Will Corrugated Pallets Work for Me?

Posted by Austin Duncan on July 29,2019

Conitex Sonoco receives a lot of interest in our popular LoadRunner® corrugated pallet. Our patented core technology sets the LoadRunner® apart from the competition in strength and resistance to moisture so it’s no wonder that so many companies are interested in the LoadRunner’s superior design. However, there are some factors to consider when deciding if a corrugated pallet will work for your production, storage and handling environment. Let’s take a look at some common challenges to determine if corrugated pallets will work for you.

1. My product is stored outside or in standing water

Extremely wet conditions will not work for a corrugated pallet.  Our corrugated pallet is able to withstand high moisture environments like those found in the conditioning process for textile yarn and the high humidity environment of a cargo container, but the LoadRunner® is not meant to be used in outdoor environments, in standing water or with products that leak liquids onto the pallet.  Our anti-wicking cores are able to withstand the moisture, but the top (and bottom) deck of the pallet and the runners will delaminate and eventually fail. We do not recommend the LoadRunner® for use in wet environments.

Will it work? NO.

2. We (or our customers) use open racking

openrackingThe strength of our LoadRunner® corrugated pallet exists in our super strong core technology. These cores are spaced evenly within the pallet’s corrugated runners and are designed to share the weight of an evenly distributed weight load across the top deck of the pallet. Unfortunately, without any support across the center of the pallet, the weight of the load cannot be evenly distributed which causes a corrugated pallet to fail in open rack storage. (Open racking is a storage system that does not contain any shelving or structural support across the center of the storage system. See photo for reference.) However, it is possible to use a wood pallet to support corrugated pallets in an open racking system allowing you to still take advantage of the many benefits of a corrugated pallet.

Will it work? POSSIBLY.

3. We use an automatic packaging line with open conveyors

Similar to the issue mentioned with open racking, with an open conveyor system a corrugated pallet must have even structural support below the width of the pallet so it will not work on an open conveyor unless you use a wood pallet or plywood to evenly support the width of the corrugated pallet. The LoadRunner® works well with a standard roller system or a supported conveyor system.

Will it work? POSSIBLY.

4. Our warehouse staff could be a professional demolition team

I will never forget the time we brought a sample corrugated pallet to a prospective customer and the warehouse manager took his size 14 boot and jumped on the unsupported section of the top deck between the runners. After a resounding “POP!” of the material, he looked thoroughly pleased with his demonstration, much to the horror of their packaging engineer and purchasing manager, and said “These things won’t work!” Your warehouse team should be trained on the proper handling and intended use of a corrugated pallet. Slewing, bumping or sliding the pallet with a forklift rather than picking the pallet up with the forks, standing on unsupported sections or over-handling the pallet can cause the pallet to prematurely fail. However, properly handled corrugated pallets can be reused multiple times when care is exercised throughout the handling, storage and shipping process.

Will it work? NOT WITHOUT TRAINING.

5. Our packaged product’s weight is not evenly distributed or shifts during handling

If your product shifts a lot during handling or is unevenly distributed a corrugated pallet may not be a great fit for you. There are obvious sections for any pallet that will be weaker than the supported runner section. The weight of your packaged product should rest securely on our sturdy cores and should be evenly distributed. We customize each pallet to our customer’s specific application and our pallet design engineers take this into consideration when determining the placement of the runners/cores on the pallet. Our pallets have been tested by Virginia Tech’s Center for Unit Load Design and performed favorably against ASTM D1185 testing standards.

Will it work? NO.

6. I ship largely LTL shipments

Theoretically, there is nothing wrong with how the LoadRunner® will perform during transport. However, with LTL shipments, the frequent handling can be a contributing factor for pallet failure. With full truckload shipments the shipment isn’t typically reconfigured or switched to a new truck, etc., so the pallet is less likely to be mishandled during transport. With LTL shipments the pallets are at the mercy of the carrier and how careful they are with handling.

Will it work? POSSIBLE, BUT NOT IDEAL.

7. I need an extremely large pallet

Our corrugated pallets are manufactured on a pallet assembly machine we call PAM. PAM provides automated assembly capabilities to 60” x 60”. Anything larger than 60” requires hand assembly which begins to impact the price of the pallet. Can we make larger corrugated pallets? Yes and we are happy to do so. Custom pallets are our specialty.

Will it work? YES

8. I need to stack my pallets

LoadRunner® corrugated pallets are stackable. The number of units high will depend upon the product load placed on the pallet and weight distribution on a case by case basis. No pun intended.

Will it work? YES

These are some of the most common challenges we find when determining if our LoadRunner® corrugated pallet is a potential fit for any new opportunity but there are always a combination of factors to consider which is why we ask for the following:

  1. Fill out an application assessment. (<< Get started here>>) Try to include pictures if you have them.
  2. Have our rep visit your facility (if schedule and distance allows) to see how your current pallets are packed, handled, stored and shipped to identify any possible improvements, challenges or other considerations that might impact design or performance.
  3. Have sample pallets made.
  4. Have our rep train your staff on the proper handling of corrugated pallets.
  5. Test the samples onsite, during transport and at your customer's site. (We provide a couple of free samples. You cover shipping.)
  6. Tweak or finalize and approve the design.

If you have been considering corrugated pallets and want to know for sure whether our LoadRunner® corrugated pallet is right for you, get started with our application assessment today. We look forward to finding the right pallet design for your packaging needs.

Take Application Assessment

Tags: Pallets

Austin Duncan
ABOUT:

Austin Duncan

Austin Duncan is North American Sales Representative for Conitex Sonoco's Converted Products. Austin holds a Bachelor's degree from Wingate University and was formerly Production Supervisor and eCommerce Product Manager, Sales for a bedding and furniture manufacturer in North Carolina. Austin is responsible for Conitex Sonoco's Textile Carrier, Corrugated Pallets and Sliver Can sales from our North American Headquarters in Gastonia, NC USA.

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