Numerical Analysis of Creep in Plastic Pallets

  • Gomes, Inês (PIEP)
  • Żmijewska-Rocha, Agnieszka (PIEP)
  • Gomes, Pedro (PIEP)
  • Sousa, Bruno (PIEP)
  • Carneiro, Filipa (PIEP)

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The utilization of plastic in certain products holds significant importance due to its unique characteristics that often outperform conventional materials. In industries requiring lightweight, durable, and cost-effective solutions, plastic emerges as an indispensable choice. Its versatility allows for innovative designs and functionalities, driving advancements in technology and product efficiency. Within the scope of Reduce project, the development and design of a plastic pallet was studied, in order to replace a conventional wooden pallet, taking into account all the requirements that the pallet must meet. The importance of opting for plastic pallets over traditional wood pallets lies in their numerous practical benefits for modern logistics. Plastic pallets, characterized by their durability and resistance to moisture and pests, offer a longer lifespan and greater reliability. They are lighter, contributing to more fuel-efficient transportation and reducing the overall environmental footprint. Plastic pallets also promote hygiene as they are resistant to bacteria. Furthermore, their recyclability aligns with sustainability goals, making them an eco-friendly choice. However, when pallets are stored and are supporting heavy loads for a long period of time, the phenomenon of creep begins to appear. Creep phenomena in plastic pallets refer to the gradual deformation of the material when subjected to prolonged stress or load. Over time, the plastic may experience a shift in shape, potentially compromising its structural integrity. Therefore, the objective of this study is to analyse the structural integrity of the pallet when it is subject to creep, through a Finite Element Method (FEM) model. The numerical model of the structural simulation was developed using Abaqus software. The structural simulation represents a bending test of an injected pallet, according to the ISO 8611 standard. Based on the results of the simulations, it was possible to optimize the pallet design, in order to improve its structural integrity and so that the pallet continued to meet all the required requirements. Thus, in the end, a more resistant, innovative and eco-friendly solution was obtained.