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Indiana Recycling Company Expands into Grinding Markets: Millerís Wood Specialties Forms New Unit, Buys West Salem Machinery Grinder
Indiana recycling company expands into grinding markets; Millerís Wood Specialties invests in West Salem Machinery grinder, creates new business unit.

By Donna Gordon Blankinship
Date Posted: 8/1/2005

CAMBRIDGE CITY, Indiana ó An Indiana pallet recycling business is venturing into grinding. Millerís Wood Specialties Inc. has created a new business unit, Millerís Wood Recycling Inc., which is devoted to grinding scrap pallets and other wood waste material into mulch, boiler fuel and animal bedding.

The new venture coincides with the recent decision by Robert Miller, 27, to rejoin the pallet business founded by
his parents, Joe and Cathie Miller. Upon his return, the Millers decided to invest in a West Salem Machinery portable grinder that is the workhorse of the new
business unit.

Joe and Cathie began Millerís Wood Specialties over 25 years ago. It has grown from a part-time project to a family business that now employs about 50 people full-time, including their daughter, Amber Lucas, and Joeís brother, Paul. Repairing used wood pallets is the companyís bread and butter. However, the business also manufactures new pallets, crates, boxes and specialty skids from new and recycled lumber. The company also has heat-treating capabilities for customers that need wood pallets and crates for export shipments overseas.

Millerís Wood Specialties has about 200 customers, ranging from local machine shops to international auto manufacturers. "Most of our customers are located in Indiana and Ohio," Cathie observed. "However, we have been known to travel into Illinois, Michigan and Kentucky."

A routine day for the Millerís Wood Specialties includes removing scrap pallets, cardboard and waste wood materials from a customerís facility via van or flatbed trailers. They are taken to Millerís and are sorted by material and size. The pallets are disassembled or repaired, depending on the quality. Cardboard is baled for recycling, and wood waste is taken to the new West Salem Machinery grinder.

The company buys new lumber in random sizes and resaws it to appropriate lengths and widths with a Baker Products single-head band resaw and a Brewer Inc.-Golden Eagle two-head band resaw. The new stock is used to build pallets, boxes, crates and skids or is combined with recycled lumber to repair damaged pallets for resale.

Millerís Wood Specialties inventories common pallet sizes, such as 42x42, 48x40, 48x42, 48x45 and 48x48, in order to be able to provide Ďsame-dayí deliveries for customers that need pallets quickly. "We benefit by having the space available to inventory our products for our customers," said Robert. "It allows us to provide quality service along with a quality product."

For the past five or six years Millerís Wood Specialties has been hauling scrap wood to other businesses for grinding. "We were shipping three to four loads a week when we decided to purchase a grinder of our own," said Robert. "It just made sense. It freed up trucking, added a valuable product, and allowed us to chase extra work."

The companyís 50,000-square-foot building is located on about 20 acres on the edge of Cambridge City, Indiana, a small town about an hourís drive east of Indianapolis. The new grinder is set up on the companyís yard.

The Millers decided to buy the new West Salem Machinery Brute 3456BH portable hogging system for several reasons. As a horizontal-style grinder, it had all the features they were looking for in a grinder and an important additional benefit ó training and support from West Salem Machinery, which is based in Salem, Ore.

"We needed the ability to grind a variety of shapes and sizes of wood material, so it was important to have an in-feed system capable of handling everything from board end trims to whole pallets and large crates," Robert acknowledged. "The heavy-duty rubber in-feed belt provides that flexibility."

The grinderís Caterpillar diesel engine produces 630 hp, more than enough for Millerís Wood Recycling to quickly grind all its wood waste. "I wanted to make sure we had room to grow with this machine," said Robert. "This will allow us the opportunity to expand our operations at Millerís Wood Specialties or perhaps cross over into other wood waste markets."

"I looked at other horizontal grinders," Robert added. "I was really impressed with West Salem Machineryís engineering. The accessibility to the parts requiring maintenance is outstanding, and the overall industrial strength of the machine is second to none."

Another feature the Millers determined was necessary in a grinder was the ability to load the machine with equipment they already had. "With the purchase of a large piece of equipment such as this, we didnít want to have to invest in other pieces of equipment right away," said Robert. "Our grinder allows us to safely load the wood waste material with a standard forklift or skid steer loader."

The West Salem Machinery Brute is available in various sizes and includes either a chain or rubber belt in-feed system. All West Salem Machinery portable hogs include a fluid clutch and overload protection software. A pivoting out-feed conveyor is available with optional dual magnets to remove scrap metal. The machine can be adjusted to produce different size grindings. The hog can grind at different speeds, the hammer pattern can be changed, there are multiple types of hammer tips, and screen sizes vary, depending on the desired size of the finished grindings. "With this machine, I am able to consistently produce the size of material necessary for our variety of products," noted Joe.

Millerís Wood Specialties is equipped with a Viking Champion nailing machine for automated assembly of some pallets. Additional pallet assembly, pallet repairs, and building crates, containers and skids are done with Stanley-Bostitch power nailing tools and fasteners.

The companyís cut-up operations also are equipped with a Brewer cut-off saw. All saw blades, circular and band blades, are supplied by Country Saw & Knife.

In its recycling operations, the company has an Automated Machine Systems pallet repair line. Smart Products bandsaw dismantlers and a Hy-Flex Corp. dismantler are used for disassembling pallets, and a Smart trim saw cuts recycled lumber to length. Eagle Metal Products platers and Pallet Repair Systems plates are used to repair and reinforce damaged stringers.

The future looks good for Millerís Wood Specialties and Millerís Wood Recycling. They are erecting more buildings and developing more of their land. As they continue to grow, it is evident that they will continue to try to maintain a balance with the environment and community.

"We try to find a use for everything that comes in our doors," explained Robert. "Some times it takes a little more work, but we would like to find a use for the material rather than throwing it away. We have even been known to give away our scrap wood to help our neighbors heat their homes and fuel their campsites. Weíre not trying to be the biggest; weíre just trying to be the best."

WSMís Brute Built Rugged, Smart

West Salem Machineryís (WSM) Brute Portable Wood Recycler is a rugged, portable machine. It is also smart, thanks to fully proportional hydraulic controls and programmable logic that maintain a consistent feed to the grinder for maximum production.

The ĎIntelli-feedí system is combined with WSMís mill duty design and construction, including hydraulic pivoting grinder housing for easy and safe maintenance access, and heavy duty disc-type rotor with interchangeable tooling, which allows for different hammer types and configurations.

WSM has 50 years of experience in the design and manufacture of hundreds of grinding and screening installations. The companyís extensive experience, combined with a complete line of grinding and screening equipment, allows WSM to work closely with customers to determine the best equipment for each unique application. There is no Ďone machineí that can do it all - the applications vary greatly, and it is important to be able to select the best tool for a given job.

Rugged construction, innovative design features, and outstanding performance deliver machinery value to WSM customers, which range from small independent owner-operators to the largest national corporations.

To learn more about WSMís complete line of rugged, reliable grinding and screening equipment, call the company at (800) 722-3530, fax (503) 364-1398, e-mail sales@westsalem.com, or see the Web site at www.westsalem.com.

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