Tests at Edinburgh Napier University have confirmed that new patented guards fitted to Euro size wooden pallets extend their lifespan – and environmental benefits – dramatically.

The robust Upall branded protectors, which were launched recently by James Jones & Sons (Pallets & Packaging) Ltd, are fitted at the point of entry on all four sides of the pallets in order to reduce damage to key structural components, including blocks, base boards and stringers.

The Napier University tests simulated pallet handling conditions in European dry grocery supply chains. They found that the Upall protectors gave the timber at the perimeter of the pallet a high degree of protection from impact damage.

Specific results of tests on Upall pallets compared with non-protected pallets include:

A minimum of three times longer life before first needing a repair.

A high level of prevention of damage to blocks. There was a 96% reduction in damage of corner blocks – usually the most frequently damaged part of a wooden pallet.

52% reduction in damage to stringers and base boards.

16% reduction in damage to top-deck boards.

The results are consistent with the findings of earlier tests carried out at Virginia Tech in the US, which showed that wooden pallets protected by Upall have a lifespan at least three times greater than a conventional wooden pallet.

Upall pallets last longer and spend more time in circulation – rather than out of use being repaired. The reduction in damage means less dust, splinters and other debris; consistent dimension tolerances are maintained; and unit loads are safer.

The carbon stored in the wooden pallets is retained for longer as a result of their longer lifespan. Meanwhile, a closed loop approach sees the polypropylene Upall guards recycled at the end of their useful life to make new ones.

Gil Covey, Chairman of Upall, said: “The team at Edinburgh Napier University have put Upall through its paces by replicating as closely as possible the stress pallets undergo in the supply chain – and has provided further evidence that Upall guards extend the lifespan of a wooden pallet significantly.

“Compared with an unprotected pallet, a Upall protected pallet lasts much longer, needs far fewer repairs and stays in circulation for longer earning revenue. The economic advantages are compelling – while a pallet that is longer-lasting, reusable and fully recyclable also has a much greater benefit for the environment.”

Upall protectors can be supplied in corporate colours, with printed logos and other designs, so they can be displayed at the point of sale in retailers.

Upall is currently working with one of the major pallet pools and suppliers who are running trials in several supply chains.