Conveyors, Transfers, Chutes

What is pallet hooding?

Put simply, it keeps bags and cartons of product secure on their transport pallets, protecting them from the elements as they make their way to the end user. ABHR learns more about the technology and its increasing availability.

Put simply, it keeps bags and cartons of product secure on their transport pallets, protecting them from the elements as they make their way to the end user. ABHR learns more about the technology and its increasing availability.

The conventional method of securing loads onto a pallet is a fairly basic one: wrapping a roll of plastic film around the pallet, typically with a turntable. This ensures the load is stable in transport and mitigates the risk of pallets collapsing on people. 

However, this wrapping process often doesn’t fully protect the bags on the pallet from the environment or extended logistics chains.

Braden Goddin, sales and marketing manager at Aurora Process Solutions, said there is a far better way to secure pallets.

“Pallet hooding technology forms a one-piece plastic hood that rapidly stretches over a pallet and its load he told ABHR.

“There are several benefits to this. It provides a high level of load containment. It’s waterproof, dustproof and UV-proof, which lends itself to industrial products that might be stored outside or have a portion of their ‘to-market’ logistics chain exposed to weather.

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“It’s particularly important for products that use paper bags, as moisture ingress can cause a product to deteriorate before it’s even reached the customer.”

Pallet hooding has traditionally been deployed on high-volume manufacturing lines. The technology has undergone further developments that have made them more accessible for smaller businesses that aren’t operating on a 24–7 schedule.

Aurora Process Solutions specialises in scaling technologies and processes to meet the needs of small-to-medium businesses. The company provides products that semi- and fully automate the packaging, conveying, conditioning, palletising and hooding processes. Its equipment systems can handle commodities including grain, seed, flour, cement, landscape products and stockfeed. 

Goddin said the hooding technology is growing in popularity among lower volume users, leading to better protected products.

“Pallet hoods provide a higher degree of load containment than wrapping, especially if the product is stacked high, is irregular or is not as stable,” he said.

“It also provides far better protection for the product throughout an extended domestic or export supply chain. Traditionally, wrapping tends to come loose or to start unravelling, which wastes plastic and can lead to the product load collapsing.

“There’s also the aesthetics to consider. If you’re selling to a merchant or retailer, plastic hoods tend to look far neater and more appealing.”

According to Goddin, the building product and landscaping industries have been rapid adopters of the technology, given cements and mortars are typically stored outdoors and need to be protected from moisture to ensure they work properly.

The pet and animal supply sector is another industry that has adopted pallet hooding machinery, mainly for products like animal bedding, wood shavings and bales of fodder.

Goddin said products that have a plastic hood do not require re-wrapping, which means less plastic is used across the supply chain.

“Pallets can be dispatched across the world through an extensive distribution network,” he said. “If wrapping fails, it needs to be re-wrapped to ensure it is safe, which adds time and cost to the process.

“The plastic hoods can also be made from polymer recipes using a high percentage of recycled plastic, similar to other polyethylene wrap products.”

Aurora works with potential clients to learn about their process and materials. It can provide a flexible solution to cater for companies with mixed pallets. Adjustments can also be made to increase the hood’s size and shape on a pallet-by-pallet basis.

Aurora’s staff will work closely with the client’s finance and accounting staff to model a return on investment from the proposed solution. If it stacks up, so to speak, then all parties have the confidence to move forward. 

Curious clients can also visit installations to talk with the operators and learn the ins and outs of the equipment in similar industries. 

Goddin said the company had plenty of satisfied clients around Australasia who are happy to share their successful experiences.

“We also have a lot of video resources we can provide to give them an idea of how it all works,” he said.

“It’s a lot easier than people think. It might seem like a major change to move from wrapping to hooding, but changing can be done simply and rapidly.”

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