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Automated Machine Systems Purchases Machine Specialists Inc.
AMS expands its presence as a machinery supplier to the pallet industry with its acquisition of Machine Specialists Inc.

By Enterprise Staff
Date Posted: 4/1/2003

Automated Machine Systems Inc. (AMS), headquartered in Jenison, Mich., has purchased Machine Specialists Inc. (MSI) of Memphis, Tenn. The acquisition positions AMS as one of the most complete automation and computerization suppliers to the pallet and material handling industries.

The move also reunites Kris Chayer of AMS and Jim Doyle of MSI, working together again to serve the pallet and material handling industries. The two companies individually have served the pallet and material handling industries over 10 years, but their experience is much more extensive.

Under the terms of the agreement, AMS will acquire all assets of MSI and assume all responsibility for marketing, designing and manufacturing MSI equipment.

AMS welcomes Jim to its team along with his valuable industry experience and consulting abilities. He will consult, sell and promote the entire AMS product line.

"Jim's tremendous experience, vision, and commitment to the pallet industry add enormous strength to AMS," said Kris. "I've had ideas and new concepts running around in my head for the last few years, and now I believe they will come to fruition with the help of the AMS staff." Both men are excited about teaming and entering this new phase of serving the pallet industry.

The combined companies offer the industry one of the most complete one-stop shops for all automation, computerization, accessory and consulting needs. The line of equipment products and services spans multiple facets of the pallet and material handling industries.

Jim, president of MSI, began his career in the pallet industry in 1978 as owner of Pallet Supply Co. and became a pioneer in pallet recycling and recycling equipment. Pallet Supply Co. grew to be one of the largest recyclers in the country with locations in four mid-South states.

Over the years Jim realized the need for automation in pallet recycling in order to reduce labor costs and increase production. He consulted extensively with pallet using businesses and developed considerable expertise in pallet recycling. Based on his knowledge and experience, Jim pioneered equipment to help pallet companies operate more efficiently and profitably. "My goal is to move material and take out the fingerprinting of people and forklifts," said Jim.

Jim founded MSI in 1994 to supply equipment, systems and consulting services to enable pallet companies to operate more profitably. He was one of the first developers of recycling systems, not simply individual machines, and he helped a number of new pallet companies set up their plants and get started in the industry.

George Mayer of Pallets & Accessories is one of the many pallet companies that has used Jim as a consultant. "This is the best money I've ever spent in the pallet business," he said of Jim’s services.

Kris joined Jim when he launched MSI, and they shared a vision for automation and building machinery. As general manager, Kris oversaw all departments and personnel in every area of operations. He worked closely with Jim in designing equipment and systems for pallet recyclers, and his experience working with specialized equipment in the tool and die industry was a valuable addition to MSI.

Kris moved to Michigan and founded AMS in 1997. His experience working with Jim enabled him to learn the pallet industry and the tremendous need for equipment and automation. With his knowledge and expertise, Kris led AMS to become a major supplier of automation and computerization to the pallet and material handling industries in just five years.

AMS is a full design and supply integrator, providing products and services that support pallet repair, sorting, handling, conveying, wood recovery, grinding, palletizing, washing, sanitizing, drying, heat treating, ergonomic handling systems, custom integrations, project management, Palcoat™ paint systems, and Palmate™ pallet management systems. Its goal is to listen to customers and to provide them with cost effective and profitable solutions and strong customer relations and service.

Jim and Kris together developed one of the first assembly line repair processes in the industry. MSI coined the term ‘nailing on the fly’ while the AMS catch phrase was ‘continuous motion assembly line repair.’ Both terms refer to the same concept of incorporating automated handling equipment to reduce labor costs and increase production. From the time a damaged pallet enters the system until it exits as a repaired product, it never leaves the assembly line.

The Deckmaster, a patented machine developed by Jim, revolutionized the way pallets are prepped. It removes damaged lead and interior boards while staking down the nails at the same time, so the pallet is completely and quickly prepped in one process and then delivered to the builders. Pallet recyclers know that the faster they can process a pallet, the more efficient and profitable their business will be.

AMS offers products ranging from high-speed destackers and stackers to conveying, pallet inspection equipment, and dispensers to efficiently and effectively sort pallet pools in any desired manner. It has a strategic business partnership with T-Tek Material Handling Equipment to bring high quality, high-speed automation to the pallet industry. T-Tek is a strong manufacturing and control house for palletizing and pallet handling equipment with a staff of 50 that has years of experience in design, engineering and manufacturing.

AMS supplies ergonomic handling systems that use pneumatic balancers and a specialized handling unit for improved pallet sorting that eliminates repetitive bending and lifting and the fatigue that results.

Kris' engineering experience along with Jim's considerable knowledge and expertise from his own pallet business and consulting with other pallet recyclers and pallet users combine to give AMS some unique insights into sorting multi-faceted pallet pools.

Consolidation, third-party leasing and ownership and control of pallet pools has created a demand for painting and stenciling pallets. "You just may see even more painting and stenciling for ownership in the future," said Jim. AMS has been a leader in developing pallet painting and stenciling systems with its Palcoat™ 600 Automated Series and Manual Stack 1200 Series. AMS also will custom design smaller systems for specialized applications or less volume demands.

AMS is a direct distributor for three major U.S. conveyor companies and provides high quality belt-driven live roller, chain-driven live roller, gravity, skate and slider-bed trash products to name a few. These are essential in automated pallet sorting and repair systems as well as custom integrations in a wide variety of applications. Custom integrations may include a combination of new equipment with a customer's existing machinery or used equipment to provide a smooth, efficient operating system. Kris and Jim together often have begun relationships with new customers by supplying them with conveyor to begin automating their businesses. "You might be surprised how some simple trash conveyor can make a difference in your company’s efficiency and profitability," said Kris.

AMS provides custom grinding solutions in a strategic business relationship with West Salem Machinery, which has over 50 years of experience building grinders for the wood products industry. This relationship began years ago when Jim and Kris integrated two West Salem Machinery horizontal grinding systems at Pallet Supply Co. The smooth installation, strong service, and resulting profitability persuaded Kris to forge a business relationship with West Salem Machinery. "I believe this relationship allows AMS to supply its customers with the best possible solutions available to the pallet industry for wood grinding," he said.

Along with grinders, AMS provides a full line of complimentary equipment, such as colorizers for mulch, slider-bed trash conveyors, magnets to remove ferrous metal, and radial stackers. It can design and supply systems to meet all of a customer's requirements for grinding and aftermarket product.

The AMS Palmate™ Pallet Management System enables pallet companies to capture and utilize data about incoming and outgoing inventory, counts for piece rate work and production, pallet grading and quality control, payroll, and much more. The software is easy to use and custom designed for each application. "I wish this product was around when I was recycling pallets," said Jim. "I'm looking forward to selling this pallet management system."

With this acquisition, the entire line of MSI wood recovery equipment comes under the AMS banner. These products include trim saws, dismantlers, unstubbers, shearer-slicers and chop saws to make lumber recovery operations more efficient and profitable. The Trim-Trac end trim saw, Tres three-head dismantler, and the Cut & Go one man band saw dismantler are just three of the products developed by Jim.

AMS, a member of the National Wooden Pallet and Container Association and the Canadian Wood Pallet and Container Association, is supported by vice president Gary Curless and Brian Williams, director of sales and marketing director. It has a staff of sales engineers, design-CAD engineers, project managers and installation crews.

To find out more about the company or the acquisition, contact AMS at (877) 267-8384 or visit the Web site at www.amssystems.com.

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