Lean and green pallets

With a presswood pallet, Lincoln Electric is not only meeting European export requirements and streamlining its pallet inventory, it’s reaping sustainability benefits.
By Noël P. Bodenburg, Executive Managing Editor
February 01, 2011 - MMH Editorial

Lincoln Electric, a Cleveland-based manufacturer of arc welding machines and consumables, was looking to better meet export shipping requirements for its pallets, which were sometimes held up for inspection in Europe.

Lincoln was purchasing construction-grade pine and making export pallets in-house.  “We were shipping nine different products and each had its own unique pallet design,” says Tom Soster, manufacturing engineering manager for Lincoln Electric. In addition to maintaining an inventory of nine different sizes that took up valuable space on an apron in the dock area, the pallets had to be bark free and made from heat-treated lumber to meet European regulations for pallets.

A presswood pallet (Litco International) offered a number of benefits to Lincoln. The pallets are manufactured using an environmentally responsible process that molds wood waste and wood byproducts under high heat and pressure, the pallets are ISPM 15 approved wood packaging and are guaranteed to be free of bugs, bark and mold. The pallets are also available in a half pallet size, measuring 24 inches x 40 inches—an ideal size for Lincoln’s welding machines.

“We received some samples of the pallet and by February 2009, we had changed over our first product,” says Soster. “On our first shipment, we learned that presswood pallets are common and welcomed in Europe. It was a very easy transition.”

The pallets also complement Lincoln Electric’s initiatives to stay lean and green: Since they are nestable and cradle-to-cradle certified, they free up valuable dock space previously dedicated to pallet storage and can be recycled at the end of their life.

Since then, Lincoln has changed eight additional pallets over to presswood pallets, delivering an estimated 5% savings on the cost of the pallets. And, Lincoln can order the pallets on an as-needed, just-in-time basis from a local distributor.

“The ability to order based on what we need means we can run a leaner operation,” says Soster. “And, since they nest, we can bring 50 pallets at a time into the product area instead of 25. That means fewer trips to move pallets.”

As an additional benefit, the presswood pallets are recyclable and earned a silver cradle-to-cradle certification from MBDC, an organization that assesses the sustainability of a product and the practices employed in making it.

“Like most responsible organizations, Lincoln Electric is concerned about sustainability,” says Soster. “Using a presswood pallet is not only meeting our shipping requirements, it’s making us a little more green.”



About the Author

image
Noël P. Bodenburg
Executive Managing Editor

Noël P. Bodenburg, executive managing editor, has been with Modern Materials Handling and Material Handling Product News since 2006. She is a graduate of Boston University. Prior to joining the Supply Chain Group magazines, Noël worked as a production and managing editor at other industry business-to-business publications.


Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world's most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

Zebra gains instant access to complimentary technologies. But first, it needs to integrate a former partner that is 2-1/2 times its size.

Distribution requirements are changing. Few distribution managers would quibble with that statement. The increase in the demand for mixed cases, mixed cartons, aisle ready pallets and, most importantly, the increase in the volume of e-commerce orders is driving new levels of investment in automation.

MDT works with Mitsubishi Electric to ensure technical competence in providing change management support for Mitsubishi Electric Automation products.

This fully updated 7th edition of the “Belt Conveyors for Bulk Materials”, is a must have source book for end users, designers, engineers, manufacturers and consultants.

While we've been focusing on the warehouse, the next evolution in e-commerce is the last mile delivery and in-store fulfillment. It could be the break brick-and-mortar has been looking for.

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


© Copyright 2013 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA