Investigation into load bridging effect for block class pallets as a function of package size and pallet stiffness

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Virginia Tech


Pallets and corrugated boxes are ubiquitous in the global supply chain. However, the interactions that exist between the boxes and pallet are ignored during the pallet design process resulting in an over design of pallet performance and the waste of raw materials. The goal of this research is to understand how pallet performance is affected by headspace, box size, and base design across multiple support conditions using block class wooden pallets.

Headspace and base design had no effect on pallet deflection for the experimental weights used throughout testing. The effect of box size was significant on pallet deflection across multiple support conditions. The effect was greatest for lower stiffness pallets and low stiffness support conditions (RAW) with up to a 50% reduction in pallet deflection observed by switching from small to large boxes on a very low stiffness pallet.

Evaluation of pressure mat data showed an increase in the redistribution of pressure away from the center of the pallet and towards the supports as box size increased. The redistribution of pressure towards the supports is known as load bridging and validates the observed reduction in pallet deflection as a function of box size. The results indicate that incorporating the effect of packages into current pallet design practices could result more effective and cheaper pallet designs.



Pallets, Block Class, Load Bridging, Corrugated Boxes