Miller Case Study

MillerLike many companies, the popular, American-based beer maker, Miller Brewing Company had been using wooden pallets for storage and shipping for decades. Though highly-functional and strong, the wooden pallets ultimately created a lot of problems.

To begin with, the lumber for the pallets came from South America. The shipping costs, time needed for replacement lumber, and general distance from the source made procuring the wood quite inconvenient.

Old Wooden Miller PalletAfter finally getting the pallets, years of use, extreme temperature exposure, and rough contact with other pallets, caused the wood to eventually crack, splinter, and break. The imperfections in the wood occasionally caught on conveyer belts and other machinery, which halted production and ultimately delayed shipping time to their customers. The sawdust, dirt, and unavoidable infestations in the wood also created dirt and grime near the kegs, which is unacceptable for a consumable product.

All of this aside, the wooden pallets were also a nuisance when they just wouldn’t cut it anymore. As society turns “green”, consumers are demanding that companies practice responsible, energy-conserving, environmentally-friendly disposal and production practices; however, the only thing in a broken pallets’ future was the incinerator.

This is where San Li stepped in. With the innovation and solutions-minded thinking for which the company is known, San Li worked with Greystone Logistics to find an environmentally-friendly, sustainable, hassle-free answer to the pallet problem.

Their solution? Plastic.

New Plastic PalletThe benefits of plastic pallets are overwhelming. Plastic pallets:

• last 10-50 times longer than wood

• have residual (trade-in) value

• are recyclable

• are field tested with over 3 million in-use

• have anti-skid design for the top, bottom, and fork lift tine contact areas

• are 2,800 pound rackable to ASTM standards

• can handle a 5,000 Lbs (2,268 kg) dynamic load

• can hold a 25,000 Lbs (11,339 kg) static load

• prevent 50 Lbs (22.7 kg) of post-industrial plastic from going into landfills, per pallet

• save 50-70 pounds (22.7-31.8 kg) of wood from landfills, per pallet

• help reduce deforestation, landfill waste, and incinerator air pollution

• provide the perfect solution for closed loop systems

• are very sustainable and have lower life cycle costs

• leave no exposed nails, wood chips, or broken boards on manufacturing or warehouse floors,

• help prevent fork lift issues, wood in the machinery, floor injuries, and damage to products

• are non-porous and non-permeable for better sanitation

• are bug and infestation proof

• provide better aesthetics and are more attractive for display

• are lighter than wood

• help companies comply with rapidly changing health, safety, and environmental regulations

• have a consistent size for automated pallet systems, and

• overcome many wood pallet logistic and handling issues

Although the use of wooden pallets in shipping and production is standard with a long, industrial history, times are changing, expectations are changing, and standards are improving.

San Li is there to help you improve, as well.

It was an obvious choice to replace the wooden pallets with plastic, and San Li used only the most advanced U.S. injection molding machine brand, Cincinnati, to create an inexpensive, light-weight, heavy-duty finished product that boasts nearly 100% recovery of raw materials and a clean appearance.

From the initial drafting discussion to the final mold development, San Li’s solution-minded engineers worked closely with Miller Brewing Company and Greystone to get it right and get it done efficiently, and they’re ready to help you, too.