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Center for Unit Load Design Testing

Laszlo Horvath, Asst Professor of Practice, and students, Sustainable Biomaterials, Brooks Forest Products Center. Pallets and packaging.

Packaging Systems and Design and Center for Unit Load Design faculty members and offer a range of tests for packaging materials and products as well as contract research services and consulting. All testing and research is conducted in accordance with applicable standards provided by organizations such as the ASTM International, the International Organization for Standardization, and the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry. Faculty members also participate in outreach activities that engage the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond.  

Contract Testing Program

Structural Property Tests of Packaging Materials and Products

  • Mechanical Properties: Including Tensile, friction, compression, impact, burst strength, Edge Crush Testing, Face Crush Testing, Elmendorf tear testing, falling dart impact, and Gurley bending resistance
  • Thermal Property:  Melting temperature, glass transition, crystallinity, heat capacity, heat deflection temperature and thermal stability tests
  • Physical Properties: Viscosity, melt index, molecular weight distribution, particle size determination, opacity, and color
  • Morphological Property:  Electron and polarization microscopy
  • Gas Barrier Properties: Solubility, diffusion or permeation behavior tests (water vapor, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and flavor (organic vapor) permeation)

Transportation and Distribution

  • Pallet and Component Tests

    Pallet tests include strength, stiffness, and durability. 

    • The strength/stiffness evaluation is dependent on the pallet support conditions.The load is applied using a uniform, flexible airbag as a general purpose load. Specific loads can also be used during testing. 
    • Pallet durability is determined using the incline impact tester and the corner drop test. 
    • Component tests evaluate the bending strength/stiffness of pallet parts and can be used to predict the performance of an assembled pallet.

    Pallet Fastener Test

    Fasteners test include the Fastener Quality Analysis (FQA) that assesses the basic fastener dimensions and MIBANT stiffness. These are used to calculate the withdrawal (FWI) and shear (FSI) indexes.

    Package and Component Tests 

    Package tests include compression pallet/package interactions such as load bridging, coefficient of friction, and load bearing area. Tests include those for package components, product/packaging interaction, material analysis, protection capability,and product fit. Other package tests include distribution tests (impact and vibration).

    Unit Load Tests

    These tests evaluate the full unit load for the ability to protect the product and/or the stability of the unit load during transit. Test include package/pallet/material handling equipment interactions (include stretch wrap and other dunnage). 

So your test failed ... Now What?

Traditional test labs only give pass or fail grade. Frankly, other labs may not even know why the test failed. That's not particularly useful when it is your responsibility to fix the problem.

The Center for Unit Load Design, with our vast research experience, has the capability to look beyond the test results to solve your most pressing concerns.

Workshops and Short Courses

For more information about our workshops please visit unit load.