New Pallet Material Developments
20 May 2016
It has been in development for over ten years, and now Paxxal Inc, based in Indiana, has teamed up with a manufacturer in Saudi Arabia to create new plastic pallets out of a new high-density material – polyethylene and silica. The process uses equipment for automated rotomolding and the extensive blending expertise of Paxxal to bring a completely new type of pallet material to the market.
The manufacturing plant in Saudi Arabia has now been turning out commercially ready pallets since the end of March 2016. The pallets have an extremely lightweight but strong structure, ideal for use in freezers and other low-temperature environments. The material behaves differently to many plastics, with the advantage being that the pallet doesn’t become glossy and slippery when frozen. This is a ground-breaking development for the Euro pallet market – one which is likely to see Euro pallets of the future completely remodelled.
In terms of the manufacturing process, Paxxal and the Saudi manufacturing facility are keeping quiet about the details, as well as about the rotomolding machine and how it works. The pallet itself has a virgin HDPE outer skin with a hard foam core created from the high level silica.
The design concept for the pallet material began a decade ago. The brief was to use readily accessible material to create something with a foam core and HDPE skin. The end product needed to be rotomolded with ease – one which is mass-produced that would also benefit from the new material. This is where the pallet idea emerged. Billions of pallets are used worldwide every day, and there has been a steady move from wooden to new plastic pallets in the last few years. The timing was perfect.
Given the slow and labour-intensive nature of the more traditional rotomolding process, Paxxal invested in redesigning the process, including the material feeding system, cooling and levels of automation. The end result is high-volume and efficient production, which in turn makes the pallets extremely economical as well as durable. Feedback from pallet customers trialling the product has been positive so far. The design, materials and the process are currently patented. The specific combination of plastic and silica used will have no value within the black market, making the development even more attractive and exciting. It is hoped that pallets will be created using different material combinations, strengths and weights according to customers’ individual specifications.