Independent tests show simple forklift attachments will slash pallet repair and replacement costs and significantly reduce product damage in the supply chain
Independent tests undertaken in the USA by the highly respected Virginia Tech Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design have demonstrated that the Sumo Glove – a simple but revolutionary product that limits the impact of a forklift’s forks against a load – virtually eliminates the damage to wooden and plastic pallets that is often caused by carelessly directed lift truck forks.
The Sumo Glove is a protective cover that fits to the tips of a lift truck’s forks. Its unique cushioning effect reduces both pallet and load damage and enhances safety without affecting the operational effectiveness of the forklift truck.
The Virginia Tech laboratory tests showed that the blocks of a plastic pallet or ‘stringers’ of a wooden pallet are up to 13 times less likely to suffer serious damage if hit by a forklift whose forks are fitted with Sumo Glove technology than a truck whose forks are unprotected.
In fact, when struck by tines fitted with Sumo Glove, neither the wooden or plastic pallets showed signs of any failure up to the point where the testing was terminated.
“Quite simply, the tests present clear evidence that Sumo Gloves allow companies to greatly reduce the repair, maintenance and replacement costs that they run up each year by damaging their pallet pool with lift trucks,” says Simon Ross, Co-founder of SumoSafe Global – the company behind Sumo Glove.
He adds: “It was found that even if wooden pallets were impacted 13 times harder, the pallets did not experience any structural damage when the fork tine was protected with the Sumo Glove. Similarly, plastic pallets did not experience any structural damage when they were impacted with a fork tine protected with the SUMO Glove – even when hit seven times harder than with a non-protected fork!”
Virginia Tech is the only laboratory in the USA with facilities to evaluate all aspects of unit load and material handling design and efficiency and it is renowned around the world for its pioneering research in to the design of efficient packaging, pallet and unit load solutions.
Virginia Tech’s Sumo Glove tests involved recreating the impact of a lift truck’s forks – or tines, as they are otherwise known – against stationery pallet loads. Forklift tines were attached to a rigid support structure and a weighted pallet was repeatedly swung at the tips of the tines from an angle of 10 degrees. The distance from which the pallet was swung was increased until the pallet broke. But even when struck with the maximum kinetic force that could be generated by the laboratory test, pallets remained damage-free when hit by forks protected by Sumo Glove technology.
“We recorded a significant difference in the survivability of both the blocks of plastic and stringers of wooden pallets when they were tested against tines fitted with the Sumo Glove,” says Dr Laszlo Horvath, a Director of the Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design at Virginia Tech.
He continues: “The development of Sumo Glove is excellent news for all companies that use pallets to move loads through their supply chain.
“To reduce costly pallet damage, companies have two options: ‘beef up’ the pallet to make it more durable, which costs money and uses up more natural resources, or reduce hazards in the handling process. With lift truck drivers across the world under pressure to move loads as quickly as possible, the latter has always been difficult – until now.
“With the development of Sumo Glove, the intensity of the impact of fork tines against a pallet is significantly lowered, which means pallets survive longer and companies could save money.
“Pallets are an ongoing annual expense but investment in Sumo Glove technology is a one-off investment that saves money for many years.”
Furthermore, Virginia Tech’s tests also highlighted that it isn’t just the pallet that benefits from Sumo Glove. Corrugated cardboard and plastic packaging systems were also shown to withstand more impact by a lift truck’s forks when fitted with the Gloves, which means product damage is also significantly reduced by Sumo Glove.
“Sumo Glove is a very exciting product that could reduce both pallet and packaging puncture damage,” added Dr Horvath.
Essentially, the Sumo Glove works as a barrier that reduces the impact of a carelessly driven lift truck’s forks against the load.
Made from industrial grade polyurethane and are quickly and simply fitted. The gloves are offered in a range of sizes to suit all types of fork.
And, for those that do not want to fit the Sumo Gloves themselves, the same level of protection is available from the SumoSafe Global SafeFork – a range of lift truck forks supplied with the protective Sumo Gloves already fitted.
Offered in various sizes, SafeForks are compatible with all major forklift truck brands and model types and are supplied ‘ready-to-use’.
Simon Ross adds: “The Virginia Tech test results clearly demonstrate that any company that uses forklift trucks to move palletised loads at any stage of their journey through the supply chain, can reduce wooden and plastic pallet damage with the introduction of simple and inexpensive Sumo Glove or SafeFork technology.
“Forklift related product damage is a concern at many sites around the world and businesses are under greater pressure than ever before to drive costs out of their intralogistics processes, but these products really are a game changer.”