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Pallet Production Will Utilize Breakthrough Thermoplastic Flow Forming

  • Thursday, 19th July 2001
  • Reading time: about 2 minutes

Envirokare Tech Inc. has completed the production mold for its general-duty 48-by-40-inch rackable and fire- resistant pallet. The pallet is made through a unique manufacturing process, called Thermoplastic Flow Forming, or TPF, which allows for 80 percent of the material to be recycled thermoplastics. Envirokare is completing development of this pallet, among other products, through a licensing agreement with Thermoplastic Composite Designs Inc., the developer of the TPF process.

Envirokare will now utilize a production run of pallets that will be sent to the Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VPI) Sardo Pallet and Container Laboratory for testing and certification. Further testing will also be performed to meet the UL 2335 certification requirements under the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards 231 and 231c. During the previous stage of testing at VPI, in late 2000, the pallets were subjected to a wide range of tests to determine “”strength”” and “”stiffness.”” In the strength (or ultimate bending) tests, pallets are placed in an unsupported racked position with a 44-inch span between bearing points. The pallets are then subjected to an increase in load until the pallets reach the point at which they can no longer support the load weight. In these tests, the Envirokare pallets exceeded the testing equipment’s 10,000-pound load capacity. In-house testing conducted by Envirokare and Thermoplastic Composite Designs demonstrated results similar to the VPI tests.

In one test, a pallet was racked in an unsupported position with a 3,000-pound load for 115 days. The pallet experienced deflection of 0.5625 inches over a 30-day period, which is within the allowable deflection standards as established by the American Society for Testing and Materials, or ASTM, under Standard Test Methods for Pallets and Related Structures Employed in Materials Handling and Shipping, standard D1185-98A. Based on these test results, Envirokare conducted a finite element analysis of the pallet design to further reduce the weight of the pallet, also allowing for additional reductions in the cost of the pallet. The finite element analysis also provided the design team valuable information in reducing areas of stress within the pallet as well as visually enhancing the pallet for market. Envirokare President Steve Pappas said, “”After seven months of additional testing and design modifications, we are confident we have a superior pallet in performance and price to make a significant impact on the material-handling industry.””

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