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Pallet Chief Manufacturing Penetrates Market Further with Pallet Chief IV Tandem Nailing System
Pallet Chief: Pallet Chief Manufacturing, a supplier of nailing machines and stackers, has added the more automated tandem Pallet Chief IV to its line of nailing machines.

By Staff Writer
Date Posted: 12/1/1999

palletchieflogo.jpg (30761 bytes)

Penetrates Market Further with
Pallet Chief VI Tandem Nailing System

palletchief1.jpg (30136 bytes)SYLACAUGA, Ala. —‘Shiners’ — those nails protruding from sides of stringers on a finishedpallet — are a common problem in the pallet industry. Not only are they dangerous andugly, but they are unacceptable to the customer.

In the 1980s, shiners had become such a problem for partners BarryLanders and Rudy White in their own pallet manufacturing company that some pallets werebeing refused on delivery. It’s very easy to understand how costly ‘returnedpallets’ can be if you are a pallet manufacturer.

Barry and Rudy were forced to provide a solution to the problem or losegood pallet customers. They had explored the market place for a suitable nailing machinethat would eliminate shiners and reduce labor costs as well. What they found was an evenbigger dilemma. Nailing machines either were very, very expensive or they were too slowand lacked versatility.

Drawing on their experience in building design and business management,they developed their own nailing machine. "I built the prototype in my shop athome," Barry recalled. "It wasn’t pretty at all, but when we tried it weknew our shiner problem was solved."

palletchief2.jpg (34494 bytes)They put the prototype to work and foundthat it also increased their production drastically. "We were so impressed, weapplied for and received the patent, built three more and put them to work," saidBarry. With Rudy’s encouragement, they decided to market the nailing machine theycalled the Pallet Chief. They felt that marketing the machine was best done bydemonstrating the machine itself. They took the Pallet Chief to the Kentucky Wood Expo inBowling Green, Kentucky.

"We received an outstanding response at the show," Rudyrecalled. "The simplicity of operating the Pallet Chief generated enormous excitementamong the attendees. The unique sound of the Pallet Chief drew a crowd duringdemonstrations. We built it simple, so it’s simple to operate and simple tomaintain."

Their company, Pallet Chief Manufacturing, now offers four standardnailing machine models. Pallet Chief nailers range in production from one pallet in twominutes to two pallets per minute. The machines, along with stackers of variousconfigurations, offer versatility and production unseen in the pallet industry for dollarsspent, according to Barry and Rudy.

"Sure, we have new things coming later," said Barry,"but we still design simple mechanical machines with no programmable logic controlsor computer components, and we already have machines to suit any pallet builder except forblock pallet builders. We also design and build specialty machines to handle almost anysize or configuration in pallets and skids. Special designs are about 30% of ourbusiness."

palletchief3.jpg (25452 bytes)Located in east-central Alabama, Barry andRudy consider themselves a low-profile company. "A no-frills company," saidRudy.

"With sales numbering over 400 units and parts sales at under $500per month, we must be building a very durable and dependable machine," said Barry."It’s good that we don’t depend on parts sales."

Wisconsin-based Superior Services bought a Pallet Chief III for itspallet division in 1998. Ron Hendrikson, operations manager, said the machine is used forassembling new pallets and also combination pallets — pallets made of a combinationof new and used parts. "We run it every day, so we’re real happy with it,"he said. The machine, used mainly to nail 48x40 pallets, produces a minimum of 300 per dayand has assembled up to 400, he said.

Ron saw the new Pallet Chief IV demonstrated at the recent MidwestForest Industry Show. While watching it build two pallets per minute, he was so impressedhe recently ordered the conversion package to convert his machine to a Pallet Chief IV.

The new Pallet Chief IV is a two-gantry nailing machine that can holdup to eight nailing tools. The first gantry nails the bottom deck boards. The machineautomatically advances the partly-assembled pallet and flips it to the second station sothat the top deck boards can be positioned. Nail placement is guided by a mechanicalmethod through the use of a proximity switch. "It’s very accurate anddependable," said Barry. The gantry never stops. "It fires on the fly."When the pallet is completed, it feeds into the company’s angled stacker.

palletchief4.jpg (28519 bytes)The machine can be run by two operators, oneat each gantry to position the pallet components. The Pallet Chief IV is designed toproduce about two pallets per minute. The standard Pallet Chief IV can build palletsranging from 34x34 to 48x48. The company will supply other versions to accommodatedifferent pallet sizes.

The Pallet Chief IV is a "big step, a big difference" for thecompany, Barry noted, because it is designed for high-volume production. "It’svery rare to find that production...for that kind of money."

"We still maintain the simplicity," Barry added."It’s really so simple to operate and maintain that practically anybody can doit." The maintenance required is no more than simple adjustments and service to powernailing tools that normally is performed by supplier representatives.

"We’re very pleased with the Pallet Chief IV," saidBarry. The machine is not expected to supplant or replace other Pallet Chief machinesbecause it is so different, he said. "We feel like the Pallet Chief IV is going tohave a strong impact in the industry."

Pallet Chief machines and systems range in price from $6,490 to$69,500. Special systems are priced per customer specifications.

Pallet Chief Manufacturing has a free video of its equipment. For more information,contact Pallet Chief Manufacturing at (800) 339-2925, fax (256) 249-4975, e-mail atpalletchiefsales@mindspring.com, or visit the Web site at www.palletchief.com.


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