In the logistics industry, we tend to take the humble pallet for granted. But every once in a while, something comes along to remind us that pallets are not quite as humdrum as we might think. Here are two items that tickled our fancy:
The New York Times reports that a team of graduate students at The Ohio State University has come up with three new designs for aluminum pallets. Their assignment was to develop platforms that could have an environmental impact but were not too expensive for the market. That they did: The lightweight, reusable pallets cut fuel expenses during shipping, and the designs are simple enough that they do not require welding by hand, which drives up the cost of aluminum pallets. They solved another problem, too. Since improper welding can diminish aluminum's strength, the team used "conformal interference joining technology," a method of joining metals through a process involving electromagnetism instead of heat, the Times reported.
In England, it's traditional to set bonfires on Nov. 5 each year to commemorate Guy Fawkes' attempt to burn down Parliament in 1605. For more than 20 years, Edward Heath of Staffordshire has used pallets to build bonfire effigies in the shape of famous landmarks (including the White House, the Tower of London, and Wembley Stadium) to raise money for charities. In honor of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee, the retired scrap metal dealer built a 93-foot-wide, 26-foot-tall replica of Buckingham Palace from 1,000 wooden pallets. The structure took Heath five months to build and just a couple of hours to burn.