Pallet design and analysis software tool released
October 01, 2012 - MMH Editorial
Packaging research and consulting firm White & Company announced today the launch of Best Pallet, a stringer pallet design and analysis software tool. User-friendly and simplified for packaging professionals, buyers, and end-users, Best Pallet provides the first commercially available structural analysis tool for wooden stringer pallets in the United States. The program designs, analyzes, and optimizes stringer pallets, and creates specifications with graphics.
“Our clients have been requesting this tool for well over a decade, we are responding to the market. Best Pallet gives supply chain owners the ability to develop the optimum pallet design based on the demands of their unique systems from production line through distribution, storage, and retail display,” says Marshall White, president of White & Company and lead developer of the pallet industry association’s proprietary Pallet Design System (PDS).
White points out the importance of pallet design as a key step toward supply chain optimization. “Pallet manufacturers can rarely get the breadth of detail needed from the purchasing agent or local shipping manager to design for the extreme handling environments to which unit loads may be exposed, once leaving the production floor. Best Pallet is a tool for packaging professionals to communicate requirements to their pallet vendor suppliers,” says White. “Product damage, workplace safety, and load failure are all direct results of poor pallet design. This breakdown results in huge inefficiencies in the supply chain. Best Pallet will help begin to narrow this costly divide.”
White and his team of experts developed Best Pallet’s 3-D mathematical-model based on over 30 years of research on the scientific principles of wood properties and systems-based design while directing Virginia Tech’s, Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design. Behind Best Pallet’s straight-forward user interface, lies finite element structural analysis techniques and engineering fundamentals combined with years of laboratory and field testing. The software calculates estimates of pallet strength and deformation based on user-specified descriptions of the pallet and its handling environment.
A downloadable trial version of Best Pallet is available on the White & Co. website. The software will be available for annual lease on November 1 for $995, with discounts available for multiple licensing. Licensees will own the pallet designs they produce indefinitely, regardless of lease renewal.
According to White, Best Pallet is just the first step in achieving an optimized supply chain and is a program module within a much more powerful systems-based design tool. Best Load, White & Co.’s proprietary unit load packaging design optimization software, has the ability to design the pallet, package, and unit load. It will predict the compression stress on the distribution packaging as a function of pallet design, package design, unit load design and unit load storage practices. Best Load will also predict the compression strength, weight, and optimum dimensions of corrugated fiberboard boxes as well as select the optimum fit of distribution packaging to pallets and unit loads to shipping containers. The software also optimizes stretch film applications and documents packaging mass, volume, and cost data for managing sustainability goals.
White is a professor emeritus at Virginia Tech and serves as president of White & Co. He is a globally recognized expert on unit load analysis and pallet design. White & Company was
founded in 2007 as an independent packaging research, software development, and consulting firm, focused on delivering ‘systems-based’ unit load solutions to manufacturers and distributors.