Industrial Pallet Corporation Teams With Baker Products to Improve Its Remington, Ind. Plant
Industrial Pallet Corp., a growing full service pallet company, provides a full spectrum of products and services for its particularly quality conscious customers. Its new Baker lumber cutup line has improved its lumber manufacturing efficiency.
By Dr. Ed Brindley
Date Posted: 11/1/2011
Remington, Indiana – The pallet industry is an interesting entrepreneurial industry. During the early 1990s, after working with the pallet industry for about 15 years, I sometimes wondered if new pallet manufacturing had matured. Could companies that manufacture new pallets look forward to a market where new pallet demand had leveled out? Would all or most of our growth be in recycled and repaired pallets of various kinds? I suspected the answers to these questions might be Yes! Industrial Pallet (IP) is one of the pallet companies that has proven my suspicion to be wrong. It was founded in 1986. It has grown steadily to about $45 million in sales and has four manufacturing locations.
Industrial Pallet (IP) has plants in Remington, Ind. about 90 miles from both Chicago and Indianapolis, Clarks Hill, Ind., Mitchell, Ind., and Greencastle, Penn. The total company employs about 400 people. The company focuses on full service and support of its customers. Its locations both manufacture new pallets and recycle pallets. A full-time sales staff and in-house service personnel follow orders through the whole process. A 24-hour Emergency Response Team serves its customers by taking their orders, arranging deliveries by company trucks, and handling problems that surface.
IP’s four locations serve the full spectrum covered by pallet companies. As a full service pallet company, Industrial Pallet has heat treatment capabilities in multiple locations.
IP has pioneered its MoldGuard product, a unique effort for a pallet company. The company worked with a chemist for a few years to develop this product. Mold is a particularly important issue for them because their customers ship quite a bit of product overseas. Industrial Pallet designed MoldGuard and an application system to reduce concerns over mold on pallets. The company says, “Our system ensures 100% pallet coverage. The chemical solution has the appropriate EPA and FDA labeling for wood in contact with food, vegetables, and other foodstuffs.”
Mike Gentry, plant manager at the Remington plant, said, “Our business has not been off as much during this recession as most pallet companies. We keep growing. Our quality and service are the main reasons. We are able to get them pallets when they want them. We have gone over eleven years at Remington without a late delivery.
Industrial Pallet incorporates computers as much as possible to improve products, service, and efficiency. They do quite a bit on web design, including designing pallets on the PDS pallet design system.
The Remington plant, featured here, concentrates on cutting pallet lumber from cants and manufacturing new pallets of a wide variety of sizes and specifications.
Clarks Hill IP makes new pallets and recycles pallets. It focuses on grinding scrap material into mulch and coloring mulch. We wrote a feature story on the Clarks Hill plant in September 2009. It focused heavily on Industrial Pallet’s mulch and wood fiber production, featuring its Rotochopper grinders.
The Mitchell plant is a scragg mill that cuts pallet stock for the Clarks Hill plant.
The Greencastle, Penn. plant concentrates solely on pallet recycling.
To handle delivery of pallets, lumber, and logs, IP has its own fleet (AFC Logistics Inc.) of some 30 plus tractors and over 250 trailers, including drop trailers to retrieve pallet cores.
Industrial Pallets vertical integration for better management control is more extensive than many pallet companies. In addition to its own vehicle fleet, IP has a number of important items under its control and ownership, including a scragg mill, multiple pallet assembly locations with unique focuses, standing tracts of timber, full-time sales and service force, logging crews, full-time service department, and customized systems for pallet tracking, accountability and inventory control.
IP indicates that its attention to detail assures customers of on-time deliveries, high quality levels, competitive pricing, short lead-times, and efficient response to concerns.
At its Remington, Ind. plant, Industrial Pallet has used Baker sawing machinery since it was founded in 1986 by Jon Schwab. Jay Wiegand, CFO, and Rob Meister, president and CEO, assumed control of Industrial Pallet in 1999. Mike Gentry, the Remington plant manager for 22 years, said, “We have had a Baker saw since I came to work in 1989. We moved from a single head to a double head and now a new cutup system. A new Baker cutup system was installed about a year ago. I am very happy with our decision. Our Baker cutup system has brought us benefits. Going to band blades has brought tremendous kerf savings. We used to make stringers on a circular gangrip and decking on a double-head bandsaw. Now we cut all of our lumber on bandsaws to make 3200 new pallets a day at Remington.”
At Remington cants are cut to length on a Pendu cutoff saw, are transferred down a 60” roller style infeed roll-case where cants are automatically transferred to either a Baker ABX single-head sizer or a Baker BX double-head sizer with return. They size each cant to the required dimension. The BX double sizer can cut a board on the first saw and size the resulting cant on the second.
A 39 foot 4-strand lateral transfer conveyor with pop-up rolls transfers the cants to one of two identical Baker four-head C model resaws with returns and rear deburring heads. Since the resaw system has two four-head Baker resaws, it can be set up to cut two different sizes simultaneously or run both on the same size material if needed. This system is set up to be flexible and versatile. Change over time is minimal. Stringer material is typically finished by one pass of a cant through the resaw system. The two returns make it possible to process as many deck boards as a cant will yield.
Each of the two lines has a Baker deduster at the end. Dust free pallets is one of the features that Industrial Pallet uses to sell its products and services. It runs its lumber through a Baker deduster. It also uses air nozzles that are mounted on its nailers. As a finished pallet enters the pallet stacker, air nozzles spray forced air to remove any remaining dust.
After being dedusted, finished pallet lumber is stacked on Pendu automatic stackers. Lumber is single fed by a chain with dogs up on a level table. One person pulls out any poor quality material and stickers the different layers. They do not band their palletized stock.
Every pallet stock manufacturing facility has to deal with material that needs to be reworked if they want to get the maximum value from their incoming cants. At the Remington plant, Industrial Pallet Corp. uses a Baker A single-head that is a versatile machine for some of this work. IP uses a Baker double-head resaw as its principle machine for cleanup recover work; a third Baker deduster follows this two-headed machine.
Mike Gentry is happy with his relatively new Baker cut-up line. Having quality lumber is a necessary step in building high quality pallets for particular customers.
The notching and chamfering at the Remington location are still done on stand alone machines. Their Brewer double-head notcher notches stringers from 32” up to 102” long; they chamfer decking when needed on an old Hazledine chamfering machine.
The Remington plant is a job shop that manufactures pallets of all sizes and specifications, from 20 inches up to 120 inches long. They build some 5-10% of their pallets on tables, but most are manufactured on three Viking Champion 304As.
Mike said, “We use Mid Continent Nail bulk nails. They are very good people to work with. Their nails are great – very high quality. We like buying U.S. manufactured products when we can. Others have tried to get our business, but we have not found them to be the same quality. If we have a nail problem, Mid Continent takes care of it immediately.
Hand nailing is done with Senco tools. Hahn Systems supplies the guns, service, and collated nails.
As stated above, Industrial Pallet specializes in providing a full service pallet spectrum for its customers. Mike said, “To be competitive we have to provide a complete service. Our services are self contained.” They apply mold treatment every day for about a half dozen customers. Two customers buy mold treated block pallets.
Industrial Pallet has used a Kiln Direct heat treating system for about five years. He has found the people at Kiln Direct to be very competent and pleasant to work with. Their heat treating chamber, which they put together themselves, will hold about a load and a half of pallets; they heat treat about 60% of their production.
At the Remington location, they sell their sawdust for livestock bedding and turn their scrap pieces into colored mulch.
The management staff at Remington includes Mike Gentry, plant manager; Travis Reader who handles logistics; Rick Hall, who buys lumber and processes pallet orders; and Lloyd Pelfree and Josh Gentry in sales.
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