The ambitious design of pointGUARD® Pallet Protection Products wasn't intended to be complicated, the aim was to simply cradle the end of a wooden pallet with protection. We didn't want to reinvent the wheel, so to speak, but just make the "wheel" better. The basic design of the wood pallet hasn't changed much since it was invented for good reason...it works. Out goal was to improve the durability of the wooden pallet, without altering the basic structure of the pallet itself.
We came to the conclusion that we should put a strong material around the outside edge and underneath the top lead board so that it would be surrounded by a barrier of protection. Since we knew that plastic is very durable and more capable of handling the interaction with a forklift than wood, as covered in part 2 of this blog series, it would be a good choice.
In the above picture, you can see the "insert" part of the protector. This is the portion that extends inward into the pallet. It was designed to intercept the interaction between the forks from the forklift and the top lead board. Because there is a layer of plastic underneath and in front of the the top lead board, the forks cannot damage the most vulnerable portion of the pallet. Also, if straps or banding are used to secure the product to a pallet, they will not not even touch the wood. This 90 degree formation of plastic creates a flange, or an external ridge or rim for strength. The insert portion of pointGUARD® pallet protection products is an invaluable part of the defense. Without it, the protector would simply be a "face plate" that wouldn't provide much advantage for the pallet. A face plate would not provide any pull-up resistance for straps and would not provide any push-back defense for when a forklift hits the top lead board. This flange is the most crucial part of the plastic protector because of the increase in longevity that it's unique shape creates.
Picture a steel I-Beam, this unique shape that includes a top and bottom plate attached together by a perpendicular connector creates an incredibly strong design. A plate of steel by itself will not come close to being as strong. The flange design is what gives the I-Beam it's dynamic increase in strength over a singular plate of steel.
So, how do we know that the design of the pointGUARD® Pallet Protection Products works? We tested our initial block design at the Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design at Virginia Tech University. That test (ASTM 1185) determined that our design consistently increased the lead board durability by 100% against forces of the forklift and strapping. The block durability was boosted by an incredible 400%. When our testing was done, it proved that this innovative design was just what the wood pallet needed...not a redesign, but simply an attachment that made it better.
In our next few blog posts, we are going to examine the testing results at Virginia Tech and the installation aspect of the pointGUARD® Pallet Protection Products.