FPRDI Helps Wooden Pallet-Makers
The country’s wooden pallet industry is booming and the Forest Products Research and Development Institute (FPRDI) is in the thick of the action giving technical help to industry players.
A platform device that holds one or more cargo packages in a group, a pallet allows a load to be transferred and stored as a unit.Along with forklift trucks, pallets make it so much easier to move and store all sorts of commodities around the world, helping tens of thousands of companies save time, labor, space, and money.
In the Philippines, the surge in pallet trade began with the onset of global industrialization in the late 90s. Today, Region IV-A alone has 30 pallet makers producing 2,000 pallets a day. To help sustain the sector’s growth, FPRDI along with other agencies are pitching in their support for wooden pallet producers. Says FPRDI’s Ms. Lolita Villavelez, “The Institute helps the sector in varied ways.
One, we serve as the country’s only testing center for wooden pallets. Thru our testing facilities, we want to help pallet-makers come up with products that meet global standards of performance. Two, as a member of the Bureau of Products Standards’ Technical Committee on Pallet for Unit Load of Material Handling, we help review ISO standards to formulate-the Philippine National Standards (PNS) for pallets.
To help producers see which type of wood fits which type of pallet, we classified 78 Philippine wood species (commercial, lesser-known and industrial tree plantation species) into different strength grades.
We conduct research for the industry. In 2005, we found that heat treatment using FPRDI’s t,o0o board foot capacity furnace-type lumber dryer (FTLD) is a safer and cheaper way to get rid of insect pests and diseases infesting wooden pallets. Right now, we are studying how to make durable pallet components using processed wood is less likely than ordinary wood to be attacked by insect pests.”
FPRDI Officer-in-Charge Felix B. Tamolang concludes, “Among the local wood-based industries, the manufacture of wooden pallets is currently among the most lucrative.
For one, world trade as we know it can no longer exist without the help of pallets. And the wooden ones – being cheaper than the plastic, metal and paper types – are more commonly used here and abroad.
Also, many Japanese and European companies recognize wooden pallets as the “greener” option, using a lot less energy in production than plastics and ferrous metals.
Locally, wooden pallets are made of wood sourced from industrial tree plantations, never from the natural forests.