Dutch brewer Heineken NV is to replace all its wooden pallets in Mexico with a high impact-resistant plastic pallet, co-designed and produced by Mexican company Plásticos Técnicos Mexicanos SA de CV (PTM), which has plants in Monterrey, northern Mexico, and Querétaro, in the center of the country.
Mexican beverages company Fomento Económico Mexicano SAB de CV (Femsa), which owns PTM, made the announcement September 1 and said Heineken will “discontinue the use of wooden pallets in its six plants in Mexico, replacing them with PTM technology.”
Heineken purchased Femsa's beer operations in January, 2010, in a stock swap that gave Monterrey-based Femsa a 15 percent stake in Heineken.
In a news release from Femsa, Marc Busain, CEO of Heineken Mexico, said the brewer “opted for PTM's Ultra Pallet, for its clear advantages in durability, total cost of ownership and environmental benefits.”
Femsa said the pallet has passed the so-called accelerated life simulation test, developed by Virginia Tech's Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design. The test indicated it could “withstand 100 trips, over twice the number of trips of a traditional plastic pallet,” said Femsa.
The Ultra Pallet is 35 percent lighter than a wooden pallet, according to Femsa. It uses a process called inside injection foaming (IIF), which combines traditional injection molding and structural foam. PTM engineers developed IIF, with input from Sosa Tech Advisors LLC, of McAllen, Texas.
The technology won the top Handling & Packaging Materials Award at the International Plastic Design Competition at the 2009 NPE trade show in Chicago.
PTM can process up to 20,000 tons of plastic resins a year and its operations include blow and injection molding, thermoforming and extrusion, according to Femsa. It employs 1,000.
Femsa is the parent company of the world's second largest Coca-Cola bottler, Coca-Cola FEMSA, SA de CV, of Mexico City, which is among other bottlers already using the Ultra Pallet, Femsa said.