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Virginia Tech life-cycle analysis compared plastic pallet durability with wood

OCONOMOWOC, Wis. — March 21, 2018 — ORBIS® Corporation, an international leader in reusable packaging, learned its 40×48-inch RackoCell® plastic pallet has approximately 18 times the life span of a 40×48-inch whitewood stringer pallet, according to a recent study. Researchers from the Virginia Tech Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design used the center’s FasTrack life-cycle analysis to compare relative durability.

The FasTrack life-cycle analysis included a 10-step handling sequence, which involved routine pallet handling activities, followed by inspections of the plastic and whitewood pallets. In testing, the RackoCell plastic pallet completed the sequence up to 200 times without failure, while the wood pallet’s average failure was after 11 cycles.

“We wanted to quantify the life and durability of plastic pallets to help companies understand the long-term cost savings associated with reusable plastic pallets,” said Ryan Roessler, product manager at ORBIS. “The FasTrack life-cycle analysis confirms just one of the many advantages plastic pallets have over wood. More companies are transitioning to plastic for their dimensionally consistent design, cleanability and environmentally friendly characteristics.”

The RackoCell is a one-piece plastic pallet manufactured for hygienic use in food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries. It was chosen for this testing because it has performance characteristics that are similar to traditional whitewood pallets, including load ratings, footprint, and racking strength required in food manufacturing and distribution applications. In addition to lasting durability, the RackoCell is easily cleanable, keeps plants free of wood chips and can store products in unsupported racking systems while protecting loads from damage caused by nails or loose boards associated with wood pallets.

In addition to the RackoCell, ORBIS offers a large suite of plastic pallets that are available in a wide variety of footprints, materials and styles. By collaborating with their plastic pallet provider, companies should evaluate their systems to determine the pallet that best meets their application needs. ORBIS has a five-step process to help analyze, design and implement the best pallet program for its customers to ensure a seamless integration within a facility or entire supply chain.

For more information on plastic pallets, visit Visit for more information about the Virginia Tech Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design.

About ORBIS Corporation

With more than 160 years of material handling expertise and 50 years of plastics innovations, ORBIS consists of a portfolio of businesses that meet the material handling needs of companies across many industries. ORBIS helps world-class customers move their product faster, safer and more cost-effectively. Using a proven approach, ORBIS experts analyze customers’ systems, design a solution and execute a reusable packaging program for longer-term cost savings and sustainability. Using life-cycle assessments to compare reusable and single-use packaging, ORBIS also helps customers reduce their overall environmental impact. ORBIS is a part of Menasha Corporation, one of the oldest family-owned manufacturers in the United States. As a steward of sustainability, ORBIS is committed to a better world for future generations. ORBIS tracks and measures its own resource utilization to continuously conserve natural resources and reduce waste. For more information, please visit,, or

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