Smart Flow Europe is a Belgian company, specialized in the development and production of material handling products for logistical applications. Commissioned by Smart Flow Europe, BPO developed an innovative, more-way heavy duty pallet without bottom skids. The SF800H is a nestable mono-block pallet (1200mm×800mm), made of virgin or recycled HDPE.

Stacking the pallet

BPO developed the SF800H pallet based on the technical requirements as stated by Smart Flow Europe. These requirements were related to nesting height (maximum 50%), material (HDPE, possibly recycled), mass (between 10 and 12 kg) and several predefined load cases, like bending resistance on a forklift and racking, conveyor and impact performance.

Finite element simulations were used to quantify the performance and deformations under the predefined loads and conditions. Static and dynamic “worst case” simulations were executed for both reference and conceptual geometries. Evenly and unevenly distributed loads were taken into account, as well as extreme usage scenarios, like lifting from the short side, without extended forks, combined with a load on the free hanging side.

Ribs in the feet, “crumple zones”

Impact simulation rim

BPO optimised the conceptual geometry of the pallet based on the results of the finite element simulations. The legs were designed to be rounded on the outside, which protects the legs from impacts by the forks. The openings in the deck were designed as small as possible, which explains the “kidney-shape” of the legs. The square rib pattern under the main surface is optimised based on strength and stiffness requirements, as well as requirements with regard to the production facilities of Smart Flow Europe. The ribs in the feet of the pallet function as crumple zones; because of their shape, these ribs absorb energy, whereby the leg itself is not structurally damaged and can still carry vertical loads.

Drop test

In order to stabilize the load, a rim is designed on the top side of the pallet. Smooth transportation over conveyor belts is guaranteed by functional rounds in the corners. Mounting geometry for rubber pads is added to the design, as well as functional drafts on the bottom side of the deck, which enlarge the forklift entry window. When empty, 40 pallets can be stacked on top of each other, which means that 1320 pallets fit in one container (40ft), taking into account outer dimensions and nesting height.

BPO prepared the 3D CAD files for production, and provided all technical documentation required for mould making. Smart Flow Europe recently added the SF800H to their product portfolio. For more information about the SF800H pallet, please visit: www.smart-flow.com

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