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Pallet Foundation Research & Projects
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Foundation Sponsored Projects

The Pallet Foundation remains committed to the ongoing development and research for projects of benefit to the wood packaging industry, including financial support to the Pallet Design System™ (PDS) to ensure that PDS is the leading unit-load design system and that PDS remains cutting-edge technology.

From the Chair: Bob Wenner, Pallet Service Corporation

"The Pallet Foundation is a resource to promote and educate pallets users from a unified wooden pallet industry. Along with promoting all the wonderful benefits of using wood vs. other materials, we have such a great story to tell and, up until the last several years, never had the funds or peoplepower to get our message out. The Natures Packaging program, which is promoted and funded by all three of the North American pallet associations (CWPCA, WPA and NWPCA), is a great example of collaboration. We are much stronger when we all work towards the same goals for our industry."

2017 was a significant growth year for Foundation and led to a substantial expansion of current projects. One of the most effective and well known projects is “Natures Packaging” which continues to grow in size and effectiveness. The stated purpose of Natures Packaging is research, education and marketing to promote positive messages about the wood packaging industry based on environmental strengths.

Current Projects

Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs)

Environmental Product Declarations (EPD’s) are fast becoming the worldwide standard for comparing materials and products for their environmental impact. To develop usable EPD’s for the wooden pallet, the Pallet Foundation is funding an initiative in conjunction with the USDA Forest Products Lab.

Pallet Industry Outreach to Packaging Universities

NWPCA technical staff continues to travel to multiple packaging schools with the goal of elevating the wood packaging industry within the academic community. A preview of PDS is provided to students while also sharing the positive environmental attributes of wood packaging materials.

Develop and Deliver Educational Background Materials

The Pallet Foundation is funding the production of a slide deck and fact sheets that quickly explain the wood packaging sector's impact on local economies and importance of wood packaging in presentations to federal and state legislators, and regulators, or for their customers

North American Forest Partnership – Year 2

Second year of a two-year initial commitment to this $2 million environmental messaging and marketing initiative including stakeholders in the forest ownership and forest products industry.

Expanded research for the Pallet Design System - Enhanced Functionality – Forklift Handling of Notched Stringer Pallets

PDS currently does not analyze stringer pallets when supported by fork tines within the notch. The stresses in notched stringers in this support condition are completely different than for other support conditions. Physical testing is required to generate data in order to create and verify a new structural analysis for this support condition.

PDS / Unit Load Research

The Pallet Foundation funded the purchase of a digital pressure mat system which allows the compression stresses between the pallet and supported containers to be accurately measured for the first time. The project was designed as a preliminary series of tests of corrugated boxes and pails supported by stringer-class pallets conducted in order to begin to understand the interactions and effects of pallet design.

PDS Wood Species Design Values

Updates to the mechanical properties for pallet components of North American and International species needs to be based on actual tests of pallet components. Sampling and transporting pallet components to a university, government or private laboratory to be tested is very if not prohibitively expensive. An alternative approach is use of a portable pallet component tester which can be used in the field/at pallet mills.

sampling of other projects supported by the Foundation

  • Research adhesive fasteners for pallets (1998)
  • Research impact of changes in shipping logistics on pallet markets (2000)
  • Research impact of evolving retailing methods on pallet use in the U.S. (2000)
  • Enable PDS to evaluate remanufactured pallets and pallets constructed with recycled parts (2001)
  • Wood-based composite material (2001)
  • Modifying the PDS to predict the performance of pallets assembled with used, reclaimed wood pallet parts (2002)
  • Audio CD test project: fact sheets and Washington Alerts in audio format (2002)
  • Assess the use of pressure sensitive film in the topographical mapping of the mechanical stresses on wood pallets during use (2003)
  • Preliminary performance evaluation of pallets made of green finger jointed hardwood components (2003)
  • Cost Study: Renting vs. Purchasing Pallets (2003)
  • Develop cost effective, light weight wood-based composite material not subject to IPPC Guidelines (2004)
  • Pallet and container production & recycling research (2004)
  • Finger-jointing of green hardwood pallet parts follow-up to verify technical feasibility of use in assembled pallets (2004)
  • Topographical mapping of the mechanical stressing of wood pallets during use (2004)
  • Grocery Distribution Study (2005)
  • Webnet Safety & Health Training program (2005)
  • Improving the properties of wood packaging (2006)
  • Trends in raw material supply (2006)
  • Trends in wood waste and by-products (2006)
  • Comparison of wood versus alternative materials (2006)
  • Employer Policy & Procedures Manual (2007)
  • I-9 compliance manual/training and enforcement training (2007)
  • NWPCA Employer Policy & Procedures Manual into Spanish (2008)
  • Lab testing @ Virginia Tech to develop the expanded structural and durability analysis and supplement wood pallet test data in PDS (2009)
  • Purchase digital pressure mat to conduct initial laboratory testing for PDS (2011)
  • Outreach to packaging universities to build awareness of PDS and positive environmental attributes of wood packaging (2015)
  • Nature’s Packaging: Collaborative environmental promotion program with the Canadian Wood Pallet & Container Association and Western Pallet Association (2015)
  • Unit Load testing and research for PDS (2015)
  • Landfill Avoidance Study (2018)
  • Pallet Market Survey (2018)
  • Economic Impact Study (2019)

Support The Pallet Foundation

Make an online contribution (secure server) or mail a check/money order to: Pallet Foundation c/o NWPCA, 1421 Prince Street, Suite 340, Alexandria, VA 22314. The Pallet Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation and all contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Contributors will receive a statement for tax purposes. Please contact the foundation treasurer, Michael Saylor, if you need additional assistance.