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34 PalletCentral • September-October 2019 s pallet and shipping professionals, we have long known that the packaging doesn't just rest leisurely on the pallet. It supports some of its weight too! Some companies have taken this to extremes by using corrugated fiber pallets that depend on the furniture or other products being transported to carry nearly all the weight. Those pallets become mere bolsters to allow forklift entry. Even the most rigid pallets shed some of their load to the packaging because all types of pallets have an inherent degree of flexibility. Every structural system must move at least some amount before it starts to carry any weight. For example, consider the interplay between the stiffness of cardboard boxes and the rigidity of a wooden pallet. By analyzing the two, you can determine how much weight either can hold and assess its load distribution. The Impact of Load Bridging When some of the load being transported bridges over the pallet and travels through the packaging to hard points nearer to locations where the pallet is supported by the floor, rack system or forklift, it is called "load bridging" or "load sharing." If too much load is applied to the packaging, it can fail and result in product damage, expensive cleanup, or even rejected shipments. Because the cost of corrugated packaging can be much higher than the price of the typical pallet, far greater savings can be realized by designing the pallet to minimize the stress in the packaging. The newly released PDS 6.0 gives pallet professionals and their customers information they need to optimize packaging design and identify cost savings. Plastic and corrugated pallets take great advantage of the load bridging effect. Without load bridging, these types of pallets would be prohibitively expensive to prevent excessive deflections. Many manufacturers of these pallets present very high load ratings, which can be misleading. The load ratings given for plastic and corrugated pallets generally only apply to a specific unit load design because they rely on the cargo to carry some of the load. PDS 6.0 provides a practical way to predict comparable load ratings for wooden pallets, thus ensuring that wooden pallets are not at a competitive disadvantage because of the way some manufacturers present their load ratings. The Latest in Technology Cutting-edge Finite Element Analysis (FEA) technology was extensively used to develop the unit load analysis in The Pallet Design System™. FEA was first developed in the 1940's to support a budding civil and aeronautical industry. It has become a staple technology associated with space flight, race cars, and jet engines. A basic application of FEA forms the core of the PDS program. This technology allows us to simulate all the physics that significantly affect a unit load from soup-to-nuts. A PDS 6.0 Unit Load for Boxes By Kristen DeLack, PE Performing a box crush test with the pressure mat to observe how stresses are transferred through a corrugated box.

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