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With Customer-Driven Designs, Kent Corp. And Its Machinery Line Continue to Expand
Kent Corporation supplies a complete line of pallet lumber manufacturing machinery, including band resaws, notchers, block cutters, trim saws, chop saws, and miter saws, along with a full array of conveyors and options.

By Staff Writer
Date Posted: 1/1/2001

With the idea of selling high quality, inexpensive equipment to the pallet industry, Sam Baker set out on his own several years ago to create Kent Corporation. Located in Ellington Mo., Kent Corporation has made a strong name for itself over the last few years.

The companyís line of equipment has grown to include a full range of pallet lumber manufacturing machinery, including cut-off saws, notchers, conveyors and resaws. Sam is quick to point out that Kent Corporation has become a one-stop shop for anyone in the pallet business, offering a full line of cut-up equipment.

Sam was involved in the design and manufacture of band resaws for over 10 years before starting his own business. Early in Kent Corporationís history, he offered an underslung head resaw. Until recently, however, Kent Corporation had chosen not to build a traditional, overhead band resaw. When he made the decision to offer one, Samís experience allowed him to hit the ground running.

The Blockhead Band Resaw is Kent Corporationís latest success. The Kent Blockhead Band Resaw is an overhead band resaw that is available in multiple heads. Although simple in design, Kent Corporation did not skimp where it counted. With his years of experience in designing band resaws and having observed the machines of other manufacturers, Sam wanted to design a machine that was adaptable to the needs of customers. In order to accomplish this, he designed the main frame and head to be as basic as possible. All other features became options that could be added to the basic machine.

The Blockhead, quaintly named because of the square, featureless head frame, is not a single machine. Depending on the options, it can be any one of 100 different machines.

For instance, as Sam pointed out, why should someone whose main application is splitting 1x4s and 2x4s buy a side feed system when a simple hold-down system would work better for that application and cost less?

Sam said, "At Kent, we do not try to sell our customers a pre-package, this-is-the-way-it-comes unit. We ask them to tell us what their application is, and then we direct them to the options they need to make the machine work for them."

The Kent Blockhead Band Resaw is available with such options as 28-inch or 32-inch wheels, hold-down wheels, powered or not, side feed wheels, 6-foot or 12-foot conveyors and at least eight different return systems.

The front cover of this monthsí issue of Pallet Enterprise features Kentís latest return system. This new return is a fully automated system for 8-foot to 12-foot material up to 12x12 square. With so many people in the wood products industry buying band sawmills in the last 20 years, Kent Corporation has received many requests for a return system to compliment them at a price they could afford. For almost a year now, Kent has offered a system dubbed the Poor Manís Grade Return System. Conceptually, the new Automated Grade Return System is very much like the Poor Manís Grade Return System except everything is totally powered.

As Sam said, "Our customers with band mills liked the Poor Manís Grade ReturnSystems but they wanted the automation to eliminate labor. Several Automated Grade Return Systems already exist on the market today. However, none of them is available at such a favorable price range." The Kent Corporation system, including the resaw, is priced at $20-$30,000, depending on options.

Kent Corporation continues to grow. Plans are being made to construct a new 32,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. As part of the expansion, an entire wood production unit will be included. The wood production unit will give Kent the ability to demonstrate its equipment and also to research and test new concepts that are in the early stages of development.

Sam is excited about the outlook for 2001. "I just hope we have a president by the time this article hits, and if anybodyís wondering, I hope itís George W. Bush. I was immensely proud to see Pallet Enterprise take a firm position in this last election. More of us need to stand for what we believe in regardless of which side we take."

Kent Corporation seems well poised to Ďtake a stand,í at least when it comes to standing for what its customers want.

For information on Kent Corporation, call the company at (800) 929-9830 or visit the Web site at the following address: www.kentcorporation.com.

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