Pallet Design System

Information from the NWPCA

The Pallet Design System© is based on engineering fundamentals and  matrix structural analysis techniques. It is the result of many years of  laboratory research and field-testing. NWPCA and the William H. Sardo,  Jr. Pallet & Container Research Lab have invested an enormous amount  of time and resources to create and enhance this outstanding design and  marketing tool.


PDS© simulates pallet strength, stiffness and life cycle analysis  based on user-specified descriptions of the material-handling  environment. This system can be used to estimate the performance level  of a particular pallet design or assist in creating a new design to meet  a precise performance level. PDS© has been in use since 1984 and is  currently used by pallet manufacturers and recyclers in 15 countries.


PDS© can assist in the design of many kinds of pallets:


  • Two through Five Stringer   
  • 2-way or partial 4-way; 4,6 and 9-block   
  • Post-style pallets of any size   
  • Single or double-face   
  • From commonly used wood species-hardwoods, softwoods and mixtures     
  • Single- or double-winged   
  • Single or double cantilever   
  • Flush reversible or non-reversible   
  • Structural wood composite panels   
  • With a full range of parts dimensions     
  • Those made with commonly used fasteners – nails and staples   
  • Rack and stacked storage   
  • Handled with forklifts, floor jacks and slings   
  • To support fully or partially distributed loads; flexible or rigid case goods, bagged goods or block-type loads   Single or multiple concentrated loads – barrels, drums, steel coils     


What PDS© can do for your customers:

  • Enhance pallet performance.
  • Enhance product protection.
  • Improve safety for workers throughout the supply chain.
  • Reduce material handling costs.
  • Help them recognize your company as a unit load consultant and partner.


“When you use PDS©, you have over 20 years of research and development supporting your pallet.”  Marshall White, Ph.D., Director William H. Sardo, Jr. Pallet & Container Testing Laboratory


Version 3.35


NWPCA is pleased to announce extraordinary innovations to what is  already recognized as the wood packaging industry’s leading marketing  and design tool. PDS© has a new version, 3.35, with features that will  expand your ability to serve your customers and attract new ones:

  • Custom load types – users can select different custom load types  such as boxes, bulk boxes, bags, bulk bags, pails and blocks for better  wood pallet designs and more accurate performance predictions.
  • Box stacking pattern – single layer, column stacked and interlocked  stacked boxes can be selected for better design and more accurate  analyses.
  • Load stabilizer – the effects of stretch or shrink wrap and  horizontal and vertical banding on load flexibility have been  incorporated. Vertical banding can either be perpendicular or parallel  to pallet length.
  • Load-bridging response – long-term creep tests were incorporated in this version to quantify load-bridging response over time.
  • Copyright statement – new copyright language has been added to PDS©  output to provide more legal protection to all leaseholders.
  • Watermark – a translucent mark with company name and license number can now be printed onto all PDS© output.
  • A simplified grading specification for pallet components – the new  grading system will replace the current 18 grades in PDS©. The objective  is to have only one set of pallet component grade that is independent  of species and geographical region.

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