“One of our first customers, Luxembourg-based airfreight company Cargolux, recorded a weight saving of 1,200 tons in the first year,” he adds. Another customer stated that they were able to reduce the sick leave of their employees by around a third. This is because those who work with squAIR-timber have much less to lift. If an employee assembles 20 or 30 ULDs per day, they have 120 kilos less to carry per pallet. This has an impact. “It is therefore not surprising that employees’ back problems and injuries caused by splinters of wood have also decreased significantly,” Langemann adds. And last but not least, the monetary savings are not inconsiderable: Langemann thinks it is realistic to expect savings of several million euros per year.
According to Trilatec, squAIR-timber is just as strong and robust as conventional beams. The material’s high compressive, impact and tensile strength is based on the carbon principle. This involves laminating the material together under pressure with adhesive joints – the result is a carbon-like material that is extremely strong and resistant. “This is why the material is also water-resistant and ideal for replacing squared timber,” says Langemann. One large airline has tried leaving squAIR-timber outside for months where it was exposed to wind and weather, and confirmed that the test was successful.
With squared beams made of cardboard, ULDs can be stacked a little higher and right up to the edges without covering up the anchor points. Goods can be secured with nets using the hooks on the sides. To ensure that these remain accessible, wooden beams are still used for the base of ULDs when they are assembled, but squAIR-timbers are increasingly being incorporated as well. With the help of slave pallets – conveying elements equipped with a few rows of rollers – heavy air freight goods can then be loaded quickly and flexibly into the belly of the aircraft.
All the material used in production is 100 percent recycled paper. But although the Trilatec product is lighter, stronger and very robust, it is always compared with wood. “At the moment, the price of wood is at rock bottom, and not just because of the hot summer and the bark beetle situation. There is simply too much wood on the market,” he explains. This means that used europallets, for example, are available for three or four euros. “We are measured by this and therefore we hardly make a margin on squAIR-timber, although we should charge three times the price to be able to work profitably,” says Langmann.
Photos: Trilatec, Pixabay [M]