Plates, Platers Make Eagle Metal an Important Partner
Eagle Metal Products Have Applications for New, Used Pallets and Crates
Date Posted: 8/1/2002
Today products are delivered across the globe overnight, and information is exchanged immediately. The demands on the material handling process have increased significantly. Better and more efficient use of our resources have become necessary. The pallet and container industry must continue to adapt to meet these new conditions.
These dynamics were all factors that attracted Eagle Metal Products to begin serving the pallet and container industry in 1989.
"We knew that plates could produce significant savings, not only for the pallet recycler, but for manufacturers of new pallets as well," said Tom Whatley, owner of Eagle Metal Products. "We felt that manufacturers could benefit from Metal Connector Plates (MCP) to strengthen, protect and preserve new pallets and containers."
Eagle provides the largest selection of repair, splice, strengthening, top framing, and end plates available in the industry. The application of MCP can repair damaged pallets and in most cases upgrade the pallet, increasing profitability. Applied to new pallets, they can add strength and protection from forklift damage. In addition, Eagle provides plates for special applications used in multi-use, returnable crates.
The need for a collapsible, multi-use crate has become a factor in the packaging market, and Eagle has answered that need. Eagle offers a wide variety of plates designed to build a crate that can be collapsed, returned and re-used any number of times. Returnable, reusable containers can reduce a company’s overall container costs, and they are "environmentally friendly" since they are recycled and used repeatedly. In addition to supplying plates, Eagle also can provide assistance in crate and container design and application.
Eagle has developed several innovative designs for many different pallet uses. Eagle offers a line of specially designed plates for notched stringers; the ‘over the notch’ plate and the exclusive L-shaped plate can strengthen or repair the corners of the notch. Additional Eagle plate designs offered include end plates, splice plates, top framing plates and repair plates in a wide variety of sizes to fill any need.
Eagle chose to produce the ‘slotted’ plate that closely resembles a plate design used in the manufacture of roof trusses. The company’s decision was based on the tested holding properties of truss plates. Metal Connector Plates for trusses have a 50-year history of proven effectiveness. Eagle drew on the testing and long history associated with plates in trusses, and Eagle incorporated these values in the ‘slotted’ plate design for pallets and containers.
To further ensure that holding qualities were consistent under all conditions, Eagle secured the testing services of the Virginia Tech Department of Wood Science and Forest Products. Extensive tests at Virginia Tech demonstrated the strengths of plating, and the results showed that plating is an acceptable way of prolonging the life of a wooden pallet and a viable tool for recycling. The Virginia Tech research was published as a report titled, A Study of Reinforcement and Splicing with Metal Connector Plates Manufactured by Eagle Metal Plates, Inc. May 1999.
Repairing a stringer with an MCP eliminates problems associated with the use of companion stringers. This in turn allows the pallet to be upgraded, which in many markets means more profitable sales.
Stringer splicing has made inroads into the pallet industry, and test results have answered many concerns. The manufacturer can better utilize his lumber by making longer boards and reducing waste. The recycler can take two damaged stringers, cut off the damaged parts, and splice the remaining good parts to make a stronger and more effective stringer.
It was also determined that plating significantly reduces the consumption of wood species, further enhancing the recyclability of wooden pallets and aiding the conservation of forest resources. In addition, plating has proven to be an effective way of utilizing lesser-sized wood to provide many of the qualities needed in full-size lumber. All of these factors negate claims that wooden pallets are a detriment to the environment.
Not only has testing proven the reliability of plating, but the experience of Eagle's customers has demonstrated that plating can be effective and profitable. One customer, Penn Pallet in St. Mary’s, Penn., has been in business over 25 years, manufacturing pallets, top frames and boxes, and now has over 125 employees in plants in three states. "We began purchasing from Eagle over ten years ago," said Doug Cunningham. "We exclusively purchase Eagle plates because they perform well, and we know we will never run out because of the service Eagle offers."
RCD Timber Products in New Castle, Delaware is another Eagle customer. "We started operations in 1993," said Bob Donehower, "and found that Eagle was very flexible and could best serve our needs. Not only was the pricing competitive, we found that Eagle was willing to serve our needs of ordering small quantities. It's refreshing to see that the high level of customer service Eagle demonstrated in the early years is exactly the same today now that we are ordering in half to full truckloads of plates. Eagle treated a company purchasing one skid at a time similar to one purchasing truckloads at a time."
In order to provide fast, efficient service and competitive pricing, Eagle maintains three distribution centers in California, Kentucky, and its main production plant in Texas. To serve pallet and container companies in Canada, Eagle distributes through Stanley-Bostitch; Eagle plates distributed in Canada meet all the standards set by the Canadian pallet industry.
"At Eagle we are providing a complete package to the industry," said Tom. "We have developed a line of equipment that can be used in any pallet company, regardless of size or need. We offer both portable and in-line platers, top framers and splicers in a wide range of prices to fit any size company."
Eagle's hand held plater is the most popular unit of the Eagle line of plating equipment. This portable, light-weight, productive plater is designed to be used in shops where portability is a high priority. It can be moved easily from station to station, and it can be adapted to any electrical requirement. It will fasten up to a 3x5 plate with one press and is designed to reach any repairable part of a pallet.
Eagle's Pallet Repair Station is designed to be used with two repair stations at one time. The unit is designed to be mounted on a stationary pole and suspended on a tool balancer. It moves freely back and forth so that it can be utilized by two repair stations at the same time.
Eagle has been an important supplier as Penn Pallet has grown and changed, said Doug. "Eagle has been a part of our growth. When we made design changes to our repair lines, Eagle provided the pallet repair stations."
Eagle also offers a portable top-framing press as well as a multi-head framer designed for daily high production. The portable unit can be used anywhere in the work area and is completely portable. It is capable of fastening up to 4-inch plates in one press and will operate on any electrical current. Doug added, "When our top frame business was struggling, Eagle was a part of the solution."
Eagle also offers two styles of stringer splicers, a portable splicer and a heavy-duty splicer that is designed to be mounted to a table top or other surface in a production line.
To better serve customers, Eagle entered into a working relationship with Minick Enterprises of Little Rock, Arkansas to provide a more complete line of dismantlers, presses and other products. To stay on the cutting edge of the industry, Eagle has a consulting relationship with Clarence Leising, a recycling specialist with extensive experience in the pallet industry.
Realizing the value of the National Wooden Pallet and Container Association to the industry, Eagle is an active associate member; Eagle sales representative Jerry Burney participates in committees, boards, planning sessions and trade shows.
Jerry has worked with pallet shops throughout the nation since 1994 and maintains the Eagle tradition of high quality products, efficient service and good customer relationships. "It is good that we are active in the marketplace and involved in the pallet industry," said Jerry. "However, it would be a mute issue if it were not for the loyalty and consistency of our customer base."
Bob added, "In 1993 we spoke to several plate manufacturers with regards to serving our needs. We felt Eagle could best serve us, and we have found that Eagle's prices are very competitive."
Doug concluded, "I believe we switched from our other supplier because Eagle offered us better price and service. Now, we told Tom it was because we liked him, so never tell him different."
For more information about Eagle Metal Products, contact the company at
800-521-EAGL (3245), fax (903) 887-0443, or visit its Web site at www.eaglemetal.com.
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