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Problem: Mold growth was a problem when storing pallets in trailers. Nothing seemed to work to solve the problem.
By Lisa Monroe
Date Posted: 11/1/2016
Mold growth was a problem storing pallets in trailers.
Nothing seemed to work to solve the problem. Jasper Products experimented with retrofitted trailers with vents and fans based on technology offered by Air-Flow Trailer Systems.
Solution: Jasper Products experimented with retrofitted trailers with vents and fans based on technology offered by Air-Flow Trailer Systems.
Prior to using fan systems from Air-Flow Trailer Systems, Jasper Products used to struggle with eliminating mold on pallets, which is a fairly common issue, but not a good one to have when you’re shipping food items.
“Our hardwood pallets are made with newly sawn wood and when the sawn wood just sits in an enclosed space like a trailer, there is a tendency for mold growth. And that’s the opposite of what you want,” said Ed Beam, vice president of Jasper Products, a manufacturer of milk, protein shakes, coffee creamer and vegetable-based milk products..
But now, after using the trailer systems through two hot and humid summer seasons when mold outbreaks are more prevalent, mold is no longer an issue,
“We are happy with it because we are not seeing moldy pallets,” said Beam, explaining that once Jasper developed a strong process for using the fan systems and trained its workforce on a three-day dwell and first-in, first-out rotation process, moldy pallets became an issue from the past.
“We tried many other solutions and nothing else ever worked even marginally, but this AFTS fan system worked exceptionally well,” he said.
Jasper works with its pallet suppliers by investing in the AFTS fan equipment, then the pallet suppliers install them in their trailers. When the pallet deliveries arrive at Jasper’s manufacturing plant in Joplin, Missouri, if the pallets contain new wood, the receiving team checks and documents the load and then re-closes the doors and seals the trailer, which is backed into what he has named a “fan energizing station,” which powers the AFTS fan system.
The trailer sits for up to three days while the fans run and dry the green pallets, then employees cut the trailer seal and back the trailer into a dock at the plant where the pallets are unloaded for use, he said.
A lot of other companies do the opposite. “Once they buy pallets with new wood, they just leave the trailer doors open so some air will flow, but that’s not good from a Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) standpoint because birds and other animals can get in the trailer and leave droppings on the pallets,” Beam said.
Recently Jasper purchased additional units from AFTS, for a total of 16 units. “Our product mix has shifted so it increased the number of pallets we use that include new wood so that has prompted us to buy more fan systems,” Beam said.
Jim Francois’s family, which runs AFTS, certainly understands mold problems. In fact, the company was formed to solve the mold issues.
The family has run its pallet business, Lumber Sales & Products, for 56 years, and is just moving that company and AFTS into a new 42,500-square-foot facility.
“Air-Flow was designed by me because we were having so many issues with mold,” Francois said. “Everyone in the pallet industry has issues with mold, and this is not that expensive to buy,” although he explained that a lot of pallet companies seem reluctant to make the investment even though it’s an obvious no-brainer.
A trailer system kit starts at $3,200 and comes with everything needed to install, such as templates, glue, caulking, and instructions. It takes two people about six hours to install each unit.
The systems can be used to dry all kinds of materials, in addition to wooden pallets, such as vegetables, cardboard, steel, basically anything with a high-moisture content, Francois said. AFTS systems were the subject of a recent Virginia Tech study that proved its effectiveness. For more on the study, read here: http://aftstrailers.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Virginia-Tech-STUDY.pdf.
For more information on how AFTS can eliminate your mold problems, call 262-677-9033 or visit http://aftstrailers.com/