The user is Simon Frederiks at HSF Logistics. The plastic pallet box is the 1000-Ace from Dolav, the company whose name has become the global generic name for pallet boxes.
HSF Logistics knows about hygienic bulk meat transport. It handles beef, pork and poultry and supplies ten percent of UK meat market. Every day HSF lorries in Europe transport meat to and through countries which include Benelux, the Balkan states, Scandinavia, Germany, Austria, Poland, France, Italy, Spain, England and Ireland. It has its own cooled and refrigerated warehouses for storage and consolidation and some 500 modern vehicles and an administration support system. HSF has 1000 employees in its locations in Nijmegen, Winterswijk, Celje, Great Blakenham and Neuenkirchen-Vörden.
The plastic pallet box manufacturer, Dolav, has supplied the meat industry with pallet boxes for more than 30 years and HSF for 20 years, latterly with the Dolav Classic pallet box.
HSF wanted a box designed to help give lower lifetime costs, take 30 percent heavier loads up to 900 kilos and have three integral runners, one more than the Classic. Other detailed improvements included greater internal radii and reduced underside ribbing for easier cleaning, strengthening possible impact points from fork tines. So the Dolav Ace was born and after extensive testing joined the HSF equipment pool this year.
For HSF, design and manufacture of the three-runner Dolav Ace set out to achieve zero hiding places for bacteria before or after washing. According to HSF, other pallet boxes which have 'snap-in' runners can leave unsealed, concealed cavities within their feet. Many users invert pallet boxes to discharge their contents of meat or other food stuffs while the runners hold the boxes on the forks of the mechanical handling equipment. HSF wanted integral moulded runners on the Ace so they cannot pull out of the box body during discharge.
From the discussions and design development came a new stacking method and load transmission. In the one metre wide 1000-Ace load transmission is though integral columns allowing bigger loads to be moved safely and to provide a higher safety factor. That additionally allows greater strength to absorb abuse – most likely when used in food production waste collection and recycling.
Northern Europe meat plant customers enforce stringent hygiene tests on suppliers. HSF is no exception. While, as a result of the new engineering the Ace was initially a little more expensive than other pallet boxes, HSF finds it passes the customer hygiene tests and costs much less to operate.
Inherent plastic wall strength also comes from the particular type of low-pressure injection moulding used by the Dolav company for its high density polyethylene (HDPE). This is by comparison with rotational moulding. Dolav low-pressure injection moulding creates an impermeable, strong solid, single wall with no internal tension allowing use in extreme heat or deep freeze rooms. If cut, cracked or scratched the newly exposed surfaces are as impermeable as the original surface. This means that any damage or repair can be cleaned just as well, and as thoroughly as undamaged surfaces. The tare also remains constant. In addition it allows product customisation from standard products with the manufacturer cutting and welding standard pallet boxes into new dimensions and sizes but with the same hygienic performance and without capital tooling costs for low volume requirements. Because the plastic wall is solid and impermeable it remains suitable for life for safe use in deep freeze rooms. At end-of-live the HDPE is easily recycled as it can be ground up and used in other HDPE products.
Dolav has always rejected rotationally moulded twin-skin PU foam core PE walls as they can harbour contamination and water adding weight if damaged, cannot be used in deep freeze and are not easy to recycle.
So customers' increased hygiene demands with the meat mechanical handling know how of HSF and Dolav's plastic injection moulding engineering have led to the new product. Of Dolav's 1000-Ace, Simon Frederiks at HSF said, "It's the only pallet box on the market which meets our performance standards and much more importantly it's the only one which meets the increased hygiene demands of our key European customers."