Modular pallet project

15 March 2024
Focus area: Packaging
Program stream: Sustainability
This project aimed to develop and subsequently evaluate a proof-of-concept carton palletising solution, conveying cartons of meat product into storage and depalletizing by mechanical means for loading into refrigerated containers. By making the finished product in modular format, it could be repaired on-site, saving on full replacement costs. The versatility of the modular design was also predicted to be able to accommodate both chilled and frozen cartons. Further, being made of nonporous materials, the design would be more acceptable to the industry than wooden products.

The first step of the process was to construct a full-scale prototype pallet from wood, to ensure the principles required could be met. Next, detailed design drawings of the components needed to allow for the “tooling” to make the separate parts that were produced. These components were manufactured, assembled, and then forwarded to the plant for trials to be undertaken. 

Overall, the modular design has shown to be beneficial in many ways, including shortened loading times, reduced requirement for materials, and safety improvements compared to the non-modular format. However, with the parts being made of nonporous materials, the finished weight is approximately 50 per cent heavier than a standard timber pallet. It may be possible to address the problem by creating the two heaviest components as a cavity module, or look into the possibility of moulded components. Despite the weight issue, the concept design and assembly has been shown to be workable.
Previous in this focus area 15 September 2023 Feasibility study for a refuse derived fuel created from paunch, biosolids and construction and demolition waste Next in this focus area 15 July 2019 Monitoring public attitudes to livestock industries and livestock welfare