Pallet Alliance has partnered with American Mask Alliance to create a safe, cost effective and efficient transport system for facemasks and all other PPE supplies. In this three part blog series we will review how analyzing the pallets, cases, boxes and unit load system lead to producing packaging and transport designs that work in unison to provide the lowest overall cost to palletize.
Part Two: Development, Design, Potential Solutions
Before analyzing design options, benchmark performance criteria was established for box stacking strength and pallet stacking capacity. Unit load engineering software BestLoad was used to determine an adequate safety factor for box compression strength given American Mask Alliance’s supply chain, box specifications and pallet specifications. Pallet engineering software Pallet Design System was used to determine possible box layouts and pallet sizes.
After looking at the initial data, Pallet Alliance established that we could consider 1) adjusting pallet size, 2) adjusting box stacking pattern, and 3) adjusting corrugated box board grade to come up with the most economical and safe solution to palletize. Combining all of our box material and pallet design options, we reviewed nine unit load options to evaluate economically and structurally for American Mask Alliance.
Pallet Designs Considered:
- 48 x 40 Recycled GMA
- Due to the low pallet cost of a recycled GMA pallet
- 44 x 44 Remanufactured 6 top deck board.
- A “pinwheel” layout of the boxes efficiently fits a 44 x 44 size
- 44 x 44 Remanufactured 4 top deck board.
- A “pinwheel” layout of the boxes efficiently fits a 44 x 44 size.
Box Designs Considered:
The shipper dimensions were set in stone, but Pallet Alliance investigated the corrugated material itself. In particular, the “board grade,” which is related to the density of how much material is in the corrugated liners. The board grade is a partial influence on how much weight/how many products can be stacked in storage, but this also influences the cost of the shipper box.
- 32 ECT C
- 29 ECT C
- 32 ECT B
We plugged these into our engineering software to eliminate options by comparing box compression strengths and pallet capacity in the different unit load scenarios to our established benchmarks.
Unit load combinations considered with box compression strength analysis:
Analysis Finding 1:
Stacking on a GMA inefficiently used the pallet area. Only 3 columns of shipper boxes could be stacked as opposed to 4 columns of boxes on a 44 x 44 remanufactured pallet.
Analysis Finding 2:
Pallet gaps were too large on a four top board 44 x 44 pallet, it negatively impacted the stacking strength of the box. Two of our box material options would not meet performance criteria and were therefore eliminated. The third box option for this pallet design was ruled out due to stacking stability, because there is a limited amount of surface support area for the box.
Analysis Finding 3:
The stacking layout of the shipper boxes on a GMA pallet did not support some of the boxes’ corners. This is a critical area of a corrugated box for stacking strength. Therefore, more material (better board grade) was needed for the box to meet our engineering requirements.
Moving into part three of blog…structural analysis is completed, and it is time to discuss TPAI’s perspective on the cost to palletize, considering pallet, box, and freight cost. We will show final solution and review typical TPAI steps for implementation and supply of design.