder. 

James Jones & Sons Ltd is a leading forest-products group whose activity encompasses forest planting and harvesting, sawmilling, engineered timber products for the UK construction sector, pallet and packaging manufacture and repair and the supply of pallet collars and protectors.

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