Simpler Is Better: Bronco Designs Pallet Systems for Versatility, Reliability and Cost-Effective Production
Bronco Pallet Systems: Simple automation concepts pays big dividends for pallet companies with both nailing and recycling solutions. Reduce machinery costs, simplify your operations and improve worker safety with Bronco machinery.
By Chaille Brindley
Date Posted: 1/4/2019
Founded by a welder and pallet guy, Bronco Pallet Systems never set out to develop cutting-edge technology; instead it seeks to make pallet productions cheaper, safer, simpler and more productive through just the right amount of automation.
Morris Self, the president of Bronco Pallet Systems, said, “When my father started making pallet machinery in the 1980s, all we wanted to do was boost production in our pallet shop.” They saw the genius of combining an incline table with a stacker to improve production and reduce worker fatigue. It worked and helped to spark a simple revolution in pallet operations around the world.
Self stated, “We are simpler, the setup is simpler, the maintenance is simpler. The operator doesn’t need technical abilities. For the everyday pallet shop, they need simple processes.”
Bronco Pallet Systems offers both new pallet and pallet recycling equipment and has developed a reputation for “designing systems that, although simple,” will meet custom requirements.
Michael Hoag, senior advisor with U.S. Lumber and former owner of National Industrial Lumber Co. (NILCO), commented, “We needed solutions to help our customers produce their own pallets efficiently as we provided the lumber and nails…Morris used his MacGyver engineering abilities to help us solve manufacturing problems and keep things simple.”
Bronco’s semi-automated nailing machinery can produce a wide variety of sizes including oversized pallets that are 12-16 feet long. Some pallets had wings, grooved runners from very simple to very complex designs requiring minimal changeover time.
Hoag said, “Our goal was to make a pallet in a minute or less. Most of the time we achieved that goal. By contrast, using a completely manual processes, it would take minutes to build pallets because of manual materials handling, flipping and stacking. Plus, operators had to slug around a 7 lb. nail gun. Overhead balancers connected to the nail guns significantly reduced strain on workers.”
Best Selling Models
In its pallet assembly line, Bronco’s three best sellers are the 3001, 3006 and the 3-and-1 model. Self recently upgraded the designs to include a tilting assembly table that can pitch to a 70-degree angle Self explained, “This design improvement makes it easier to reach the long runners and is lower, which can help with facilities that have lower ceiling heights.”
The 3001 model has an assembly table that can tilt up and own and feed finished pallets into a stacker. The nail gun hangs down from an overhead attachment point with a nail balancer to reduce worker impact from using the nail gun. Although the design is simple, it helps to automate some of the most physically demanding parts of the process.
Self stated, “Instead of going after the nailing, we focus on the materials handling, board placement and stacking part of the process to bring simple, efficient automation that boosts productivity and won’t cost you an arm and a leg in equipment costs.”
The 3006 model is exactly like the 3001 model except it also comes with a stack roll out. This helps to reduce the demand on the forklift operator who may be managing several aspects at once. Both of these models can produce block and/or stringer pallets with a target production of 400-480 pallets in an eight-hour shift depending on the complexity of the design. These machines require only one operator.
Bronco also sells custom wide machines for producing really huge pallets. The biggest unit Bronco ever built was capable of making pallets 20 feet long. The 3-and-1 model can produce either a very big pallet or be set up to produce multiple sizes right next to each other acting as unique workstations. Self said, “Many companies that produce really big pallets want versatility because they only need to make those oversized designs a few days per week. This machine can be easily changed over in 15 minutes or less to produce really large designs and then set up to build various sizes right next to each other, such as a GMA on one workstation and a 36 x 36 on the next.”
Bronco offers both semi-automatic and fully automatic nailing machines depending on your needs. Self explained that for the money, the semi-automatic machines are the most popular. He said, “Most people consider the automatic part of the process is the nailing. But there is only so fast you can make the nailing. The part that takes the most time is placing boards, getting everything ready to nail and stacking even in a fully automated, high-speed line… The automatic nailing doesn’t make it that much faster.”
Is Simpler Really Better?
Everything about Bronco is simpler, focusing on lowering operational cost and downtime. Self admitted, “I have had several customers switch from fully automated lines from other suppliers to our semi-automated systems because they had lots of downtime and maintenance headaches with those more sophisticated approaches.”
Instead of having one long line, these pallet companies can put five Bronco machines side-by-side in the same floor space and meet the same production goals or better. Plus, with Bronco machinery you can use recycled or waney lumber.
Self suggested, “We are there for the small guy who can’t afford the expensive fully automated machines. And we are there for the big guy who wants flexibility, simplicity and less headaches as well as lower maintenance and operational costs.”
Chuck Rick, owner of Cypress Sawmill Inc. in Roseland, Louisiana, has bought a number of different Bronco machines through the years. He said, “For the money this is a great machine and is versatile…Bronco’s machinery is bulletproof. You can’t really break it.”
Cypress Sawmill has used Bronco nailing machines for producing oversized pallets. It is capable of producing 52 x 52-inch pallets. Rick liked the price point and value for the money. The Bronco units require minimal maintenance. Rick added, “Every once in a while, you have to change out a valve, otherwise you don’t have any problems.”
At various points when Cypress wanted to upgrade or change lines, Bronco would help Rick sell the equipment.
NILCO worked with Bronco to sell simple pallet nailing machines to customer locations that wanted to build their own pallets for shipping heavy, industrial products. Hoag preferred Bronco for a number of reasons. He said, “Morris is a very creative guy. He is open to trying to do new things to solve problems. He came up with ideas to reduce labor and improve efficiency while keeping everything simple.”
Hoag added, “The machines are basic, which means less stuff to go wrong with them. Repair and downtime is very minimal. Parts are easy to find. From a reliability standpoint, the Bronco machines are very durable, and they are competitively priced.”
Unlike a more sophisticated machine, the Bronco nailers don’t require someone with more engineering experience to run them.
Bronco Recycling Philosophy Eliminates the Presort
Simple and different are hallmarks of the Bronco recycling lines too. Self explained, “The mission in our recycling line – we don’t believe in the pre-sort. We believe you should take stacks of pallets directly to the operator. Those guys sort it for you and/or repair it.”
The idea is to reduce wasted motion by having workers touch pallets less.
Bronco offers tear down machines for disassembling pallets and full repair lines with conveyors and stackers. Dave Miller of Timbermasters Co. in Baxter, Tennessee, said, “The Bronco tear down machine uses a prying mechanism to force the boards apart, similar to a pry bar with much less impact on the worker.”
Timbermasters has been using this machine for 3-4 months, and it can take apart 500-600 coil pallets per day with one operator. Miller commented, “One guy with the Bronco machine can tear down as many pallets in a shift as three workers with pry bars.”
Miller saw the machine at EXPO Richmond and knew it was the right solution for the money. Compared to a bandsaw dismantler, this approach is simpler although it does leave some nail stubble that will need to be ground down or sawn off if you want to reuse boards. Miller stated, “The Bronco dismantler is much safer than using pry bars, and it causes less stress on the worker. Plus, you eliminate the hassle and costs of bands compared to using a bandsaw dismantler.”
Bronco sells modular systems that can be easily expanded with more repair stations and stackers.
Full Line of Options
To service European customers, Bronco introduced several years ago the 2011-GX that has a corner cut option for producing Euro style pallets. Similar to the 3006 model, this unit comes with a tilting angled table and stacker. The operator can simply pull a lever to engage the corner cut saws as the finished pallet moves from the table to the stacker.
In addition, Bronco offers a fully automatic nailer. Unlike some other popular models from other manufacturers, Bronco’s mounted nail guns go left to right and not up and down to reduce wasted motion, which improves cycle time.
Self said, “We have cut out the return trip… This makes our version 20% faster.”
If you want to find ways to simplify your operations, reduce maintenance costs and improve versatility, consider Bronco’s novel approach. The right amount of automation can boost production without breaking the bank. If you need just one machine or a full system, Bronco can help you find the right solution. For more information, call 800-458-5462 or 270-674-6091 (international), email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.broncosys.com.
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