Pallets, Palletization Software and the Supply Chain

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Pallets, Palletization Software and the Supply Chain

We tend to take pallets for granted as they are everywhere and can be a nuisance for businesses once unloaded. However, they are a critical part of the supply chain, and the supply of pallets is affected when they remain in one place for too long. Around two billion pallets are estimated to be in circulation in the United States alone, and over 90% of goods are shipped on pallets. Palletization software ensures pallets are loaded optimally and securely. A poorly loaded pallet results in damaged goods and an unstable load, and of course, can waste valuable and expensive space.

While pallets might have been around for decades, they are becoming more important than ever to supply chains, especially as warehouses become increasingly automated. The need to keep pallets in circulation has never been more important than during the past fifteen months, as consumer demand for paper goods, cleaning supplies, and food and drinks increased exponentially. Dwell time, or the time it takes for a pallet to be delivered for use, loaded with products, and delivered before being returned for re-use, is a particular headache for shippers. But today’s pallets are getting smarter, thanks to newer technologies.

Pallets can be fitted with barcodes and RFID tags. RFID tags are particularly useful for companies that haven’t yet integrated their technology systems as they are easily tracked across different systems. They also allow for easy recall of products, if needed.

The materials used to make pallets are also changing. Although traditional wood pallets are still used, plastic pallets are increasingly in demand for automated systems. They can last longer and don’t have any nails or broken boards or leave behind dust and debris that could affect smooth automation or cause product damage. Additionally, plastic pallets are easier to clean and ideal for the post-pandemic world – and can be produced sustainably.

Plastic pallets can be made from manufacturing or packaging waste. Once they come to the end of their useful life, they can be ground down and remade into new pallets. Wood pallets tend to have a more limited lifespan, and it takes valuable resources to manufacture and recycle them. Anyone who has recently had the dubious pleasure of needing lumber will realize the huge price increases make switching to plastic pallets even more attractive.

As automation becomes the norm, high-speed palletization helps to ensure every pallet earns its keep. It is an area where MagicLogic can help with our advanced mixed-palletization software.

Utilizing the Power of BlackBox Palletization Software
BlackBox load optimization software has a separate engine developed specifically for mixed palletization. It includes the building of layers, semi-layers, and an automatic switch to free stacking when necessary. Our mixed palletization engine has pallet stability as its main goal, achieving maximum fill quality and maximum load stability. BlackBox can also provide a stacking sequence suitable for robotics, including configurable parameters for different end of arm tools and approach points. Interested in learning more? Read about BlackBox and its capabilities on our website. Contact us today for your software demonstration.

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