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Customized Solution from AIT and Pallet Machinery Group Leads to Operational Success at North Star Pallets
Custom Solutions: More than just production speed is important to have a truly efficient operation. Pallet Machinery Group and Automated Industrial Technologies team up to design a new circular resaw for North Star Pallets. This innovative design meets the four key aspects of smart production. Plus a full review of live equipment to be demonstrated at EXPO Richmond.

By Chaille Brindley
Date Posted: 4/1/2014

                Sometimes you look around the industry and have a need that just doesn’t seem to be met with the standard machinery offered by the leading suppliers. And when those instances occur, you may have to go back to the drawing board to develop something new. That is what happened when North Star Pallets of Edmonton, Alberta, partnered with Pallet Machinery Group and Automated Industrial Technologies (AIT) to develop a new high-speed resaw for cutting pallet lumber.

                David Luscombe, owner of North Star Pallets, offered some key insights when you want to develop a customized solution. It all starts with selecting the right machinery supplier. You will want to find a vendor who has the expertise to deliver. Luscombe said, “Greg is very straightforward and doesn’t over promise or under deliver. He consistently walks the talk.”

                Luscombe was speaking of Greg Wine, the president of Pallet Machinery Group. Wine has been an industry veteran for years and is well known for his experience and integrity. Luscombe said, “Greg Wine in conjunction with AIT developed this saw from scratch for us. They both stand behind their equipment and have been excellent vendors.”


Keys to Smart Production

                North Star needed to boost production in its resaw operation. The company has used a Producto circular resaw for years. While it was a good saw in its day, the pallet manufacturer needed to boost the feed rate of this part of its operation. Luscombe explained, “We needed to increase our feed speeds from 200 ft. per minute to 350-400 ft. per minute with a very thin kerf.” The saw is currently running a .125 Kerf Blade and testing of thinner kerfs is in progress.

                Greg Wine and Pallet Machinery Group has worked with Gary Sill of Automated Industrial Technologies (AIT) to develop various stackers in the past and collaborated with AIT on this resaw project. AIT developed a prototype for North Star a number of years ago and has made some improvements to produce a saw that is working well now. This new resaw, called the HY400 due to its high-speed production rate, will be debuted at EXPO Richmond in May 2014.

                AIT made a number of key changes including the infeed rollers and the blade design in addition to electronic controls and a design that allows for easy access for maintenance and replacing worn blades.

                Getting the right balance between speed and efficiency can be difficult. Luscombe commented, “Trying to get the accuracy and the speed to work together can be hard. What we found is when we tried to increase speed, we would burn up blades. We wanted to run really fast and get an accurate cut.”

                The four keys to smart production are processing speed, ease of maintenance, changeover efficiency and operational costs. You can have top production, but if you drive up one of the other key variables too high, it will cost your company too much for the production speed you gain.

                Luscombe stated, “Pallet Machinery Group looks at the whole scenario. Too often companies just look at the production speeds. But your changeover times are too long. Your maintenance is way too high. There are way more moving parts than there needs to be. In the past we have had equipment engineered and built for us, but it has only been focused on production speeds.”

                Luscombe explained, “In the long term, this new design will help us save time and money. For example,

the process required to change the blade is very simple.” The old Producto saw required wrenches and virtually taking apart some of the machine to access the saw blades. The HY400 resaw features an easy-access panel door that makes it simple to change blades.

                Achieving savings and efficiency in these four key areas doesn’t come easy. And not all suppliers can deliver this level of experience and innovation. Luscombe said, “I have never had a machinery supplier approach a custom project the way that Pallet Machinery Group did, and it made a huge difference.”

                North Star uses the HY400 to process SPF dimensional lumber fed from a Pendu multi-trim saw. The HY400 is controlled by software to make some adjustments easier for users during changeovers. Luscombe said, “It is all push button controls compared to wrenches and such for making changeovers with the old style equipment.”

                In addition to the HY400, North Star owns a number of other pieces of equipment sold by Pallet Machinery Group including a Flex 61/62 M pallet nailer by Storti. This nailing line is composed of a tandem of mechanical nailers with rapid setting for stringer pallets. The design allows for rapid changeover.

                Luscombe stated, “The Flex machine has performed well, and Storti has been good to work with over the years.”


The Pallet Machinery Difference

                Luscombe praised the service and experience he had with Greg Wine and his team. He said, “Some other vendors will over promise, and I usually have to divide in two any performance claims that they make. With Greg, we have gotten what he said we would get.”

                Pallet Machinery Group sells and services both new and used pallet manufacturing machines, saw systems, and lumber stacking and handling equipment. It can help a company retrofit or upgrade an existing nailing machine, buy a quality used/refurbished unit or purchase top-of-the-line systems newly manufactured by Storti. Pallet Machinery Group also offers the unique small foot print M2L board stacker and the M2L 200 board stacker for high production situations. These innovative stackers are designed and manufactured by AIT. In addition, Pallet Machinery Group sells units produced by West Plains Resaw.

                Having worked around the industry for so long, Wine knows the value of continuing improvement. Luscombe described, “Greg is very experienced and intelligent. But it doesn’t make him think that he has all the answers. He looks for ways to do things, better, faster, smarter and safer.” After a number of key additions to his facility, Luscombe said, “I am finally at a position where I have put in the right equipment, and it is paying off for us.”

                For more information on Pallet Machinery Group or any of its product lines, visit www.palletmachinery.com or call 540-644-9220.


Cutting Edge Machinery to Be Displayed at EXPO Richmond 2014

                The biggest pallet and low-grade lumber show every two years is coming just around the corner, and Pallet Machinery Group will present a number of live equipment demonstrations at the Old Dominion Building. This year the Pallet Machinery Group Pavilion will feature live demonstrations of the M2L and TS board stackers, Storti R35, HY Center

Split Saw and more. You won’t want to miss this great expo for live equipment demonstrations and leading suppliers. It is held in Richmond, Va. at the RIC Raceway Complex on May 16-17. For more information or to register, visit www.exporichmond.com

                The following pages contain a review of some of the great equipment that Pallet Machinery Group, Storti and Automated Industrial Technologies will be showcasing at this year’s expo at the Old Dominion Building.


HY400 High-speed Center Split Saw

                A high-speed, thin kerf, industrial saw, the HY400 is designed for a variety of high-speed cutting applications in your mill. It is capable of both center splitting and line bar cutting. Each 50-HP spindle can accommodate up to three blades. The oversized bearings provide long life, even in severe applications.

                The saw is equipped with a driven infeed system and a driven exit system to pull boards through the blades at the approximate rate of 400 board feet per minute during ideal running conditions. Also included is a dust collection outlet to remove excess sawdust through a dust collector system you specify and provide.




                • Quick change blades

                • Dual arbor

                • Accommodates up to three blades per arbor

                • 50 HP per arbor

                • Robust 21/2” diameter

                • Replaceable threaded insert for blade lock bolt

                • Oversized bearings


Board feed

                • Self-centering and line bar cutting (setup dependent)

                • Four toothed-driven infeed rollers (adjustable force)

                • Six driven pull rollers (adjustable force)

                • Variable Speed from 100 to over 400 feet per minute



                • Extra heavy duty construction

                • Clear board path minimizes opportunity for jams

                • Optional infeed and takeaway conveyors

                • Easy access guards for quick blade change

                • Oversized Lexan front guard for strength and visibility



To see the saw in action, go to:



TS 300 Stacker System

                If you are moving lumber at the speed of your saw, an autostacker is important for safety and throughput. The AIT TS300 stacker system is capable of stacking boards up to 300 pieces per minute, and its speed and full range of options make it easy to integrate in your operation and suitable for a wide variety of applications.

                The basic TS300 stacker system consists of an integrated infeed conveyance and layer building module, a lift module for positioning the layer on the stack and an exit conveyor.



                • Up to 25 layers per minute

                • Stacks boards 3/8” to 4” thick and 24” to 72” long

                • Stack with or without pallet

                • Programmable automatic tie strip feeder

                • Small footprint


For a closer look at the TS300 in operation, watch the demo video:



M2L Stacker Series
                Named for its capacity to replace two laborers on your saw line while providing reliable performance—the M2L is the tireless workhorse of the Pallet Machinery Group stacker series.

                For hands-free throughput on your line, install the M2L autostacker behind your resaw, notcher, gang saw or chamfer. Not only will you improve operator safety when free from manual stacking and grading—you will save money on labor costs each shift.

                The basic M2L Stacker consists of an integrated infeed conveyance assisted by an optional unscrambler, a layer building module, a lift module for positioning the layer on the stack, and an exit conveyor.



                • Stacks eight layers per  minute at standard speed

                • Stacks up to 15 layers per minute at high speed

                • Stacks boards 3/8" to  4" thick and 32" to 72" long

                • Programmable on/off  control for upstream equipment

Storti R-35

                This gang saw was designed to saw 2, 3 or 4 sided cants. This vertical arbor gang saw will accommodate a 2” variation in cant width, like those commonly produced on scragg mills. Storti has produced hundreds of this style gang but this will be its first introduction to the North American market.



                • Accepts 3-1/2” and 5-1/2” wide 2,3, and 4 sided cants

                • Auto feed without an operator

                • Small space requirements

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