News

New White Paper Released:
A Comparison of Pallet Strength & Functionality

Costs related to products damaged in transit, return shipping, and customer dissatisfaction can swiftly derail a perceived good price on used or rebuilt GMA style pallets. Pallets are the base for unit load design; therefore, they should be properly matched with the demands of the load and the packaging design.

A mismatch in functionality can easily magnify when companies select cheap, rebuilt pallets. Many times, the assumed cost savings on the purchasing side of the equation turns into a financial liability once costs related to product damage, returns, and customer dissatisfaction are factored in.

Modern Materials Handling annually conducts a pallet usage survey to uncover why readers select and use specific pallet types. Since the inception of the survey over 20 years ago, price has consistently been the number one reason. The results of the 2016 survey showed that price continues to hold that place, with 60.9% of the readers in agreement.

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“Molded Wood” Pallet Standard Created by ANSI

Litco International Inc. is pleased to announce approval of the first product standard for molded wood, “presswood” pallets as created by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI.)

Part 14 “Molded, Wood Based Composite Pallets” of the ANSI pallet standard, MH1 – 2016, “Pallets, Slipsheets, and Other Bases for Unit Loads” is now available free to the public at mhi.org/free/8956.

Nationally recognized product standards developed by ANSI help buyers and sellers of products, communicate. This standard represents the single best source of consensus specifications and information regarding the manufacture, use, and performance of molded wood pallets.

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Increasing Lift Truck Safety and Plant Efficiencies with Presswood Pallet Solutions

According to National Safety Council, fork lift accidents result in an average of 101 fatalities and 94,570 injuries each year.  Although lift trucks are a necessary to maintain the efficient flow of raw materials and finished goods through manufacturing facilities, their use poses risks to both their operators and pedestrian traffic in your plant.   This article explains how pallet design influences fork lift traffic in manufacturing facilities and distribution centers and explores why presswood pallets may be a safer, more efficient alternative to conventional pallets.Continue Reading…

New Core Plug Sizes Added – Seven Diameters Provide Flexibility in Roll Protection

Litco’s New Tooling  Means More Choices For Paper, Film & Foil Manufacturers & Converters

core plugsVienna, Ohio—April 4 , 2014 –  Litco International  is offering new sizes of molded wood (presswood) core protection plugs to manufacturers and converters of paper, plastic film and metallic foils. Core plugs are commonly used to prevent damage caused when paper rolls shift during transit.

Litco has historically offered core plugs in 4”, 8”, 10”, and 12” sizes.  New 3”, 5”, and 6” sizes are slated for production in the second quarter of 2014. Litco’s Inca brand core plug is produced using a proprietary molding process combining hard and softwood wood fibers with a synthetic resin. The engineered presswood molding uses high heat and pressure to ensure consistent size and shape.  The resulting fiber structure creates an extremely strong plug exceeding industry standards for damage resulting from compression, side impact force, and moisture.Continue Reading…

Pallet Audits Reduce Shipping Costs and Minimize Product Damage: TOPS Analysis

Today’s challenging business climate demands efficiency in all aspects of an organization’s processes, including logistics.  Many companies routinely spend millions of dollars on freight each year, and since shippers are usually responsible to arrange and prepay the expense, increases or decreases of just a few percentage points create a significant impact on the bottom line. Remember too, freight charges are one of the leading causes of losing much needed orders.

At Litco, we help customers optimize package sizes, unit loads, and pallet configurations within shipping containers and over- the-road trailers with a software package called TOPS (Total Optimization Packaging Software).  By performing a pallet audit  using TOPS, we can make specific recommendations that will reduce customer shipping costs and minimize product damage.  Here are just a few of the things we can review and analyze using this new software program:Continue Reading…

Making the Case for Small Pallets

The 48” x 40” has long been one of the most popular pallet sizes for a wide range of applications.  Recent MMH Pallet Surveys have suggested that while the 48” x 40” still remains king, times are changing and while there is no clear consensus on a replacement for the 48 x 40, there is growing interest in smaller pallets.  Rick LeBlanc’s recent story in Pallet Enterprise explores the rising popularity of smaller pallets and looks forward to a world where bigger is not always better.Continue Reading…

Pallets, Packaging and the Future of Materials Handling

Regular readers of our news section or subscribers to Modern Materials Handling should be familiar with Bob Trebilcock’s annual pallet use survey.  Each year, we run a summary of Bob’s findings and include a link to the survey results in an effort to keep our readers informed on the latest pallet industry trends.  This month, Pallet Enterprise did a fascinating interview with Bob that covers the MMH survey results and materials handling trends as they relate to the future of the pallet industry.  In case you missed the article, we’ve taken the time to summarize the key takeaways.

2013 Pallet Use Survey Key Findings
According to Trebilcock, one of the key takeaways from the 2013 MMH survey is a greater emphasis on looking at how pallets fit into overall operations in an attempt to achieve greater efficiencies and lower costs.  The data suggests some movement toward alternative pallet materials such as plastic and metal, but this change still represents a small chunk of the market.  Increased demand for plastic pallets has been fueled primarily by the uptick in the automotive sector and the need to replenish pallet pools at Ford, GM, and Japanese manufacturers to keep up with demand.  In the retail world, Trebilcock sees a movement toward smaller plastic pallets too.  Retailers are taking more store deliveries on smaller, half-sized pallets instead of traditional 48 x 40’s to reduce handling costs.Continue Reading…

How to Prevent Excessive Cargo Container Condensation and Product Damage With Desiccants

Companies shipping products via overseas cargo containers, railcars, barges, and truck trailers lose millions of dollars every year to excessive condensation build-up, also known as container rain or container sweat.  Fluctuations in humidity and temperature levels inside a container cause airborne water vapor to return to liquid form, leading to mold, mildew, corrosion, and warping.  This post takes a closer look at the container rain causes as well as strategies to minimize product damage as goods travel through the supply chain.Continue Reading…

2013 Pallet Usage and Trending Survey

Each fall,  Modern Materials Handling conducts and publishes an annual pallet survey that provides valuable insight into current buying trends and usage patterns for our industry.  If you aren’t a subscriber to MMH, or you haven’t had time to read Bob Trebilcock’s Talking Pallets with Modern Readers, we have prepared a summary of key findings for your review.

The study is based on responses from 353 qualified MMH readers employed at locations using pallets.  At the 30,000 foot level, the survey results suggest the pallet market will grow annually by 3.5% through 2017.  Although price remains the most commonly cited factor influencing a purchasing decision (56% of respondents, down from 63% last year), cost-per-use was cited by 43% or participants this year.  This trend suggests that pallet buyers remain concerned with costs but that logistics professionals are taking a more long term view when evaluating suppliers.   Other key considerations cited in this year’s survey include:Continue Reading…

What You Need to Know About the New OSHA Hazard Communication Standard and GHS

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) new Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) is designed to more closely align reporting practices with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS).  Developed by the United Nations, GHS is a global approach to classifying chemical hazards and communicating information about these hazards via standardized labels and safety data sheets.

According to U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, “Exposure to hazardous chemicals is one of the most serious threats facing American workers today…..revising OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard will improve the quality and consistency of hazard information, making it safer for workers to do their jobs and easier for employers to stay competitive.”

Although new and improved reporting requirements for hazardous chemicals may seem a topic that is far removed from the pallet industry, DeAnna Stephens Baker’s recent article in Pallet Enterprise suggests the new OSHA regulations are important for pallet manufacturers, and companies taking this latest wave of new regulation lightly would be well advised to reconsider.  Pallet manufacturing facilities actually contain a wide range of materials, including gases, hydraulic fluids, equipment lubricants, greases, combustible dust, and mold treatments that can be deemed hazardous, and as such, pallet manufacturers will be required to reformat their safety sheets and provide HazCom training for employees.  It is also important to note the new requirements extend beyond the pallet industry:  any business (manufacturers, service oriented businesses, etc.) using potentially hazardous materials is required to comply with the new OSHA standard. Continue Reading…