Ever since we came up with the put-a-plastic-shield-on-a-wood-pallet concept and named them pointGUARD® Pallet Protection Products we have done a good deal of explaining how the system works. Although easy in theory, we know that our brains are conditioned to view things in a certain way and envisioning our concept takes a little imagination to get a good grasp on how it works. So, in the next few blog posts, I'm going to walk through what pointGUARD® Pallet Protection Products are and what they are not, how to install them on a pallet, how they protect the pallet, and finally how they bring so many benefits to the table.
So to start, let's look at what pointGUARD® Pallet Protection Products looks like. As pictured below, you can see that they are not pallets but inserts that attach to a wood pallet. When you purchase our protection products, you usually will purchase 2 units. This will give you one for each of the main entry points of a standard pallet. If you are not familiar with a wood pallet or its been a while since you have dealt with one, no worries. Click here to see our wood pallet terminology guide.
Now why would you want to put a plastic shield on the entry points of a wood pallet? That's the big question and one that we get asked a lot. To understand the answer, we have to back up and understand what a pallet is used for and how it is transported. The wood pallet, which was invented back in the early part of the 20th century, was a morphed version of the wooden skid. The skid was born with the invention of the low lift truck, an early version of the forklift and used to move cumbersome loads of goods around with ease. The skid was nothing more than a wooden platform that was elevated off the ground using wood rails. This allowed the low lift truck to get underneath the platform and move it around with a good deal of efficiency.
The forklift and pallet go hand in hand, there is really no reason to have one without the other. The forklift moves the pallet around, loads/unloads it on or in a trailer, and positions it in pallet racks of a warehouse. During all of that movement, the forks of the forklift repeatedly enter the pallet so that they can get underneath the pallet deck so that the pallet can be picked up. As the forks enter the pallet, they damage or break the lumber. Because forklifts have a lot of power behind them and because the forklift drivers are in a hurry for the most part, this damage happens a lot. See below.
The rest of the pallet will eventually be susceptible to damage, but not nearly as much as the entry points. By adding a plastic end cap to these entry points, a barrier is positioned between the wood and the forks of the lift. Why plastic? Wood is easily chipped and broken, however plastic is more flexible and will absorb forklift impact better.
Also, another point to make is the importance of the top lead board of a pallet (again, click here to see our wood pallet terminology guide). Because of the constant interaction between it and the forklift, it is often the first to break or be damaged. When the integrity of the top lead board is compromised, the impact or abuse of the forklift is transferred to the product when the pallet is moved. This will result in product damage that causes millions of dollars in revenue loss to companies each year. By adding pointGUARD® Pallet Protection Products to the pallet, the forks will never come into direct contact with the top lead board. The plastic production device will serve as a guardian and is better suited for repetitive forklift interaction.
So, why not just use an all plastic pallet? That's the logical question that most people will ask. I'll cover that topic in our next blog post. We will also highlight the basics of all plastic pallets in part two of Understanding the pointGUARD Concept.