Pallet Design System™

About the Pallet Design System™ (PDS)

From their first use in the 1920s, wooden pallets have played a critical role in the world economy. Every day, there are an estimated two billion pallets in the United States alone, with 80 percent of all U.S. commerce carried on wooden pallets.

To better understand pallet design and its load, the National Wooden Pallet and Container Association (NWPCA) helped found the Pallet and Container Laboratory on Virginia Tech’s campus in 1976.

In 1984, the Pallet Design System™ (PDS) Version 1.0 was released, and it was the culmination of reliability-based design and methodology created by researchers. Every year, each new version of PDS incorporates the latest data, engineering, and technologies, which result from NWPCA’s ongoing commitment to research and development. Tens of millions of dollars have been expended on PDS, not only for software development but also in research toward increased understanding of the relationships between the design and performance of wood pallets and the entire unit load.

The NWPCA and the Pallet Foundation invest heavily to stay on top of relevant trends that advance safety in the supply chain and encourage the reuse and conservation of materials. Packaging professionals can create and explore design options and get instant, accurate engineering analyses with the software.

“I think the greatest asset of PDS is our ability to use it internally, so from a quality standpoint we can put something in front of our builders and our workers, and they know exactly what we need, down to the number of nails, the types of nails we are using, the type of wood, the thickness of the wood,” commented Steve Yelland, JFR Holdings.

A few years ago, PDS even received a nod from the USDA BioPreferred Program®, certifying that PDS meets the strict requirements of the USDA program and allows PDS-users into the program.

Today, PDS software is known as the international standard of pallet design. Since 2018, PDS has added several new languages to its user interface, along with 20 new international wood species. The ability to use PDS in Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish, along with regional sourcing for design and print specifications of wood packaging, has dramatically increased the efficiency of pallet production and workforces, at the global level.

PDS helps with pallet production by taking away the guesswork out of the deck board placement on a custom pallet, which significantly helps in the quality control phase. Customers see a significant reduction in product damage and increased safety throughout the unit load handling system.

The Pallet Design System™ (PDS) helps with overall pallet performance so that goods can continue to move around the world, safely and sustainably. PDS is just one project of the Pallet Foundation. Learn more about all the projects of the Pallet Foundation.

The Pallet Design System helps with overall pallet performance so that goods can continue to move around the world, safely and sustainably.

A Sampling of PDS Projects

unaka forest products
pallet design system

The Pallet Design System™ (PDS) is the proprietary software program of the National Wooden Pallet and Container Association and is federally registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. Pallet Design System™ is a trademark of the National Wooden Pallet and Container Association.