A stainless steel sculpture of a globe resting on a pallet in front of the William H. Sardo, Jr. Pallet and Container Research Laboratory on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Va.

The $85,000 pallet artwork, weighing five tons, is dedicated to those who have had a very important impact through research and development on the wood pallet. Pallets save every citizen in the U.S. more than $5,000 every year by their materials handling efficiency.

Donna M. Phaneuf, AIA of VIA Design Architects, made the presentation/concept drawing of the sculpture from which further studies and shop drawings were made by Globe Iron Construction of Norfolk, Va. Larry Reece of Globe Iron was instrumental in taking the concept drawings and making the sculpture contractible.  Raymond Moore and Marty Schribel of Circle M Contracting made the sculpture. Funds for the design, construction, and installation of the sculpture came from private donations. 

BLACKSBURG, Sept. 7, 2002 - One of the few outdoor sculpture pieces on the Blacksburg campus of Virginia Tech, the "Pallets Move the World" sculpture is on permanent display at the entrance of the College of Natural Resource's Brooks Forest Products Center, across from the Blacksburg airport.

To commemorate the visionary leaders who created the world's only pallet lab, the William H. Sardo Jr. Pallet and Container Research Laboratory at Virginia Tech's Forest Products Center designed a stainless steel sculpture of a world globe on a pallet. The $85,000 pallet artwork, weighing five tons, is dedicated to those who have had a very important impact through research and development on the wood pallet. Pallets save every citizen in the U.S. more than $5,000 every year by their materials handling efficiency.

Donna M. Phaneuf, AIA of VIA Design Architects, made the presentation/concept drawing of the sculpture from which further studies and shop drawings were made by Globe Iron Construction of Norfolk, Va. Larry Reece of Globe Iron was instrumental in taking the concept drawings and making the sculpture contractible.  Raymond Moore and Marty Schribel of Circle M Contracting made the sculpture. Funds for the design, construction, and installation of the sculpture came from private donations.

Pallets move the world. Over 500 million pallets are manufactured in the U.S. every year. Over 90 percent of these pallets are made out of solid wood. Pallet manufacture is the largest use of hardwood lumber produced in the U.S. It is estimated that on any given day, 1.8 to 1.9 billion pallets are in use in the nation - storing and distributing products. The wood fiber use in wood pallets combined with the wood fiber use in corrugated containers make the combined usage for storage and distribution of consumer and industrial products in wood boxes and pallets the largest single use of wood fiber in the U.S.

Virginia Tech's Pallet and Container Research Laboratory is the only laboratory in the world focusing exclusively on the structural design and performance of pallets. The primary goal of the lab is to improve the efficiency of movement of consumer and industrial goods, to improve the utilization of standing timber, and to improve the safety of the workplace. Because pallets are load-bearing structures, improperly designed pallets can cause injuries and death.

Much of the research at the lab focuses on the use of pallets and reducing our dependency on wood fiber. The lab studies pallets made of alternative materials such as plastic and metal, as substitutes. In addition, the pallet lab develops techniques for repairing and refurbishing wood pallets to extend their life. There are roughly 2500 to 3000 pallet manufacturers in the U.S. These manufacturers produce almost the equivalent number of pallets as is produced throughout the western European continent.

The "Pallets Move the World" sculpture seeks to honor four visionaries. Thomas N. De Pew and William H. Sardo Jr., past president and executive vice president of the National Wooden Pallet and Container Association (NWPCA) and Dr. Walter B. Wallin, research scientist with the USDA Forest Container Research Laboratory, led the effort to establish the Pallet and Container Research Laboratory. The late E. George Stern is also remembered. The world-renowned wood construction professor set international standards for construction. As the Earle B. Norris Research Professor Emeritus of Wood Construction in Virginia Tech's wood products department, he was the first director of the Pallet Research Laboratory in 1976.

The Pallet and Container Research Laboratory has created a close relationship between local, state, and federal government agencies. This unique relationship between the private sector of the NWPCA, Virginia Tech, and the USDA Forest Service continues to support and further lab functions.

From "College of Natural Resources" web page

 

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