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BLOCKPal – the new pallet on the block

25 May 2016

The use of plastic to create returnable and reusable pallets has delivered numerous benefits to certain sectors, such as food and beverages, consumer packaged goods and automotive works. Other industries, however, have been forced to buy wooden pallets because making the switch simply hasn’t been feasible due to plastic pallets’ lower strength-to-weight ratio, which fails to cope with heavy loads. The BLOCKPal pallet could change this.

Stronger Than Steel

Made from resin and fibreglass, the BLOCKPal’s composite material base is stronger than steel, producing some startling figures. Its racking load rating comes in at 6,500lb, dynamic loads at 9,800lb and its static load capacity is rated at 60,000lb. This opens up many industries, especially those dealing with heavy materials like masonry, stone, automotive parts and heavy metals, to a potential alternative to purchasing new wooden pallets with every shipment.

Adoption of the BLOCKPal across a supply chain, therefore, could lead to reduced logistics expenditure on many counts, including decreased costs of damaged pallet replacement, product losses due to weak shipping platforms and overall cost per trip.

Furthermore, due to the durability and strength of the resin and fibreglass composite material, empty BLOCKPals can be stacked with a lower height profile and with wider lift truck openings than those provided by plastic or traditional wood pallets. This allows for 640 BLOCKPal pallets to be shipped per load on the return journey, as opposed to 540 wooden or plastic pallets – a freight saving of 17 per cent.

Composite Materials: A Multitude of Benefits

The BLOCKPal also retains the numerous benefits of plastic pallets over wood. For example, when a firm wants to buy wooden pallets to be used for the international shipment of food, the pallets must first be heat-treated to kill any fungus or bacteria, after which they are certified as ISPM 15 pallets. This regulation does not apply to pallets using plastics or composite materials.

The fibre-resin composite used in the BLOCKPal is additionally fully non-porous and fire-resistant, and the pultrusion manufacturing process allows for the affordable production of any number of pallet dimensions, both standardised and specific custom requests for particular industries. The heat resistance of the BLOCKPal is impressive, withstanding temperatures from -40 C to 80 C.

The BLOCKPal also boasts ‘smart’ features, with the ERICA asset management software system included by the manufacturer with large-volume purchases. This software is designed to pinpoint a specific pallet’s location, as well as maximise the efficiency of a pallet pooling scheme and ensure the return of these valuable assets.

The reported benefits of the BLOCKPal are likely to make many procurement teams think twice when encountering wood pallets for sale. Increased competition is regarded as a good thing in industry, producing innovation on all sides, but the effects of the BLOCKPal on the plastic pallet industry could be negative – just as it starts to forge a solid hold over certain segments of the pallet market.

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