Wood Business

Features Operation Reports Remanufacturing
Researcher compares pallet strength and functionality

Aug. 3, 2017 - Litco International, Inc. announces the publication of a new white paper: A Comparison of Pallet Strength and Functionality. The 12-page white paper, authored by Dr. Marshall White, provides detailed analysis comparing Litco's Inca molded pallets to GMA-style, new and repaired, traditional nailed wood pallets for one-way shipping.

August 3, 2017  By Litco International Inc.

Litco's Inca 48" x 40" molded wood pallets feature nested stacking and 4-way forklift entry.

The study is based on published testing reports by Marshall S. White, PhD, an internationally recognized authority on the design of pallets, packaging, and unit loads for shipping.

Gary Sharon, Executive Vice President of Litco said: “Dr. White’s study is important because it independently compares the strength and functionality of the pallets. From that, he then concludes the impact of each pallet’s design on supply chain operating efficiency.

Strength and functionality, along with price, determines an optimal design and cost benefit basis for shipping products on pallets.”

The complete study is available at: www.litco.com/GMACompareReport. This paper makes the case that a stronger, stiffer and more durable pallet will better protect packaged product from the rigors of supply chain handling. “It is important to note that mechanical stresses imposed on the packaged product in a unit load during handling and shipping pass through the pallet first.” said Dr. White.


In addition to comparing pallet weight and moisture content among other characteristics, the study specifically evaluated Litco’s Inca molded wood pallet and new and rebuilt GMA-style wood pallets on two measures: Pallet Strength and Deck Stiffness. Two measures of shipping pallet strength were compared:

  1. Dynamic strength when supporting loads on forklifts
  2. Static strength when supporting loads on the warehouse floor

Of critical importance, the comparative deck stiffness was evaluated as the single most important functionality characteristic of a pallet. Stiffness is defined in the study as how much the top deck deforms under load. Simply put, “stiffer pallets are better” because they enhance all other packaging components of a unit load.

A significant finding in the study was that the Inca pallet performed remarkably well at twice the stiffness compared to the GMA pallet designs.

The study concludes that when Inca pallets are compared to a GMA-style:

  1. When used as a one-way shipping platform, the Inca pallet will improve supply chain operational efficiency
  2. There will be less product damage and product contamination when shipping on an Inca pallet.
  3. There will be fewer injuries associated with the use of the Inca pallets
  4. Using the Inca pallet will significantly increase shipping and materials handling efficiency

Additional key findings in the study:

  • The Inca pallet has a much higher resistance to mold because it has 86% less moisture content than a new, heat-treated GMA-type hardwood pallet
  • At the time of manufacturing, the Inca pallet is sanitized at temperatures exceeding 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Inca pallets with rounded corners are lighter and ergonomically easier to handle, manually, and therefore reduce work-related injuries

Litco’s Molded Products Group specializes in innovative transport packaging solutions including molded pallets for domestic and export shipping and core plugs. Litco’s Inca pallets come in a variety of sizes and dynamic load capacities to meet individualized shipping needs. Inca pallets ship from Dover, Ohio and Sardis, Mississippi. They are designed to carry products safely through the most demanding supply chains.

Marshall S. (Mark) White, Ph.D., President of White and Company LLC. White and Company LLC is a consulting and software development company specializing in pallet, packaging, and unit load design. Dr. White is also Professor Emeritus at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, and a graduate of Colorado State University and Virginia Tech with B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees.

Dr. White taught graduate and undergraduate courses in the Packaging Science option and served as Director of the Center for Unit Load Design and The Pallet & Container Research Laboratory. Additional information at www.whiteandcompany.net

Print this page


Stories continue below