A Dutch company is specialized in the distribution of building materials in the Netherlands. The company is currently spending a lot of time and materials on the packaging of palletised and long/bulk building materials. Every year the company applies plastic to wrap or shrink roughly 250.000 or 350.000 pallets with building materials. The plastic is used in order to increase the stability and thus the safety during handling & transport and to keep the building materials dry.
Currently, the company is using the following materials:
i. stretch foil combined with an automated wrapping procedure and
ii. shrink cover. Here the cover is heated manually to shrink it.
Both methods are in combination with a labelling method to recognize the order and taping to finish the packaging.
In order to decrease the amount of packaging material (plastic) used, the company is looking for a more sustainable solution, which:
i. either (and this is preferred), completely removes any form of packaging for palletised building materials, or
ii. optimizes the current packaging process in relation to time and or amount of packaging material used.
The envisioned solution should preferably meet all of the following criteria:
• Safety: it is crucial that the building materials will be secured tightly on the pallets.
• Dry delivery of materials at the customer (from order pick, overnight storage outside, loading, partly open transport until unloading at customer).
• One solution fits all and which facilitates transport of a wide variety of palletized products including: bags, boxes, cans and unpacked materials (wood/metal/concrete etc.).
• Stackable: to optimize transport load, smaller pallets are often stacked on top of other pallets or transport units. The solution should be able to support +/- 500kg of weight and friction during transport.
• Handling: the solution should be workable for warehouse/transport/customer (and potentially return to warehouse process). Forklifts are used for internal warehouse transport.
Therefore, the company is looking for new sustainable ideas, methods and techniques to optimise the packaging of palletised building materials. Solutions could be simple low tech or high tech, including full out of the box solutions, taken into account that the above mentioned conditions will be covered.
The company is looking for creative but realistic solutions that can be applied in a pilot. Cooperation with skilled partners is sought and collaboration would be in the frame of a commercial agreement with technical assistance, a license agreement or a technical cooperation agreement.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This technology request is part of an innovation challenge and is published on an open innovation platform from the 7th of June and will close on the 12th of July. If an organization does express interest in collaboration with this company before closing date, it will be guided through this open innovation platform and be introduced to the company’s experts. Mind that posts on this platform are not confidential.
Next step is that the company will select the SMEs with whom they would like to cooperate in the development of the solution. Once the challenge is closed, EOIs for this technology request will be handled in the traditional way.