Most zero-slump product producers in the United States have avoided using wooden pallets. In a plant's fast-paced production setting, producers often found that the pallets wouldn't last long enough. In a very short time, they would absorb moisture and begin to warp.

That attitude may change. A new alternative to traditional wood pallets was introduced to North American at the Manufactured Concrete Products Expo in February. The product features a new base plate with laminated wood core and polyurethane casing.

The new DuroBOARD is a base plate consisting of a dimensionally stable, non-distorting laminated veneer lumber (LVL) laminated core and a wear-resistant casing of the polyurethane Baydur. The development of this brand new base plate is the result of decades of experience in the production of concrete goods.

Engineers focussed on the heavy-duty demands found in concrete block and paver production. DuroBOARD's engineers developed a unique material formulation and design to create longer life. The LVL laminated wood core is made of long-fibre pinewood. To create longer, greater bending strength, the core is comprised of three cross-bonded 2.5-mm-thick single layers. The design created a flexural strength with a modulus of elasticity of >11,000 N/mm2.

To help with surface wear, the LVL laminated core is encased with the Baydur, which has been specially developed by Assyx GmbH & Co. of Andernach, Germany, in co-operation with Bayer Material Science. It was formulated specially for this purpose.

The impact-resistant and extremely hardwearing polyurethane surface encloses the laminated core on all sides and protects it against external influences. At the same time, this creates an absolutely waterproof and oil-resistant surface that also allows the use of parting agents and reduces cement adhesions to an unavoidable minimum.

Ideal in humid environments

Swelling, uneven surfaces, and decaying are prevented. This protection makes the DuroBOARD ideal to use in drying chambers with vapor systems, as well as in regions with high humidity and high ambient temperatures.

The smooth, pore-free, and UV-resistant polyurethane surface leads to an optimum resistance and long service life. In conjunction with the ideal vibration transmission, thanks to the extremely rigid LVL laminated core, producers can manufacture concrete products with a smooth underside, high compressions, and consistently accurate heights. This also greatly reduces the costly reworking of product undersides during finishing such as grinding or milling when manufacturing concrete products.

DuroBOARD is available in all common shapes and thicknesses. The pallet is only slightly heavier than a solid wood board of the same dimensions and is only about half the weight of a base plate of thermoset plastic of similar size. The system's configuration does not have to be adjusted following a change from solid wood plates to DuroBOARD.

The light weight saves delivery costs and also makes it easier to handle the plates.