The goal of a pallet test is to compare different pallet designs, materials and their performance. There are numerous laboratory tests for evaluating all aspects of the pallet. However, the most important pallet tests fall within three parameters for pallet design:
- Will the pallet hold the expected load?
Testing the strength and stiffness of the pallet is vital for the unit load. This is commonly categorized into three load ratings.
Static Compression is the amount of weight the pallet will hold in a stationary position on a flat, fully-supporting and non-yielding surface. Example: pallet on the floor of a warehouse.
Dynamic Compression is the amount of weight a pallet will hold while subjected to active stresses. Example: pallet in a truck subjected to the additional load strains produced from vibration.
Racked Compression is the amount of weight a pallet will hold while not fully supported. Example: pallet in a storage environment partially supported, as in a warehouse rack or conveyor system.
- Will the pallet last throughout the expected handling environment?
During the handling environment the unit load will encounter many hazards: forklifts, vibration, compression, etc. The pallet must be durable enough to withstand multiple hazards at the same time during one trip. One-way pallets are not intended to be recovered; therefore they only need to withstand one trip. Multi-trip pallets will be used for multiple trips, either as a captive pallet or expected to be returned and reused.
- Will the pallet be compatible with the handling environment?
Though functionality may not be "tested" within the laboratory, the results are critical for the pallet to meet the expectations. The pallet will need to meet specific regulations such as Government, Pests, Heat Treated and Fire Safety. The pallet will need to work within a specific set of limitations such as size, automated equipment and warehouse space.
Post by: Kent Longardner, Technical Sales Manager