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CPULD News, Summer/Fall 2021

Image 1 Yu Yang attaching string pots to forklift tines

Image 1. Mary building a unit load of pails.

FEATURE

Evaluation of Pallet Deflection Under Forklift Handling Conditions

- Research project by Yu Yang Huang

Industrial forklifts are one of the most common types of handling equipment for unit loads in warehouses and distribution centers. When unit loads are transported, the vibration caused by the different transportation modes has a major effect on the damage caused to the products transported. Therefore, vibrations caused by different common transportation modes is well-characterized. However, despite the popularity of the forklift, only a limited number of studies have researched the vibrations caused by them.

Pallets deflect while being transported by forklifts. This is caused by the weight of the unit load, with most of the deflection occurring on the outside edges and corners of the pallet. Limits for the allowed deflection of a pallet during forklift handling can be found in many international standards. However, there is still a lack of understanding about how the maximum allowed bending of the pallet influences the safety and performance of the pallet during forklift handling. Understanding pallet bending during dynamic forklift movement and how it affects the stability of a unit load will help improve the industry testing standards, and will help engineers design safer and more cost-effective pallets.....

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT

Tabby Partin

Tabby Partin

Tabitha Partin came to VT from the Eastern Shore area of Virginia because she wanted to pursue a degree that could help change the environment. She was particularly looking for a school that had great STEM resources as she knew that would equip her with the tools she’d need to make a difference in the real world. Tabby graduated from CPULD in 2019 with her bachelor’s degree and moved across country to a warmer climate. She currently lives in Huntington Beach, California, where she enjoys the beautiful weather and sunny outdoors every day...

 

RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS

Image 1: Jordan Wells & Cameron Fischi conducting pail compression strength tests.

Image 1: Jordan Wells & Cameron Fischi conducting pail compression strength tests.

The objective of this undergraduate project conducted during the spring 2021 semester was to measure how pallet deckboard stiffness affected pail compression strength in a unit load. Testing was conducted using the ASTM D642 guidelines combined with custom-made pallets, 5-gallon plastic pails, and an MTS testing machine. Three undergraduate students were selected to conduct this research project. This research was supported by the National Wooden Pallet and Container Association for use in their unit load design software...

Image 1. Rosa Williams and Julia Barbosa making initial notes about different e-commerce packages.

Image 1. Rosa Williams and Julia Barbosa making initial notes about different e-commerce packages.

A group of CPULD’s undergraduate packaging students have completed a research project that focused on improving the sustainability of e-commerce packages. The main goal of this project was to understand what elements of the package are more important for customers who purchase their goods through an e-commerce channel. By the end of 2020, US e-commerce made up 21.3% of total sales compared to only 15.8% in the year prior. This nearly 6% jump is strikingly significant. Unfortunately, packages designed for an in-store, retail setting are frequently repurposed for e-commerce distribution, despite the different demands and logistics of each distribution system... 

Image 1. Example of board thickness/stiffness

Image 1. Example of board thickness/stiffness

In recent years, researchers have endeavored to correlate the effect of pallet top deck stiffness to corrugated box compression strength. Researchers have found that a stiffer top deck board can increase the compression strength of asymmetrically supported corrugated boxes up to 37% when the unit loads are double stacked on the floor. This research project investigated the interaction between pallet top deck stiffness and box compression strength as a function of variable factors  such as starting top deck thickness, pallet wood species, box size, and board grade, in order to suggest an effective way of applying the unit load optimization method...

Image 1. Plastic pail supported on mini-pallet in MTS machine.

Image 1. Plastic pail supported on mini-pallet in MTS machine.

The supply chain is composed of three physical components: packages, transportation, and pallets. In order to efficiently design unit loads, it is integral to understand the interactions between these components.  Previous studies have been done looking at how corrugated boxes interact with pallets throughout the supply chain. However, plastic pails are a different type of package that is mainly used to ship liquids and powders. With that in mind, the objectives of this study were first to understand how pallets’ deckboard stiffness affects the failure of unit loads of plastic pails. Second, they investigated how the amount of overhang of the plastic pails could affect the failure of unit loads of plastic pails... 

GRADUATE STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

Image 1. Clark Sabattus

Image 1. Clark Sabattus

Clark Sabattus came to CPULD after getting his undergraduate degree at NC State in Sustainable Materials and Technology. Clark started out getting a business degree but he found his passions lay in learning more about sustainability. When asked what brought him to us, Clark said, “My professors at NC State had mentioned the Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design and had told me to research it. Needless to say, after looking into CPULD, I was more than impressed with the amount of real-world applications and hands-on experience that the graduate students experience...”

UPCOMING EVENTS

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Contact Our Team:

Quotes for new testing projects, distribution packaging projects, unit load design projects, membership with the center, new research projects.

Ongoing testing operations, lab management, scheduling unit load and pallet lab deliveries, questions about lab management and work schedules.

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Primary packaging design and packaging materials testing, scheduling deliveries of primary packaging materials, new research into primary packaging.

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Corrugated materials design & testing questions, scheduling deliveries of corrugated materials. IKEA testing scheduling & questions

Eduardo Molina

Eduardo Molina

Any immediate needs, delivery times, locations, and info, invoicing questions, accounts receivable/ accounts payable inquiries. 

Angie Riegel

Angie Riegel

Scheduling meetings with Dr. Horvath, short course & webinar info, center event plans, website & social media questions, marketing.

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