January-February 2019

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38 PalletCentral • January-February 2019 he Pallet Design System™ (PDS) is the leading software design program on the global market for wood pallet design. And like any other immensely successful software program, there's an equally impressive team behind it. The dedicated group of engineers and staff keep the design and functionality moving forward by ensuring the software continues to run faster and be more user- friendly. As PDS becomes the global standard and international language for wood pallet design, the team continually evaluates the program to enhance and improve the user experience. Over the last two years, the financial commitments from NWPCA and the Pallet Foundation exceed $1.5 million dollars. The expanded research partnership with Virginia Tech's Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design (CPULD) and Department of Sustainable Biomaterials, supports our PDS engineering team with accurate testing results essential for programming calculations. John A. McLeod III // Advisor to the President Most NWPCA members know John McLeod: long-time PDS researcher, developer, instructor, and Advisor to the President. John started as a graduate student in the Department of Wood Science and Forest Products at Virginia Tech in January 1983 – during the original development of PDS Version 1.0. He has since spent his entire professional life assisting NWPCA Members while developing PDS, which will reach its 35th Anniversary in November. With the continued growth of PDS and recent expansion of the team, John now uses his experience and knowledge to advise on matters pertaining to ongoing and future development of the software. Kristen DeLack, PE // Structural Engineer Kristen DeLack is a structural engineer and key contributor to the development of PDS engineering. "Our users expect us to keep up with what's happening in the real-world environment. To do so, data and research are critical and time sensitive," Kristen said. Prior to joining the PDS team, Kristen has spent more than 20 years working on a variety of ground-breaking design, engineering, manufacturing, construction and installation projects. She holds a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering from Virginia Tech, and a patent relating to subsea oil pipelines. Her unique project management skills ensure new PDS developments remain on schedule. "Part of project management is figuring out what is needed, what resources are available, then executing" she commented. "I reduce complex scientific and engineering concepts into practical practices that can be used cost effectively to support business goals," said Kristin. "Bigger projects, have to be broken into smaller, more easily digested, pieces to stay on schedule. Thankfully, we have a great team, including graduate students at VT, and frequent access to VT's testing lab." According to Kristen, the next PDS release for unit load analysis involves looking at "the types of boxes, the stiffness of the pallet, friction in the system, and containment forces." Kristen accomplishes this by creating computer models that run simulations of unit loads, then runs thousands of scenarios. "The research we're conducting and the approach we're taking for PDS has never been done before. We're explorers in this area. The discovery part is great, but when you can put it into practice, it's amazing." T Meet the Team Behind PDS

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