In the realm of GMA Pallet Repairs, companion stringers play an incredibly important role in a #2 pallet. They allow pallet suppliers and recyclers, like Kamps, to extend the life of a used pallet even further.
What is a Companion Stringer
A companion stringer, also often referred to as a plug, is a piece of a stringer (the vertical wooden piece between the top and bottom deck), that is inserted into a pallet and nailed to an existing stringer.
Companion stringers can vary in length. The size of a companion stringer that a repair expert uses depends on the extent of damages to the pallet. Companion stringers can be anywhere from 6 inches long to as long as 48 inches (the full length of a GMA pallet).
When done well, a companion stringer can be an effective repair that extends the life of a recycled pallet.
How Do Companion Stringers Provide Support
A companion stringer provides support by propping up the damaged stringer and preventing it from collapsing underneath weight supported. It also provides overall support for the bottom and top decks simply by its presence.
While a companion stringer is sufficient repair protocol for a #2 recycled GMA pallet, depending on the products being shipped – a #2 recycled pallet may not always be the best solution for your shipping needs.
We recommend always conferring with your pallet supplier for the most suitable pallet grade for your shipping operations to ensure that expectations are met.
Is There Any Scientific Evidence Backing The Effectiveness of The Stringer
Yes, there actually is scientific evidence proving the effectiveness of a companion stringer.
A 2004 study reported by Virginia Tech’s Department of Wood Science & Forest Products College of Natural Resources tested the effect companion stringers have on 48×40 GMA pallets. The study tested the stiffness and strength of repaired pallets with no companion stringers, repaired pallets with companion stringers, and new and undamaged pallets.
Virginia Tech’s study found that pallets with companion stringers can regain stiffness and strength needed to support certain products and weight.
It is important to note, however, that a pallet’s stiffness and strength are not the only indicators of the quality of support a pallet can provide. Chipped or cracked deckboards can also cause issues when shipping your product. It is important to look at a pallet as a whole when making those decisions.
As mentioned previously, it is always recommended to confer with your pallet experts, such as Kamps, on which pallet grade would be most suitable for your shipping operations.