Evaluation of metal connector plates for repair and reinforcement of wood pallets

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Virginia Tech


Pallet repair and reinforcement with metal connector plates (MCPs) may reduce wood waste while providing pallet users with quality, economical pallets. The study objectives were to evaluate the effect of MCP repair and reinforcement on pallet performance, and to evaluate preliminary standards for repair and reinforcement of pallets with MCPs. Whole pallets and pallet components were tested. Stringers and notched segments were tested in static bending, while end feet were tested for resistance to fork tine impact. Whole pallets were evaluated with a test protocol that simulated the effects of long-term handling. Stringers, repaired at notch corners, had greater strength, but less stiffness than the original stringers. Notch reinforcement with MCPs resulted in stringers with greater strength and stiffness than equivalent unreinforced stringers. No consistent species-width effect was found for strength of plated stringers. MCP-repair of above-notch failures did not restore the original strength or stiffness of notched segments. However, these repairs may be satisfactory since above-notch failures are secondary in frequency of occurrence. No differences were found between performance of plates used to repair stringers and notched segments. Both repaired and reinforced end feet had greater impact resistance than the equivalent original or unreinforced end feet. Wood species, rather than stringer width, had a greater influence on MCP performance. In general, tests of whole pallets supported the results from component tests which suggests that component testing may be a practical means of assessing the effect of repair and reinforcement techniques on pallet performance.