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PalletPlast’s rPET pallet offers optimum lightweight transport solution

Use of recycled material gives new pallet added retailer appeal PALLETPLAST, a new venture by Cape custom moulder Sandplast, has introduced its lightweight rPET pallet in a project that has the potential to shake the pallet transport market up quite a bit. Made from as much as 97% recycled PET, the new pallet – which can rack stack 1,2 tons – is being marketed as an ultra-light product transport solution which provides a ‘realistic and costeffective alternative to wooden pallets that is well suited for the single-use export environment’. A further advantage for Palletplast is that it’s design allows for easy airflow, an important consideration

6 FEB / MARCH 2019

The pallet is strengthened by the use of three PET straps to achieve absolute rigidity; its surfaces are also non-slip, a specific advantage for goods transport

for cold storage use and maintenance of the cold chain. The main and obvious advantage of using rPET is that the material comes in at a substantial price advantage, but the technical challenge has proved demanding and it comes as no surprise that such a product introduction has probably not been tried before in South Africa, or anywhere for that matter. To give you an idea of the degree of the challenge, the Palletplast partners could not find a mould maker in China prepared to construct the mould for the job. Given that China possesses several of the world’s top and most efficient toolrooms, who have supplied many of the most difficult and largest In one of the more challenging mould construction jobs globally in 2018, the mould was built by a top Portuguese toolroom, Mould-UP. The mould features eight injector points

moulds in South Africa over the past decade or two, genuine difficulties were expected in the mould construction stage – as well as in moulding. The mould was ultimately manufactured by Mould-UP in Portugal. With a shot weight of just over 17kgs, extended flow paths and the complicated geometry of the design, besides running a material which is virtually certain to display variably consistency and MFI, the job is complicated to say the least. But the partners, led by Sandplast’s Steph le Roux and Chris Smith, have forged ahead with the project, which has been two years-plus in the making so far. Le Roux and Smith have been successful with difficult moulding jobs before and fear of a challenge doesn’t appear to be something that scares them off. The fact is that product introductions invariably present difficult moulding issues, with risk-to-reward ratios going up on the moulding difficulty scale. Suffice to say that few convertors in Southern Africa would have gambled on this job, but therein lies the attraction. The Palletplast team has worked steadily over the past year plus (the first production trial took place in Portugal in late 2017) and overcome a series of

Profile for SA Plastics, Composites & Rubber

Southern African Polymer Technology