ORBIS Corp., Oconomowoc, Wis., learned its 40x48-inch RackoCell plastic pallet has approximately 18 times the life span of a 40x48-inch whitewood stringer pallet, according to a recent study.

Researchers from the Virginia Tech Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design, Blacksburg, Va., used the center’s FasTrack life-cycle analysis to compare relative durability. The FasTrack life-cycle analysis included a 10-step handling sequence, which involved routine pallet handling activities, followed by inspections of the plastic and whitewood pallets. In testing, the RackoCell plastic pallet completed the sequence up to 200 times without failure, while the wood pallet’s average failure was after 11 cycles.

“We wanted to quantify the life and durability of plastic pallets to help companies understand the long-term cost savings associated with reusable plastic pallets,” says Ryan Roessler, product manager at ORBIS. “The FasTrack life-cycle analysis confirms just one of the many advantages plastic pallets have over wood. More companies are transitioning to plastic for their dimensionally consistent design, cleanability and environmentally friendly characteristics.”

The RackoCell is a 1-piece plastic pallet manufactured for hygienic use in food and beverage industries. It was selected for this testing because its performance characteristics, including load ratings, footprint and racking strength required in food manufacturing and distribution applications are similar to traditional whitewood pallets. In addition, the RackoCell is easily cleanable, keeps plants free of woodchips and can store products in unsupported racking systems while protecting loads from damage caused by nails or loose boards associated with wood pallets.