Worthington Steelpac Automates Production, Launches GMA Style Pallet

Major plastic pallet and container company automates to cut costs, claims its durable designs far outlast wood and plastic designs.
By Chaille Brindley
Date Posted: 3/14/2008

One of the largest steel pallet and racking companies in the country, Worthington Steelpac, is launching into a new era of manufacturing. Moving beyond just custom fabrication, Worthington Steelpac is getting ready to open a highly automated production facility in York, Penn. This new plant is coming online as the company launches a 48x40 pallet designed to meet the needs of retailers and industrial applications.

Called the Steelpac Distribution Pallet, its the first light weight, flame-resistant steel pallet designed to meet Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) capacity and compatibility standards, according to Worthington. The new design has been tested with big box retailers and consumer packaged goods companies.

We feel our tests in big box retail and consumer packaged goods environments have prepared us well to offer this durable, cost-efficient product to material handling managers nationwide, said Jon Holthaus, sales manager for Worthington Steelpac. In the final 12 months of this testing, our steel distribution pallet had less than a 5% damage rate, which is five times less than the average damage rate of a traditional wood block style pallet.

While the pallet is more cost effective than many other metal designs thanks to automation, it is still too expensive to be used in anything other than a closed loop, controlled situation. Holthaus said that the key markets are printing and industrial applications as well as some pharmaceutical or food manufacturing operations.

Holthaus said that the Steelpac Distribution Pallet will be priced somewhere between a heavy-duty wood block pallet (like PECO or CHEP) and a comparable, high-quality plastic pallet.

Worthington Industries has worked closely with retailers and product manufacturers to identify desired characteristics and develop a pallet that will work in the consumer goods supply chain. While the pallet may be too expensive for most retail applications, Worthington Industries has demonstrated what a metal pallet can do as far as damage resistance and racking strength. Retailers are not likely to switch to metal any time soon, but at least, they have had a taste of the benefits offered by metal pallets.

Made of galvanized steel, the Steelpac Distribution Pallet offers more than 3,500 pounds of unsupported racking capacity. Features include: four-way access, lightweight, flame retardant, superior racking strength compared to traditional pallets, and recyclable. Also it does not attract or harbor insects and prevents rust.

The new production facility significantly increases the capacity of the company and makes it more competitive. Holthaus said that the company had to automate if it wanted to be able to reduce the cost to manufacture to make its metal pallets more price competitive with other options on the market. More detailed information on the new pallet design can be found at www.steelpacpallets.com.

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