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DOST-FPRDI’s HT technology boosts PH pallet industry

The heat treatment (HT) technology developed by the Department of Technology (DOST) Forest Products Research and Development Institute FPRDI) has boosted the Philippines’ pallet industry to meet global standards.

DOST-Public Affairs, Relations and Communications Unit (PARCU) Calabarzon Region, in a report released Saturday, said the heat treatment (HT) technology is now used by 12 pallet makers in Southern Tagalog. They also provide HT services to other pallet producers and exporting companies based in the area.

The report said that the International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) No. 15 was enforced in 2002, mandating the makers of wooden packaging materials to sterilize their pallets and crates. The mode of sterilizing is either thru heat treatment (HT) or methyl bromide (MB) fumigation as insect pests and diseases coming from other countries are known to have caused environmental disasters in the US.

It stated that in Northeastern and Midwestern America, these agents of destruction – though very, very small - have invaded forests and wiped out entire species of trees in a matter of decades.

Philippine pallet makers opted to use DOST-FPRDI’s HT technology to treat pallets- flat transport structures used for shipping goods around the world- in compliance with ISPM regulations.

“Compared to methyl bromide or MB, HT is a safer and cheaper way to fumigate wooden packaging materials. High MB levels are known to cause deaths and are very harmful to the ozone layer,” the report quoted Wency H. Carmelo of DOST-FPRDI.

“HT, on the other hand, is non-toxic and about 50 percent cheaper than MB treatment. MB also makes wood pallets non-recyclable,” she added.

Accordingly, all insects and infectious organisms infesting the wood are killed, no matter what their life stage is when heated in the furnace-type dryer with a computerized data logger for 30 minutes at 56 ˚C minimum temperature setting.

The report also said that that ACE + FA Enterprises in Cabuyao City in this province, reported a saving of almost PHP 80,000 a month after it stopped renting the HT services of another firm and started using its own. It is now an accredited HT provider while another pallet maker also in Cabuyao City was able to save at least 100,00 board feet of lumber from sure decay with the HT facility.

Another firm, Suri Pallets, Inc. increased its output from 100 to 500 pallets per day when DOST FPRDI renovated the firm’s machine with low cost design HT System.

“We are happy that DOST-FPRDI’s heat treatment technology is an export industry enabler and promotes for our pallet makers a safer and cheaper way to comply with global standards,” Carmelo said.

Zen Trinidad / PNA