Transport packaging company Kimmo is driving the industry to switch to paper pallets as alternatives to the usual wooden and plastic pallets. The company manufactures paper pallets using honeycomb fibreboard in South Africa.
According to the founder of Kimmo Jan Vreken, he discovered honeycomb fibreboard technology when he started manufacturing corrugated pallets back in 2005. In 2013, the company decided to invest in honeycomb fibreboard technology in order to achieve maximum rigidity in the top decks of its pallets. “After a substantial amount of research and proto-typing, we set up a 4 500 m2 plant in Johannesburg to manufacture KimmoBoard, an incredibly strong, lightweight fibreboard,” he adds.
“Today, all our pallet decks are made from KimmoBoard and we have extended this functionality to our flagship product range, the KimmoBin – essentially a fibreboard crate that provides a viable and cost-effective alternative to wooden crates.”
Kimmo says the KimmoBoard is ideally suitable for the heavy-duty bulk packaging industry because of the adoption of the honeycomb fibreboard technology. The technology is further used to produce a full range of products, such as KimmoPallets, KimmoPalletBoxes and KimmoBins.
KimmoBoard offers a compressive strength of 16 t/m2, ensuring excellent rigidity and protection properties, allowing these products to endure impact and high loads. Its light weight makes Kimmo products easy to transport and move and can provide considerable transport cost savings – particularly for air freight.
Another advantage of KimmoBoard, as opposed to wood, is that it is ISPM-15 compliant. When products are exported in wooden packaging, ISPM-15 requires the wooden packaging to be debarked and then heat treated or fumigated with methyl bromide in order to prevent the risk of pests and insects spreading between countries.
“Treating wooden pallets is an expense and can cause complications as heat treating the wood can make it brittle and weak, while fumigating wood with methyl bromide is also undesirable. Methyl bromide is a highly toxic, ozone depleting material and cannot be used to treat pallets used to transport food and pharmaceuticals. It is corrosive to the skin and eyes and has an unpleasant mouldy odour,” explains Vreken.
Further, he mentions KimmoBoard provides outstanding value for its level of strength and rigidity. It is also environment-friendly because it is made from recyclable material and is non-toxic. While legislation with regard to recycling is starting to pick up pace in South Africa, there are a number of laws in Europe that already focus on the recycling of packaging.
According to Vreken, a third-party recycler typically disposes waste to different waste streams. When transporting product using corrugated boxes and wooden pallets, it becomes a difficulty to separate the wood and paper into two waste streams. There is a further complication if the wooden pallets have been carrying hazardous products or have been treated with methyl bromide as these products can be absorbed by the wood and provide a huge risk to anyone who uses the wood afterwards. “It therefore makes sense to use our products and form one waste stream – saving time, money and the environment,” says Vreken.
Owing to the innovative nature of KimmoBoard and the Kimmo packaging products manufactured from the board, the products are initially met with some scepticism, says Vreken.
“The shortcoming of KimmoBoard is that people associate it with paper. You cannot compare KimmoBoard with normal cardboard, it is far more comparable in terms of performance and strength to wood. It is often underestimated and takes our customers by surprise in terms of performance and strength. I truly believe that KimmoBoard is an exciting product that has the ability to revolutionise the packaging industry,” he points out.
While Kimmo’s core business resides in packaging, KimmoBoard has other applications like dry walling, sound- proofing, ceiling parts, point of sale and furniture. “This provides a myriad of opportunities and can further contribute towards building a thriving local economy and making a difference in the lives of ordinary South Africans. Currently, Kimmo is staying true to its culture of innovation by exploring these applications,” concludes Vreken.