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Jay Bird Manufacturing Co.Turns to Rayco for Pallet Nailing
Jay Bird Mfg., a manufacturer of a versatile line of pine forest products and panel products, has greatly increased its pallet production in response to customer requests. Jay Bird turns to Rayco for its nailing system expansion.

By Dr. Ed Brindley
Date Posted: 3/1/2012

Malvern, Arkansas—Jay Bird Manufacturing Co., Inc. of Malvern, Ark. isn’t your typical pallet company. Jay Bird is a wood products innovator whose core business over the last 20 years has been making component parts for many of the nation’s leading companies, including many on the Fortune 500 list. In a time when pallet companies are looking to diversify, Jay Bird is ramping up production to take on more pallet business. Jay Bird has found synergies between its softwood pallet business and its core focus manufacturing and specializes in cut-to-size wood products, shaped wood products, and fabricated wood products. Its mainstay product offerings include: panel and plywood, furniture components, wood packaging materials, logistical wood decking, painted lumber components, crating lumber components, and other specialty wood products.

                Over the last six months, Jay Bird has ramped up its pallet production by adding two Rayco nailing machines to substantially automate and increase its pallet capacity. Known for its efficient operations, Jay Bird is an example of a company that sees opportunity in making pallets for customers.

                Jay Bird operates with 60-70 employees from a 75,000+ sq. ft. facility in Malvern. Logistically located in the heart of the country, it has the capability to ship and receive twelve semi-tractor loads of raw material and finished components daily. Jay Bird has rail car accessibility for both box cars and flat rail cars. Operating its own fleet of trucks for just-in-time deliveries, Jay Bird typically ships within a 500 mile radius although it will make exceptions for contracted customers.

                Jay Bird Mfg. Co. will supply customers that need sheet stock cut, routed, shaped, drilled, fabricated, or assembled.  Its services include roll coated paint services, priming and can UV finish products. The company has the capacity and capability to foil and edge band a variety of materials. During its existence Jay Bird has become known for a variety of component related services. Furniture parts and rectangular chair parts have been a mainstay. It has always been into panel production and processing, including plywood, MDF, and particleboard. The company buys sheets of panel products, remans them, shapes them to size and routes them into parts. It does some fabrication but has been mostly parts driven. It also produces primed, UV and painted lumber components. 

                Pallets? Yes, Jay Bird has manufactured pine pallets for a long time, particularly panel deck and slave pallets that are specially engineered. But its customers probably have not historically thought of Jay Bird and pallets in the same breath. Until recently that is. Beyond Jay Bird is not a typical pallet company, but offers wood packaging materials, wooden pallets, and logistical wood decking, as well as Jay Bird is a wood products innovator that is capable of projects from medium to large in size.                       Jay Bird does not operate a sawmill and does not manufacture hardwood pallets. But Jay Bird has been in the business of remanufacturing and modifying softwood lumber and panel products into a wide variety of wood products. So, expanding more into pine pallets was natural, particularly when customers starting requesting more pallets. Opportunity knocked, and Jay Bird responded by going aggressively after the pallet market to complement its products line. Jay Bird has expanded its pine sawmill relationships in western Arkansas, which is a beautiful area known for its pine forests.

                Many forest products manufacturing companies have fairly mundane company names which relate to location, family ownership, etc. Jay Bird is an exception; it is named after the childhood nickname of Jason Ballard, the company owner.


Rayco Industries Nailing Systems

                Jason Ballard was familiar with Rayco Industries and its nailing systems because several pallet companies in his section of Arkansas have Rayco nailers. Jason had an opportunity to purchase another pallet plant that had Rayco nailing systems. When it did not work out to his satisfaction, he contacted Rayco and formed a relationship. The two companies bonded and last October Jay Bird took delivery of its first Rayco machine, a lower production Edge machine. In December, Jay Bird received its higher production Rayco Pallet Pro nailing system. Rayco updated its machines to match Jay Bird’s requests.

                Ballard bought two different nailing system models to satisfy his mixture of manufacturing needs. The Edge is for smaller runs and more custom manufactured pallets. Jay Bird uses its new Pallet Pro for higher production standard pallet fabrication needs. Both machines now run 16 to 18 hours a day. Dylan Bayliss, sales manager, said, “Our experience with Rayco as a company has been excellent. The introduction of our Rayco machinery has expanded our product offering and allowed us to meet the volume needs of our clients. We are happy with our extremely good success.”

                Bayliss said, “Our new Rayco nailing systems have had a simple learning curve. They are easy to use and have caused us very few problems of any kind.”

                The two Rayco nailing systems both use coils of 3000 collated nails that it purchases from Viper Nails in Greenbriar, Ark. Viper Nails services its Arkansas area customers with tools that it maintains. The collated nail market his historically provided a great deal of hand holding for its customers. Viper Nails does this for Jay Bird. It private labels nails under the Viper name.

                Jay Bird uses two operators on its Edge. While the machine is designed to run with one operator, Jay Bird quickly found that a second operator greatly increased its manufacturing speed. A second operator makes flipping a pallet much faster and more efficient and makes lumber staging much faster.

                Jerry Talbot, Blue Bird’s plant manager, said, “Rayco promotes its Edge at 400-500 pallets a shift; we are getting ours to build 700 pallets per shift. Our Pallet Pro builds close to 1500 pallets per eight hour shift with two operators. Production numbers are greater because our high volume production pallet is smaller than many pallets and has less lumber.”

                Since Jay Bird runs two pallet nailing shifts, it manufactures between 4000 and 5000 pallets in a typical day. The company has expanded its pallet manufacturing during a recession when the overall industry is struggling to stay profitable in today’s economy.

                Jay Bird buys SYP softwood lumber directly from the mills. Many pallet companies buy softwood from remanufacturing facilities, but Jay Bird’s ability to buy lumber directly from the mill has helped keep it competitive. It buys 5/4 decking material and crosscuts it to the desired lengths on its Newman KM16 multiple trimsaws.

                Jay Bird occasionally resaws 2” pine into 11/16” decking using a Morgan thin-kerf single head low profile bandsaw, but most of its decking is a full one inch thick. Much like its established product line, Jay Bird is fairly unusual in the market place. The company is known as a high volume operation that runs double shifts to stay competitive. It deals primarily in truck load quantities.

Jay Bird buys 2x8 SYP lumber, rips it into 2x4s for stringer stock, rebundles its 2x4 stringers, cuts them to length on either its L-M (USA) bundle saw or one of its Newman KM-16 multiple trim saws, and culls out any pieces that are not good enough to put into a pallet.

                Jay Bird buys stamped kiln dried pine from its supplying mills. After sawing the lumber into parts, it reassembles it into pallets, stamps them as HT pallets, and straps them. Both Rayco nailing systems feed together through a single operator stamping and strapping location. Jay Bird doesn’t have a heat treating facility since it has a stable supply of KD pine. TPI conducts monthly audits of its heat treating records. Ballard said, “TPI has been great. They have done a good job of monitoring our HT records.”

                Many of Jay Bird’s products are related to panels which require no heat treating, so Jay Bird has not required any HT chambers for all of its products to conform to modern heat treating requirements.

                Ballard gladly indicates that he is happy with his base of machinery and service providers, both for their products and their services.


Variety of Products and Production Capability

                Jay Bird has a fairly wide variety of machinery to do the custom cutting and forming needed for its product mixture.  It has six CNC machines, including a CNC panel saw that can cut a 6-1/2” stack of panels and a 24” numerically controlled crosscut machine with a powered fence that pushes material forward.

                Jay Bird has a history of specializing in such things as furniture components and refrigeration plywood boxes. Some pallet companies manufacture such things as wooden boxes in addition to pallets, but most focus primarily on pallets. Products such as dimension and grade lumber, wooden pellets, and other wood fiber markets are part of many companies’ product lines. Certainly recycled and repaired pallets have soared in importance since the early 1980s. At Jay Bird the direction of flow has been the opposite of many forest products manufacturers. It has made a living out of specialized kinds of wood products, including wooden boxes and containers. Now it is moving much more aggressively into wooden pallet manufacturing.

                Jay Bird’s pallet sizes range from 53 ft. lengths by 10 ft. widths to more normal 48x40 sizes in industries from defense, technology, medical, electrical, aerospace, industrial manufacturing, and transportation, and international shipping. International options include heat treated ISPM-15 certified lumber pallets and plywood.

                Pallet options include two-way stringer pallets, four-way stringer pallets, block pallets, disposable one-trip pallets, drilled pallets, grocery pallets, heat treated pallets, heavy-duty pallets, light-duty pallets, and band notching.

                Typical standard pine pallet sizes tend to run between 24x24 and 60x60. The Rayco nailing systems offer fast changeovers for short runs and quality construction for consistency.

                Jay Bird manufactures all kinds of plywood boxes  in a wide variety of sizes and styles. Plywood boxes are typically designed for worse case scenario and the toughest weather conditions. They can withstand all kinds of weather and are ideal for long storage times. They are ideal for export shipments because they do not require phytosanitary treatment.

                Jay Bird Mfg. is a licensed export crate manufacturer that ships products throughout the world. It custom designs and manufactures wooden crates for a wide variety of industries, such as aerospace, telecommunications, electronics, computers, machinery ,automotive, etc. SYP crating and lumber are available in a wide variety of sizes.

                In addition to pine and plywood, Jay Bird provides products made from rubberwood, a species that is becoming more popular from countries in southeast Asia. Rubberwood products include toys, cutting boards, and furniture, indoor furniture, and gunstocks. Rubberwood is advertised as “environmentally friendly” wood because it makes use of plantation trees that have already served a useful function and at one time were destroyed after their useful  life as a source of latex. Once burned after it reached 25 to 30 years old, rubberwood is fairly easy to work, glues well, is often used in finger-jointed lumber, and is both inexpensive and plentiful.

                Jay Bird shapes and machines parts using its state-of-the-art CNC routers and machining centers. The CNC machining centers have a maximum sheet capacity of 61”x145”.

                Jay Bird can use its moulders to make longitudinal products from lumber and engineered products such as MDF. In one run, products can be planed, profiled, or rip sawn. Numerous feed rollers move products through the machine. It can run material up to 12” wide by 6” thick.

                Specialized machining can be done at Jay Bird on its two high tech CNC panel saws that can cut OSB, particle board, MDF, hardwood plywoods, beadboard, melamine, laminate, and other wood industry sheet components. Several high tech CNC routers and machining centers perform shaping, profiling, and nesting operations on parts. It also has the ability to roll coat and UV finish some products.

                Jay Bird’s specialty products include restaurant table tops, sample board-display-tote-swatch boards, timber stacking sticks for lumber drying, and pile driving cushions and pads. There is a wide variety of specialized fabricated products that we often take for granted. But somebody has to make them; Jay Bird has developed its manufacturing ability to do this. In today’s competitive world, this can offer some unique options.

                For more information about Jay Bird’s product line and pallet manufacturing capability, call Jason Ballard at 501/844-4210 or visit http://www.jaybirdmfgco.com.

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