500 Park Blvd. Suite 145 • Itasca, IL 60143
Phone: 914.376.5444 | Toll Free: 877.227.7326 | Fax: 914.376.7376


Gary Frantz
925.594.1434 | gary@gnfcomms.com

PECO Pallet Completes Rollout of Vision-X System for Automated Pallet Inspection

  • Sophisticated technology utilizes 3D imaging, high-resolution cameras, lasers to automate pallet inspection.
  • Custom-built system employs machine learning, artificial intelligence to improve inspection speed, accuracy.
  • Identifies individual pallet maintenance needs, prioritizes repair tasks and work streams for employees to improve safety, productivity, overall pallet quality.

ITASCA, IL – APRIL 27, 2023 — PECO Pallet, Inc. (PECO), one of North America’s largest providers of rental pallet services, has completed the rollout of Vision X, a sophisticated, new technology system which automates the pallet inspection process and improves accuracy, efficiency and quality of pallet repair and maintenance activities.

PECO Pallet operates North America’s second largest pallet rental network with some 90 pallet depots managing an inventory of over 23 million of its signature red, high-quality 9-block pallets. The new automated inspection system has been deployed at key PECO maintenance depots. After pallets are returned, inspected, and refurbished they are reissued to customers.

Pallets typically are returned in an unknown state of specification compliance, with various levels of maintenance and repair needs, noted Joe Medeiros, PECO’s Senior Director of Operations Excellence. The objective of Vision X was four-fold:

  • Develop a technology solution that would reliably improve accuracy of the existing manual, human inspection defect detection by 10x,
  • Replace a complex and time-consuming manual pallet sorting workflow that often mis-identified pallet condition and repair needs,
  • Reduce repetitive tasks to free up employee time for more value-added activities, and,
  • Improve inspection speed, efficiency, and quality, enabling more pallets to be properly inspected and repaired in less time, increasing pallet inventory available to clients.

“We identified greater than 500 individual defects that can occur with a pallet,” noted Medeiros. From a material handling perspective, a typical PECO pallet weighs 65 pounds, with each pallet having 26 boards, 9 blocks and 138 nails. “It was very difficult to address those in an efficient and accurate manner and we knew that increasing defect detection would be paramount to the success of the project,” he said.

Medeiros added, “We built the technology with the ability to identify an anomaly within the thickness of a human hair. It is similar to what automobile manufacturers use to inspect cars for defects as they leave the factory.”

Vision X can conduct a full pallet inspection and convey the pallet to its designated location within 6 seconds, whereas a manual inspection could take up to one minute. Vision X also produces a pallet-specific, detailed set of repair instructions, and automatically routes the pallet to the specialist trained for that type of repair.

Vision X has also improved workplace ergonomics for employees who formerly spent time lifting and moving pallets manually. “We were able to redesign the workflow and incorporate material handling and conveyance equipment to eliminate several manual handling steps, reducing risk of injury or strain. That improved throughput while creating a safer work environment for our employees,” Medeiros noted.

One last benefit was a new database of pallet condition trends that came from the system. “We can pull data and drill down into the condition of pallets and their maintenance needs,” Medeiros explained. “Then we can go back, share our findings, and help adjust work practices to reduce damage. Ultimately, that helps us turn pallets faster for the customer while keeping repair costs in check – which is a win-win for both.”

Ultimately, Vision X has significantly improved inspection precision, exceeding the accuracy of repair operators by more than ten times, thereby considerably decreasing the need for rework to rectify any overlooked defects or damages.

Pallets are the primary platform on which businesses stack, secure and ship products of all types in trucks, intermodal rail containers, and other conveyance vehicles. PECO’s signature red pallets are used by the nation’s big-box retailers, club stores, consumer products companies, grocers and other businesses, shipping pallet-loads of goods to thousands of businesses every day across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

About PECO Pallet, Inc. – Itasca, IL-based PECO Pallet is the North American leader in pallet rental services and provides tens of millions of its red block pallets to major grocery and consumer goods manufacturers in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. PECO Pallet’s tremendous growth over the last 25+ years reflects the company’s commitment to quality and service. Customers using PECO’s superior pallets experience less product damage, greater efficiency, improved safety, and significant cost savings. For more information about PECO Pallet, please visit pecopallet.com.

Half of a pallet vertically positioned
dark wood grained background image