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Novel paper pallet and manufacturing technology

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - PPPL (Novel paper pallet and manufacturing technology)

Reporting period: 2018-06-01 to 2019-09-30

Pallets are essential accessories of the transport of goods, as they have the potential to handle a large quantity of products quickly and efficiently. During the past decades wooden pallets became dominant players of the market for their affordable prices. Plastic and metal pallets are only available in a minimum quantity, since their prices are several times higher than the prices of wooden pallets.
Despite their numerous disadvantages, thanks to their affordable prices, no substitute alternatives for wooden pallets could be found until now. Owing to their restricted and mostly distant availability, paper pallets are currently not competitive with wood, moreover their technical parameters (static and dynamic load) leave only limited scope for replacing wooden pallets.
For economic and environmental protection reasons, a significant demand is shown at present for cheap paper pallets customizable to the terms of delivery, provided that they are easily available and can replace wooden pallets. This demand appears at the same time at several million companies in the world, who wish to reduce their costs related to pallets towards the transportation industry providing services to them, and who currently spend euro billions for unnecessary fuel.
Taking advantage of the market potential, GGP developed and patented a cost-efficient and heavy-duty paper pallet, which offers a solution for the problem. Together with B&T, GGP has planned a compact manufacturing process to the individually designed, patented and ISO certified paper pallet, which can be mass-produced quickly in the form of a production line. This is how PPPL (Paper Pallet Production Line) was born.
PPPL is a production line affordable for industrial players who use pallets in their everyday business. Using PPPL they are able to manufacture custom-designed pallets in a cost-efficient and quickly recoverable way. Our aim is not just to sell paper pallets, but we are also planning to sell the PPPL technology.
The overall objective of the project was to develop a fully automatic paper pallet production line that can be commercialised as a product to the manufacturing and packaging industry (and others) so they can manufacture pallets for their own use or for resale.
The project started on the 1st of June 2017 and initially we concentrated on updating the product specification which meant finalising the requirement of the target market and deriving the corresponding technological requirements of the overall production line and the individual component specification. This was completed at the end of July. In August the machine design commenced which focused on updating and finalising the initial design that was done in the pre project phase. During these activities we made some significant improvements and simplifications to the system that included the combining of some modules. As result we managed to reduce the required NET floor space by nearly half (60 m2). Once the designs were completed, we started to prepare for their manufacture which meant completing the design of each machine component to the last screw. During this task we made further simplifications by integrating the gluing unit into the two assembly modules. This simplification meant that the final production line consists of 7 units instead of the 10 units that we planned in the pre project phase. These simplifications mean that the final production line will require much less floor space and also a reduction in cost of the final machine. In parallel with the machine development the control software development has also commenced.
At the start of the 2nd period we started the manufacture of the designed components which resulted in further simplifications. These changes and the summer downtime in the manufacturing industry resulted in 2 months delay, but by Month 20 we had all the machine components built and we could concentrate on finalising the control system. During the integration we encountered some problems as the modules were not fully in line with each other. This called for further redesign and modifications which resulted in more simplifications and the elimination of some modules. As a result we managed to make the system more compact (5 units) with a NET floor space of less than 50 m2. Once the system was integrated, we could carry out the validation of the production line and also demonstrate its operation to future customers. We were able to manufacture paper pallets of the required quality fully automatically, although the speed of production line was slightly below what we originally specified. Nevertheless, the operation of the PPPL production line was still more than satisfactory and this was validated by our potential customers. Due to these additional problems, the project was delayed by an additional 2 Months.
In parallel with the technological development we have been concentrating on the non-technical tasks. We have carried out strategic communication actions which resulted in a lot of interest from industry. We have also updated our business plan based on the development results and customer feedback. By the end of the project we had a working and validated prototype with a clear commercial plan on how to take it to the market.
The main novelty of the PPPL production line is not just the fact that it can be used to produce the novel GGP paper pallet that is better than existing pallets, but also the fact that the production line can be purchased by industrial players and manufacture their own pallets which will save them huge amounts in the long term.
Several million factories are currently operating all over the world, the vast majority of which uses pallets for transporting the products manufactured, and pallets are purchased almost in each case from manufacturers or traders. Nowadays, factories devote considerable energy sources to optimizing cost, quality and time, and thus economical production without outsourcing is preferred.
Major aspects for using an own production line:
• Quality pallets meeting individual needs
• After pre-manufactured wooden pallets of variable quality, it is possible to manufacture individual pallets adjusted to the products manufactured by the factory. The permanent and reliable quality of paper pallets guarantees the transport of products free of any damage.
• Saving
• The price difference between self-produced paper pallets and purchased wooden pallets can be 20 to 50% depending on the quality. The operator may choose from a wide selection of cardboards that can be used for production, and thus ideal raw materials for self-produced pallets can be easily found, which results in significant saving. In proportion to the quantity produced, in optimum cases the pay-out period of the production line can be even 3 or 4 months.
• Production schedule corresponding to the demand
• The possibility of producing the quantity of pallets needed at a given time is one of the greatest benefits of self-owned production lines. No more pallet shipments arrive belatedly. No delay results from damaged pallets.
• Environmental protection
• Users of paper pallets significantly contribute to the reduction of environmental pollution. The environmentally aware use of materials carries a positive advertisement itself, and this grants privileges to the manufacturer on the sensitive and continuously increasing target market.
PPPL Production line