ACE + FA Enterprises, a Laguna-based maker of wooden pallets, has been saving around P 80,000 a month for one year now.

How were they able to do this? It stopped renting the services of another company and now uses its own low-cost heat treatment facility (LHTF) to disinfect its pallets.

Designed by the Department of Science and Technology’s Forest Products Research and Development Institute (DOST-FPRDI), the LHTF provides the heat needed to kill insects and other pests infesting wood packaging materials such as wooden pallets.

The technology is a clear manifestation of DOST Sec. Mario G. Montejo’s motto,  “Local technology works.”  

Said Montejo, “Filipino scientists have the capability to innovate and produce excellent and cost-efficient products, including those used by enterprises to upgrade their operations and production processes.”

Advantages of LHTF

Wood packaging materials are commonly used in shipping goods around the globe as they are cheaper than plastic and metal containers. However, those made of raw wood are prone to pest attacks and can introduce and spread pests from one country to another.

In 2002, the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) adopted the Guidelines for Regulating Wood Packaging Material in International Trade or the ISPM 15, which requires all wood packaging materials to go through heat treatment or methyl bromide fumigation before they can be stamped with the IPPC seal.

“Heat treatment using the LHTF is a safe way to get IPPC marks for wooden pallets,” said FPRDI Director Dr. Romulo T. Aggangan.  “Methyl bromide fumigation, the traditional way of controlling pests possibly carried by shipping containers, is 60 times more damaging to the ozone layer than chlorine. It is blamed for 5-10% of worldwide ozone depletion and makes wood non-recyclable.

“Exposure to high methyl bromide levels has resulted in a number of human deaths. Meanwhile, heat treatment does nothing to harm the environment. This is why many logistics companies worldwide now prefer it over using methyl bromide,” Aggangan stated.

According to Wency H. Carmelo, senior science research specialist at FPRDI, heat treatment requires that the pallet blocks’ wood core be treated at 56°C for at least 30 minutes. “An FPRDI study revealed that the average heat treatment time is five hours which will only cost P6.68 per pallet when using a 10,000-board foot-capacity LHTF,” he added. ”This is 46% cheaper than methyl bromide fumigation.”

Now, ACE + FA Enterprises is an accredited heat treatment provider by the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Plant Industry.

Since 2003, nine pallet manufacturers which use the FPRDI facility have passed the Bureau of Product Standards and are now accredited heat treatment providers. Among the first of such companies was Adtek Co., which treated ACE + FA’s wooden pallets before the latter decided to have its own dryer.

The surge in demand for local pallets began with the onset of global industrialization in the late 1990s. In 2009, the Southern Tagalog Region alone accounted for at least 30 pallet makers which produced a total of 2,000 pallets a day.
“With FPRDI’s help to the pallet industry, we not only help keep a greener earth, we also offer to our clients a safer and cheaper way to get IPPC stamps and keep their businesses growing,” Carmelo concluded.

To know more about our low-cost heat treatment facility and other FPRDI technologies, contact FPRDI at  (+6349)536-2586/ 536-2360/536-2377) or visit the FPRDI booth at the National Science and Technology Week, SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City on July 24-28, 2015. Free admission.  You may also visit or like us on Facebook  at nstw2015. (S&T Media Service)

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Low-cost heat treatment facility

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