For over 30 years the leading pallet and sawmill magazine in America.
Twenty Years of Pallet Enterprise
The Theme Has Been Change
By Ed Brindley, Ph.D., Publisher
Date Posted: 12/1/2001
As our cover indicates, this issue marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of Pallet Enterprise, the only trade journal dedicated solely to serving the pallet industry.
Serving readers — pallet manufacturers and recyclers — and machinery suppliers whose advertising makes possible the production of the magazine, Pallet Enterprise has grown in size and frequency since its inception.
For this, our 20th anniversary issue, we went back to take a look at every issue we published previously. Strolling down memory lane through our 20 years of the Pallet Enterprise has been enlightening. One theme literally jumped out of our past pages - CHANGE! The nature of the issues that we had to cover and topics we found to cover changed dramatically.
As I examined my archive copies, I noticed that many pallet companies have come to prominence, particularly in the recycling realm, while others have faded or even closed their doors. The faces that led the National Wooden Pallet and Container Association (NWPCA) have changed several times. Many machinery manufacturers have come and gone. The entire pallet recycling industry and its supplier base have risen in prominence. The pallet services/management arena appears to be in its infancy. But make no mistake; pallet services/management is where our future lies.
I have summarized the top stories from selected Enterprise articles and grouped them according to categories - pallet management/services/products, pallet manufacturing, pallet recycling/repairing, pallet events, and landmark anniversary issues. Summaries also are grouped chronologically within these five categories. No important or milestone event was intentionally overlooked, but time restricted me to examine primarily articles, not every news release and advertisement.
Industrial Reporting, Inc., publisher of the Enterprise, started serving the pallet industry with our new Wooden Pallet Index in April 1977. In September 1992 the Index changed its name to the Pallet Profile Weekly, which continues today as the weekly news and market newsletter for the wooden pallet industry.
Do you remember our first cover? Our first issue had 24 pages, including about seven pages of display advertising and four classified ads. Six advertisers who appeared in the first issue still consistently advertise in the Enterprise, two are operating under new names and corporate structures (also still advertising), and three are no longer in business. One of our four initial classified advertisers has continued to advertise in every issue of the Enterprise's acclaimed Classified Trading Post section.
The Enterprise grew over the years by steps, from 32 pages in the second issue to the 96-112 pages of the past several years. In 1988 we added a separate Buyers' Guide issue to our bimonthly schedule. In 1993 we added three more issues to become 10 issues a year, and we became monthly in 1998. We grew to stay in step with our readers and advertisers.
Our strength is in our staff, which includes many industry household names - Ed, Scott, Jeff, Chaille, Carolyn, Chris, Tim, Ted, Donna, Gary, and Tina. A solid continuity lays the foundation for stronger publications year after year. We spend out time serving you, not having to constantly retool just to stay even.
Readers may appreciate seeing some of our past covers. The 60 covers on the next six pages are representative of the companies and products that have made it possible for us to provide you with the Pallet Enterprise over the past 20 years. If you enjoy reading the Enterprise, tell your suppliers. They make it all possible!
1982 The second issue of the Enterprise featured an article on the NWPCA's new logo-marked pallet program. The association was trying to market a quality pallet program in the deepest recession since the Great Depression. While it marked a step in the right direction by our industry, the program eventually dwindled.
The NWPCA kicked off its "Wood is the Way to Go" trade advertising program in our March/April issue. Over the next couple of years, the association spent a significant amount of money promoting wood to the industry's customers. The program was discontinued due to its high cost and limited success.
1985 The Pallet Design System (PDS) was introduced by the NWPCA and Virginia Tech. Since then PDS has developed as the premier computer tool for designing pallets. The original program has been upgraded over the years to include block pallets, panel deck pallets, and will soon include repaired/recycled pallets.
An article on the first Southern Illinois University pallet industry and customer study became one of the most requested articled during our early years. The survey has been conducted every five years since then. In Nov./Dec. Dr. Bill Luppold analyzed the factors that affect pallet demand.
1986 We covered alternative pallet and box materials for the first time and introduced the facts surrounding the automotive industry's switch from wooden pallets and corrugated boxes to returnable plastic containers. We featured articles on alternatives to both permanent and shipping wooden pallets. The Sept./Oct. issue carried a second article about the automotive industry's switch to plastic containers.
1987 The NWPCA released its initial report, written by Marv Chell of Viking Engineering, on how it was working with the Automotive Industry Action Group in order to continue the use of wooden pallets in the auto industry.
The March/April issue focused on marketing and multi-media. Articles included Dr. Bill Luppold's insights into pallet markets, using computers in marketing pallets, the marketing philosophy of Viking Engineering, and a regional comparison of the pallet industry.
Our focus on wooden containers included articles on a Weyerhaeuser OSB plant in North Carolina, benefits of plywood, the wooden pallet-bin market in the Eastern states, and the Big Bin plywood bin.
1989 We carried our first comprehensive report of pallet management, including articles on the Canadian Pallet Council system, CHEP, National Pallet Leasing, Inc., and an overview on pallet pooling.
We also reported on Penn Pallet treating pallets with a dip tank and Tim-bor chemicals to kill ants and other insects.
1990 CHEP moved into the U.S. pallet market. Can you believe it was just over 10 years ago? CHEP outlines proposed benefits of pallet rental. After concerns over patent infringement in the machinery industry, we carried an article about obtaining a patent and patent holders' rights.
The grocery industry made its so-called "pallet problem" public. The NWPCA took an active role defending the wooden pallet in this important arena. The NWPCA recognized Bob Moore of Pallox for his work in co-chairing the automotive industry's expendable packaging committee and writing the expendable systems guidelines.
First National Pallet Rental announced its intentions to establish a pallet rental pool. Attention in this issue was focused on mixing hardwoods and softwoods to design the most economical pallet for a job. Acuma announced its new presswood pallet plant in New Brunswick, Canada. It was a flop, illustrating the danger of making a product to create jobs instead of for a market.
1991 Environmental issues entered the forest products industry's radar screen. The environmental decade of the 90s was upon us. Concern over wetlands emerged.
1992 The Buyers' Guide contained our first alert about the new German recycling law (green dot program), which has influenced recycling laws, including packaging, across Europe and even the U.S.
The grocery industry sub-committee recommended adopting a 48x40 full four-way block style pallet. The industry was making it increasingly clear that it would rather rent pallets and let somebody else have the headaches associated with ownership. This development caused great concern and set the stage for CHEP and possibly others to set up pallet rental networks, particularly using block pallets.
The NWPCA established its new Uniform Voluntary Products Standard for wooden pallets.
Articles on block pallets included J.R.'s new Unipal II, Viking's new Champion III, the strengths of stringer pallets and block pallets, and a comparison of methods of block pallet assembly.
The Pallet Profile Weekly expanded its outreach and staff just in time to serve the industry during its raw material crunch. Jeff McBee joined our staff in May. We put the lumber market and environmental factors in perspective in this issue. Bruce Vincent, a logger and environmental speaker known by many in our industry, spoke at the Midwest Show on the environmental threat to forest products.
1993 Palletgate, a pallet fraud scam, hit our industry from out of nowhere. Scam artists were buying but never paying for pallets, usually used 48x40s, and selling them to others (usually other pallet companies) at an attractive price. They quickly moved on to avoid detection and apprehension. We worked in conjunction with the International Association of Pallet Recyclers to help the FBI bring an end to this scam, and at least one of the perpetrators went to jail.
We helped the NWPCA publicize its new SPEQ quality program outside of the association.
Our article on Corrugated Pallet Corporation's heavy duty corrugated pallet literally had the company's phone ringing off the hook. More wooden pallet people were examining alternatives to provide a more complete service to their customers.
Concern over one of the tightest lumber supplies to hit our industry was widespread. Our editorial coverage included the trend toward substituting softwoods for hardwoods in the East and Midwest.
'Fossil Bill' Kramer, the 'Angry Environmentalist,' began appearing as a regular monthly columnist in May. Bill passed away a few years ago. He continues to be missed by many. His column was the most anticipated we have ever had the good fortune of publishing.
After years of shipping different products on different size pallets, the fresh fruit and vegetable industry recommended switching to a 48x40 footprint. This move provided the thrust for today's widespread use of 48x40s in produce as well as the penetration of pallet rental.
Our first Enterprise Lumber Source was published in September; it has become an annual publication with a Web site version.
Quality and safety related articles included the concepts of benchmarking, lockout/tagout, and participation in the voluntary consultation OSHA program to catch potential violations before they become a problem.
1994 Ridge Pallets shares its successful I4 = People for Pallets program, which gets employees involved with the company. Ridge is noted for its human resources emphasis. Our article on Potomac Supply, one of our most memorable pallet company features, focused on six benchmarks developed by Potomac that can help progressive pallet companies.
Environmental issues stayed in high gear throughout the year as the Enterprise continued its popular 'Angry Environmentalist' column and published articles on the impact of the Endangered Species Act on Western logging and a series of articles about ecosystem management. Chaille Brindley, later to become our most thorough researcher and a highly regarded writer and staff member, wrote his "Bicycles & Bovine" article, exposing the government for turning bully in its land grabs.
A number of articles from the Center for Forest Products Marketing and Management at Virginia Tech have appeared in our pages. A study on the use of new and recycled wood material was presented this year.
Pallet Management Systems was the first U.S. pallet company to go public in the later part of the year.
A nail shortage hit the continent because of a steel rod shortage and insufficient domestic manufacturing capacity. Stanley-Bostitch ceased manufacturing bulk pallet nails early in the year, and Duo-Fast dedicated its pallet bulk nail capacity to Viking next year. The bulk nail supply problem came with little warning after years of a stable supply.
1995 The FasTrack testing program at Virginia Tech, which began in 1992 for accelerated pallet testing, started being used for plywood pallets as well.
Edgar Lozano, who operated a San Antonio recycling plant, shared insights on doing business in Mexico, a rapidly growing pallet market.
Commercial Lumber in California made its exceptional training videos available to the rest of the industry.
Family Business First was organized to bring together family owned forest products companies to look after their national interests. This group took on lobbying efforts at the federal level on behalf of family run businesses in all phases of forest products.
Drs. White and Leichti presented interesting and somewhat surprising results comparing the performance of red alder pallets to eastern oak, yellow poplar, and southern yellow pine pallets.
Because of continued industry interest, we published another article on corrugated pallets and corrugated pallet suppliers. DLC Poly Products presented a fusing process for replacing nails when assembling plastic lumber pallets.
We introduced our 'Pallet Salute' feature, which recognizes people who have made outstanding contributions to our industry.
1996 Home Depot announced a shift from pallets to slipsheets to save money, increase efficiency and by-pass pallet management systems. As many of us expected, this move did not work as well as Home Depot had hoped, but it signaled the growing unrest with wooden pallets by some major users.
A move to change the name of the National Wooden Pallet and Container Association to 'The Pallet Association' brought a round of protests that association leaders had not expected. Although the Board of Directors had already approved it, a small number of determined members were successful in rallying others to defeat the name change idea, at least for the time being.
A quota was placed on Canadian softwood lumber entering the U.S. The five year quota program was not well received by the pallet industry.
Roofing shingle manufacturers joined the list of pallet using industries that were examining their palletization programs and pallet specifications. In the end, though, they could not agree. People want to change for efficiency sake, but they usually want everybody else to adapt to them.
Pallet Pallet announced its PalletBanking program, where equivalent pallets were traded around the country just like similar money is exchanged. Pallet Pallet later folded, but PalletBanking was an idea that some thought had merit.
The Center for Unit Load Design was established to complement the Sardo Pallet Lab at Virginia Tech. The Center studies the interaction between material handling equipment, packaging, and the pallet or container.
Trends in the soft drink industry, unit loads for air shipments, and partnerships between recyclers and alternative material manufacturers were just some of the marketing related issues addressed this year.
1997 PalEx, a publicly traded pallet company, was formed from three well known U.S. pallet companies that had a combined sales of about $100 million. Our 20th anniversary issue contains an article about PalletOne, the newly formed pallet manufacturing company that has its roots in IFCO Systems and PalEx.
Again, duties on steel rod caused concern over pallet nail supplies and prices. This same situation is present again in late 2001.
Peco, formed by over two dozen established pallet companies, started developing a pallet rental program with a focus on the grocery industry.
Wood panel alternatives and hardware for returnable containers were examined in the May issue.
The CPC celebrated its 20th anniversary as a Canadian pallet ownership pool.
A survey showed that the grocery industry's trend toward preferring plastic pallets continues.
1998 A survey of pallet users shows they are keen on environmental issues and view plastic pallets as a way to conserve natural resources.
The Canadian Wood Pallet and Container Association tailored the ISO 9000 quality certification program for the pallet industry.
The April issue focused on wooden reels.
The Wall Street Journal article was no April Fools joke. Published on April 1, the headline read, "Hitting the Skids - As Old Pallets Pile Up, Critics Hammer Them As a New Eco-Menace." In spite of conversations with our industry's leaders that lasted literally hours, Daniel Machalaba wrote an absurd account of wooden pallets. He stated, "They can deliver the goods, but they clog landfills and gobble up trees." Our industry was outraged, and many readers wrote the paper to object.
Following on the heels of the WSJ article, General Motors ran an ad in Newsweek that promoted the safety of its cars. The two-page ad showed the rear of a flat-bed truck carrying a haphazard stack of pallets. Our industry was incensed and objected to GM, but the ad ran its original schedule.
We reported on Duraskid's pallets, which were made from a proprietary composite consisting largely of recycled plastic and wood.
The Internet continued drawing more interest from the pallet industry. Chaille wrote a series of articles on the Internet for those of us who are electronically challenged.
Returnable Product Containers (RPCs) started to be accepted in the produce industry. Wal-Mart became the driving force behind this concept.
National Pallet Leasing reached an agreement with Pallet Pallet to use PalletBanking, but soon they seemed to just drift off into the sunset.
Two articles featured companies that build crates and containers for the U.S. Army and transporting wildlife.
Discussions about legal ownership of pallets that are "floating" around our society became heated. The issue expanded to include rental pallets that leave their controlled pool, and the topic became an important issue for the NWPCA.
John Clarke, director of the Center for Unit Load Design, wrote an article to help readers understand corrugated boxes.
After the NWPCA name change issue, a concern arose when the board moved to change the by-laws to drop the statement, "The purposes of this association shall be to promote the general welfare of the wooden pallet and container industries..."
1999 Pallets assembled with adhesive and tested at Virginia Tech's Pallet Lab showed potential for niche markets.
OSHA regulations spelled out in greater detail what training is now required for forklift operators.
An interview with Dr. Mark White focused on increasing lawsuits involving pallet failures and what pallet manufacturers can do to control risk.
Articles described the knock-down wooden packaging options offered by Hardy-Graham and Clip-Lok.
According to a market survey, plywood bins are entrenched and heavily favored over plastic among fruit-producing regions of the Northwest.
Reusable RPC container usage expanded rapidly in the United Kingdom. Will the U.S. follow its lead?
Edgar Lozano had a story to tell about his company, Atlas Pallet. It started out as a disagreement with CHEP over pallet ownership and turned into police raids and a criminal trial. It is our understanding that a lawsuit over this is still pending next year.
On-line pallet auctions caused a controversial stir. Beginning with Quaker Oats, Free Markets began helping large companies buy pallets via the Internet. Bids for pallet supply contracts were submitted on-line. Many pallet people believe there is no real margin to reduce pallet prices further, so this kind of auction can just hurt the industry and those who participate.
A federal research institute singled out pallet and container manufacturing and logging as some of the most hazardous small businesses in the U.S.
Bruce Peterson, vice president of perishables for Wal-Mart, believes that RFID (radio frequency identification) will begin to change the dynamics of unit load movement when the cost comes down enough.
Computer manufacturers cooperated to develop a standard pallet for use through the entire supply chain.
The Pallet Lab released the new Windows version of PDS; it had help screens, was Y2K compliant and was compatible with most printers, and handled metric conversion.
Dr. Patrick Moore, a founder of Greenpeace, presented an inspirational and educational analysis of biodiversity at the Pallet Summit in Cincinnati. He told how to respond to preservationist claims.
2000 Our January issue carried what is still the most easily read and understood article on Europallets, including USEPAL. U.S. pallet makers have been slow to become registered Europal suppliers, but the potential benefits of this program seem promising.
Wirebound containers, while not new, braced to compete again in the produce market. This time it would be competing against plastic PRCs as well as corrugated, which took the market from wirebounds several decades ago.
Our April issue featured the drum reconditioning industry.
As manufacturers increasingly treat pallets and containers as assets, cleaning of shipping platforms will emerge as a new service opportunity for pallet manufacturers and recyclers; our May issue provides insights into this potential.
CHEP continued to expand its market share of grocery product unit loads.
Our June report about on-line pallet auctions is still the most complete and thorough printed information on the subject. They spell potential problems for our industry if they persist.
The CPC dropped the idea of expanding into the U.S. and required end plating of stringers on new pallets.
We first heard about international standards to control pests in wood packaging. Before the end of 2001 this would develop into a major concern.
We reported on e-lumber markets, Internet based sites for buying and selling lumber.
Plastic lumber, made of a mixture of plastic and wood fiber, continues to experience some market growth.
Four years after it reported it would switch from pallets to slipsheets, Home Depot claimed to find its solution in CHEP pallets. The home improvement leader is trying to move toward its newly found answer.
Dr. Mark White reported at the CWPCA annual convention that pallet standards will become more widely accepted as businesses become more global in nature.
2001 Since it started in 1996, Peco has always had the same goal - to be a profitable number two player in the market dominated by CHEP. Since obtaining some needed financing, Peco has been steadily building pallets, adding new customers and signing new distributors. Recent customers include BJ's Wholesale Club, A&P (test basis), Sparton Foods in Mich., and H.E. Butt in Tex.
In early March, Congress rolled back the new ergonomics rules that President Clinton had rushed out just before leaving office; our industry will not have to comply with unneeded, burdensome regulations.
The Enterprise launched a new, unique Web site for the exchange of new and used forest products equipment.
Dr. Mark White released the results of an e-tailing study that suggests retailing methods of the future, including shopping via the Internet, will require increased unitization of products and pallet use. The industry had been concerned that e-tailing might reduce palletization, but that does not appear to be true.
International shipping containers and pallets became probably the hottest issue this year. We carried the first comprehensive article about the Asian long-horned beetle and the coming EU emergency standard for softwood packaging. The solution became heat treating wood to 56 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes and giving the pallet an appropriate mark. After Oct. 1, heat treatment is required of all softwood pallets shipped from the U.S. and Canada to the EU. By 2003, heat treatment is likely to be required of all solid wood packaging shipped internationally. Corrugated pallets are receiving increased attention due to the new international concern over solid wood pallets and containers.
The grocery industry attributed less product damage to pallets, and pallet quality has improved.
Buckeye Recyclers in Ohio brought a lawsuit against CHEP. The suit focuses on the issues of pallet ownership and reimbursing recyclers for expenses related to retrieving CHEP pallets.
An article looked at the impact of pallets on a building's fire hazard and compared wood and plastics. Wood often comes out on top in this discussion, but the facts are still evolving.
A three-part plastic pallet primer provided information about manufacturing methods, characteristics, and applications of plastic pallets..
New research showed that fewer pallets are reaching landfills, but landfills continue to offer the potential for partnering opportunities.
Brambles Industries and GKN, the two companies that own the CHEP joint venture agreed to merge their shares of CHEP and fold them into Brambles, which had been the more visible partner in CHEP's operation.
The five-year quota system on Canadian lumber imported into the U.S. expired in March, and the U.S. Commerce Department placed a 19.3% duty on Canadian lumber effective in May and a 12.6% antidumping duty effective in November. While pallet kits of pallet cut stock are not covered by these two duties, they have an undesirable effect on our industry, according to many pallet companies.
The week after Interpal V, Dr. Mark White met with the international standards committee, and they approved the new international pallet testing project.
Hays Container Services, well known in the United Kingdom, entered the U.S. RPC rental market by serving California grape growers. Jim Vangelos, formerly with CHEP, is president of the U.S. division.
The U.S. investigated whether or not the domestic steel industry had been harmed by imports. It found in favor of the U.S. steel industry except for the wire, rod, and nail industries. However, there is a countervailing duty on imported rod from a separate investigation. Imported nails are not likely to be affected, but raw material coming into U.S. nail manufacturing plants could raise the cost of producing nails domestically.
1982 Viking introduced its new 'no direct labor' notching machine. One of the early machinery developments covered editorially in the Enterprise, this in-line notcher failed to catch on.
The use of micro-computers has paralleled closely the development of the Pallet Enterprise. Our first article on computers explained how they could be used for management control of a pallet plant.
1983 The Sept./Oct. issue focused almost exclusively on computer applications in the pallet industry. By this time we had established a pattern of focusing on a particular topic or line of machinery in each issue.
J.R. Retrofit acquired the pallet nailing division of FMC. Neither FMC nor J.R. nailing machines have been made in over a decade.
1984 Viking announced a partnering relationship with Corali, an Italian manufacturer of stitching nailing systems; the relationship was dissolved in a few years.
1985 Campbell Atlantic (later reorganized as GBN) introduced its 1202 nailing system. We published our first feature of a nail manufacturing plant (Halstead Enterprises, which later sold its plant to Stanley Bostitch).
Both Viking Engineering and Producto Saw Systems (Producto ceased manufacturing saws in the 90s) celebrated their 10th anniversaries.
J.R. Retrofit, which started about the same time we were planning to start Pallet Enterprise, celebrated its fifth anniversary.
We continued our occasional editorial focus on computers in May/June.
Viking Engineering acquired Ballinger board stacking systems.
1986 Viking introduced two new Duo-Matic nailing machine models.
Holtec introduced its package saws into the North American market; it established itself as a package saw leader within a few years after Sam Rashid took over North American marketing and sales responsibilities.
Our fifth anniversary issue featured some new machinery from the Midwest Show. Viking introduced its Champion nailing system, which has developed into a popular choice. Waechter Machinery (no longer in business) introduced the forerunner to today's popular horizontal thin-kerf bandsawing systems. WoodKraft and Froedge both introduced new pallet saws to their product lines.
1988 MidContinent Nail entered the bulk pallet nail business with its Malden, Mo. plant, making it the only nail manufacturer dedicated solely to bulk pallet nails.
Can you believe that fax machines were a brand new toy? We helped inform the industry of their benefits and made them available at a competitive price.
Campbell introduced its new Buccaneer lumber stacker. The Enterprise introduced readers to pallet inverters, part of our goal to keep readers informed about materials handling options.
Our last issue introduced the new Cornell vertical board stacker and Eureka's new tri-slot circular saw concept.
1989 The May/June issue featured thin-kerf sawing in its infancy. We introduced the Baker Band Resaw and reported on the Viking Pallet Master and Waechter resaw systems.
1990 Viking and Wood-Mizer introduced new thin-kerf horizontal bandsaws. Profile Technology began retrofitting cutter heads for indexable carbide cutters. Pendu offered a new machine that notches a cut-to-length cant before it is resawn into stringers. Pendu improved its existing scragg mill to cut square cants.
1991 Viking celebrated its 100th Champion nailing system, and nail information from Virginia Tech was made available. Wood-Mizer enters the arena as a manufacturer of pallet lumber processing machinery.
Tipton Iron Works introduced its double-arbor scragg mill, which enabled a single operator to turn small logs into three-sided cants.
1992 Buck Industries developed its Buck nailing systems, which use large rolls of collated nails for making pallets; this concept later became the Rayco line of equipment.
We introduced readers to Morgan Band Resaws and its expanding line of machinery. Viking introduced its Explorer block pallet nailing system. A new Eagle high speed nailing system was introduced, but it has yet to really be released to the pallet market. Wood-Mizer introduced its new scragg mill, a system with many unique engineering innovations. The innovations proved to be too involved to be attractive to the market, however.
GBN Manufacturing was founded on the youth and energy of three former Campbell Atlantic employees; the new company will produce nailing and materials handling systems and maintain Campbell machinery already in the field.
1993 Keystone Fasteners and Tree Island Industries both expanded their involvement in manufacturing bulk pallet nails.
Due to the tight lumber supply conditions, scragg mills made a big comeback. We analyzed their potential benefits and covered the spectrum of scragg mill manufacturers.
1994 Baker Products introduced its new round-to-ready system for cutting small low-grade logs into pallet stock. Cornell Manufacturing completed its business restructuring by choosing Kay Wilson as executive vice president (she now owns the company) and Wallace Griffin as president and CEO (now deceased).
1995 West Plains Resaw introduced its new 400 Series bandsaws, a 4-inch bandsaw that later anchored its line of saws for pallet manufacturers and sawmillers.
In its 20th anniversary year, Viking introduced its Turbo 505 tandem mailing system, which rapidly became the company's best selling high speed nailing system.
MidContinent Nail opened its second nail manufacturing plant in Radford, Va.
Brewco's new board line provided a new twist to processing inexpensive hardwood tie siding and low-grade lumber into pallet stock.
Pendu introduced three new board stackers to expand its line of machinery to stack directly behind notching machines and horizontal band resaws.
1996 Greg Wine formed G. Wine Sales to serve the pallet industry, representing West Plains Machinery and also selling used nailing systems. (He expanded in 2001 to represent Corali's nailing systems and lumber manufacturing systems in the U.S.)
Sam Baker formed Kent Corporation, which has grown and is now recognized for its affordable sawing machinery.
Baker Products tried a new idea, a horizontal thin-kerf sawmill that swivels at the end to cut in both directions. Baker no longer offers this concept.
1997 Pacific Trail Manufacturing, a new company with an established management team, offers a package saw product line.
MidContinent Nail introduced its new Magnum Cheetah nailing system. (This innovative machine was later discontinued.)
Baker introduced it circular and band end-dogging scragg mills as part of its new sawmill division.
Brewer's new Golden Eagle Total Compliance division addressed the safety and first aid needs of its customers.
1998 Bronco introduced a new system to assemble corrugated pallets.
Viking developed its new Sentinel pallet assembly system for smaller pallet manufacturers.
Thom Labrie of Auburn Machinery wrote about the potential benefits of green finger jointing for pallet companies and sawmills.
Baker Products celebrated 10 years since president Ed Baker designed his first thin-kerf band resaw. Baker unveiled the Baker Bang saw, which incorporated thin-kerf band technology with the multiple cuts often associated with gang saws.
1999 Baker introduced its new line of PAQ band resaws.
Pallet Chief Manufacturing added the tandem Pallet Chief IV nailing system to its line. The Pallet Chief IV is the company's highest speed nailing option.
2000 Preliminary tests of Eureka's innovative circular saw blade for gang saws suggested it might come close to matching the performance of thin-kerf bandsaw systems.
Conner Equipment Sales unveiled its first machines under its nameplate at the Richmond EXPO. Conner will distribute the growing line of Cape machinery, which is manufactured in Spain.
Viking developed its new QC305 Champion with reduced changeover times of reportedly 15 to 20 minutes.
New machinery exhibited at the Richmond EXPO included: Baker's accu-sharp for sharpening bandsaw blades; the Sidewinder deduster by Professional Packaging; computer software for pallet manufacturing plants by Forestry Systems; Kent Corporation's new automated run-around system coupled with its Blockhead band resaw; the Mark I by Trace Equipment designed for one-operator dismantling; new auto-feed chop saw by Heartland; Rotochopper's new electric stationary wood waste processing machine to grind and color waste wood into colored mulch; Brewco's B-1600 Big Band comes with Brewco's new automatic feed control; a new 10-inch trim saw for pallet recyclers from Saw Service & Supply; a new High Point two-head band resaw; a new Smetco bandsaw dismantling machine with a floating table top and curved fence; and Moon's new device for polishing saw blades from 4-inches to 32-inches.
Macon Machine announced its new service for upgrading and automating Viking Duo-Matic nailing machines; Macon's Auto Pallet eliminates cams and reduces changeover times.
Our curved sawing report focused on the issue of sawing poor quality logs with sweep or crook.
2001 Viking targeted its Sentinel for both low-volume pallet manufacturers and recyclers and also larger companies that may require a system for short runs.
Bronco's new Mustang 4000 featured a powered nailing gantry using coils of 3,000 nails. Completed pallets are stacked automatically with a foot switch.
Wood-Mizer introduced its new LT300 thin-kerf head rig sawmill for sawing both grade and pallet lumber at higher production levels.
We examined how proper maintenance can improve the performance of band blades and saws.
GBN Machine and Engineering Corp. marked its 10th year of supplying nailing and materials handling systems to the pallet industry.
New Brewer Millennium gang saw has an adjustable top arbor for thinner kerf.
Pallet Recycling and Repairing
1984 Our July/Aug. cover was the first to feature a recycling machine, but this prototype machine never made it to the marketplace. This issue also included our first article that featured pallet recycling machinery. It also carried our first two features on pallet recycling companies.
1985 We introduced both the Rotoshear and the Wakeem Manufacturing dismantler (neither is still in production). RIPJAK introduced its Double J line of machinery.
1986 The Sept./Oct. issue carried an overview of pallet recycling machinery suppliers. This list of suppliers 15 years ago makes interesting reading: Anderson Pallet Dismantling Machine, Columbia Industrial Products, John L. Johnson Associates, MJB Industries, Pallet Systems Manufacturing, Roger Associates, Smetco, Viking Engineering & Development, and Woodthorn Corp. Many of these companies are no longer in business; only three actively work with the recycling industry.
The Roger 54B was introduced as a refinement to the once popular Roger Un-Nailer.
1987 Our pallet repair issue announced improvements made on the Sidewinder dismantler and carried an article on using wooden pallet fiber for poultry litter.
1989 We introduced Clary, a new company to recycling but one with an established record of success. We reported on Smetco's recycling machinery advances, the use of staples for pallet repair, and the Viking/Olathe chipper. Pallet grinders were featured.
1990 Woodthorn introduced the Pass/One disassembly machine. Our recycling issue focused on stringer plating. It also explained the types of dismantling machinery and provided information on each machinery manufacturer.
1991 Our wood fiber issue included coverage of chunkrete, wood fuel, and fiber markets.
1992 We featured the relatively new concept of coloring ground pallet fiber to make colored mulch. This has developed into a good value-added wood fiber market that still holds promise almost 10 years later.
The NWPCA developed new pallet repair categories. In spite of good intentions, it has proven very difficult to bring standards or quality control into pallet recycling. The IAPR and NWPCA continued to fight over the leadership role in pallet recycling.
An article covered repair practices for block pallets. Becker Underwood announced its entry into the colored mulch machinery and colorant market.
Our Nov./Dec. issue reported the first pallet stringer plating research from the Pallet Lab.
1993 Industrial Reporting, publisher of the Enterprise and Pallet Profile Weekly, produced its first pallet recycling study. One of the biggest indicators of change is the approximately 20% growth rate of pallet recycling, which repeated itself throughout several more surveys during the 1990s.
Our recycling issues carried articles on all NWPCA and IAPR meetings, along with expanding coverage of colored mulch opportunities and major suppliers of grinders and pallet recycling machinery.
PRANA (Pallet Recycling Associates of North America) was started to purchase successful pallet recyclers and form them into a service related network.
Recycling issues that we featured included pallet plating and lifting pallets with overhead devices, such as Industrial Resources' new Skyhook and Woodthorn's Sort-Tech.
1994 As recycling continued to grow, we carried a larger number of articles featuring recyclers across North America.
The NWPCA announced a new program to help close the loop for produce pallets - the guaranteed pallet buy-back program. It never reached any degree of success.
The NWPCA SPEQ program expanded with pallet repair standards. In spite of good intentions and valiant efforts, the recycling industry today still resists efforts to develop standards.
Colored mulch continued to gain ground. Exterior Designs established a mobile on-site mulch coloring service.
We featured bandsaw pallet dismantling because it was rapidly becoming the most popular method of taking apart pallets. It is versatile and provides smoother fastener cutting. Only two of the companies that were making band dismantlers at that time are still doing so - Smart and PDI, Inc., but a number of other machinery manufacturers offer bandsaw dismantlers.
1995 An article on CHEP's Trafford Park, England pallet repairing facility featured the most modern, automated facility in the world at that time. Broken pallet parts were automatically cut out from block pallets. Between the inspection stage and the repair bench stage, where workers replace removed parts, no labor was involved.
The Pallet Profile began including used pallet prices and a monthly recycled pallet market report.
1996 Jim Doyle sold his pallet recycling plants to PRANA so that he could focus solely on MSI, his machinery manufacturing company. He introduced the concepts of 'nailing on the fly' and 'prepping' as the corner posts of his sortation/repair systems.
Pallet Repair Systems (PRS) expanded its recycling machinery line, including the Pallet Doctor Sizer, which used Profile Technology carbide cutters to size through nails as well as lumber.
Industrial Resources started using virtual reality software to design complete pallet handling and sortation systems as well as individual machines.
1997 The Center for Forest Products Marketing published research on wooden pallets in municipal solid waste landfills.
Dr. Mark White completed research on the relative performance of new and used GMA pallets.
The NWPCA launched the new CPR program for certified pallet repairs and later decided to establish a CPR licensing program. The Pallet Lab released preliminary test results showing that splicing can restore bending strength in stringers.
1998 OSHA began looking at bandsaw dismantling machines, which caused some concern for recyclers, but the case in question was settled.
A survey, sponsored by the NWPCA's Penny-a-Pallet program, showed an increase (doubling from 10% to 20%) of pallet users who use a third-party pallet management company.
1999 A pallet recycler received benefits from using bar code technology in its operations.
A decrease in quality cores from distribution centers due to third-party pallet management services caused problems with core supplies.
Clarence Leising of Bronco began a series of recycling columns that continues. He views recycling from the perspective of a man with decades of experience managing recycling plants.
Smart Products developed a new lumber recovery system that includes a bandsaw pallet dismantling machine in-line with an unscrambler and a chain-fed trim saw.
2000 Clarence Leising shared his views on combination pallets, which have grown in popularity the last several years.
Becker-Underwood introduced its Second Harvester Sahara which produced drier colored mulch by using significantly less water.
Pellet fuel was inspected as an alternative product for recycled wood fiber.
2001 Thom Labrie carried the partnership effort between Auburn Machine and Profile Technology into another year. Getting more value-added product from the wood fiber waste stream is their theme.
New West Salem Machinery Brute pallet grinder offered a portable option for recyclers who require a heavy-duty but mobile grinder.
More recyclers are growing by designing innovative pallet management solutions. Many pallet users need third-party assistance that is not simply pallet rental in its conventional form.
Becker Underwood expanded by acquiring Wood'n Colors.
Smetco introduced a new bandsaw dismantler, trim saw, and notching machine.
1986 The March/April issue was our first international issue; we spelled our title in French - Palette Enterprise. It carried an article about the first Interpal, which was held in Hamburg, Germany in October, 1985. Features included articles on a Canadian partnership and a Swiss pallet manufacturer.
1987 The May/June issue was our second to feature international topics, including articles on a German pallet manufacturer, Pinheiro machinery and Auburn Machinery, and advances made by the CWPCA.
Our July/Aug. issue announced the upcoming financial ratio study, which was sponsored by the NWPCA and conducted by a group of researchers that included our publisher, Dr. Ed Brindley.
1988 The international issue featured pallet companies in Ireland and the UK, and the CWPCA tour of Michigan pallet plants.
After a CNN newscast that showed a wooden pallet coming apart when dropped, Viking analyzed the film to expose its fraud. The CNN crew had rigged the test by detaching a top lead board before letting the test pallet topple to the ground. The lead board appeared to explode off into the air. Thanks to Viking for helping us break the story and get to the bottom of it.
Our May/June issue featured the first Michigan State University Palletization/Unitization Seminar. We attended every MSU seminar to provide readers with important information on pallet customers and alternative products. This issue also covered the Logistex '88, the first materials handling show we attended. We now annually cover the ProMat and North American materials handling shows.
NWPCA announced an 18 month enhanced wood research project to examine alternative coatings for a pallet's surface. The project was successfully completed but failed to produce an enhanced wood pallet for the market. Price continues to be the most important driving force behind the vast majority of pallet buying decisions.
We closed out 1988 with coverage of the Missouri Show, the Atlanta Expo, and Interpal '88 in Ottawa, Canada.
1989 The pallet industry mourned the passing of Dr. Walt Wallin, one of the foremost researchers who ever worked with the wooden pallet industry.
1990 The NWPCA recycling meeting drew over 150 people from this growing part of our industry.
The CWPCA toured New Zealand and Australian pallet plants.
The International Association of Pallet Recyclers (IAPR) was formed at a recyclers meeting in Cleveland, Oh. (This association was later absorbed by the NWPCA.)
1991 The electric excitement in the air at first IAPR meeting was a major factor in building the organization.
1992 The first Pallet Summit in Memphis was probably the single most exciting pallet meeting ever held. Attendees rallied around their concern for CHEP and its emerging pallet rental system.
1993 Our first article on the largest international forest products machinery show, the Ligna show in Hannover, Germany, was supplied by Jim Gookin of Viking Engineering.
The annual NWPCA meeting featured an extremely successful tour of Ridge Pallet, the first tour in memory as part of an annual meeting. At the Richmond EXPO in May, a similar tour of Potomac Supply gave a one-two pallet tour punch that will probably never be beaten.
1995 This year's Pallets West grew significantly, as did the accompanying NWPCA/Western Pallet Association meeting; both set records. (Unfortunately the growth trend subsided by 2001; the future of Pallets West for 2003 remains in doubt.)
1996 The NWPCA, CWPCA, and IAPR met together for the first time just prior to the Richmond EXPO, and IAPR announced it would consolidate with the NWPCA.
The CWPCA thanked Gordon Hughes for his 25 years of leadership.
Rumors persist that the Canadian Pallet Council (CPC) will come to the U.S. (Later the CPC announced that it did not have the resources to enter the U.S. market.)
1997 The NWPCA celebrated its 50th anniversary, and the CWPCA celebrated its 30th anniversary.
1998 Susan Larson became the first woman to chair the board of the NWPCA.
1999 Wallace Griffin ,president and CEO of Cornell, passed away. ‘Fossil Bill' Kramer, the 'Angry Environmentalist,' passed away. John Healy, president of the NWPCA for over 10 years, resigned to become vice president of business development for PalEx.
2000 Bruce Scholnick was chosen as the new NWPCA president. David Sweitzer replaced Earl Pennington as executive vice president of the Western Pallet Association.
2001 Dr. George Stern, who started and managed the Pallet Lab at Virginia Tech, passed away; George was a prolific researcher in pallets and fasteners. Emil Holzwart, a consultant in the pallet industry and occasional author in the Enterprise, passed away.
Landmark Anniversary Issues
10th Anniversary The Nov/Dec. 1991 issue contained a variety of 'Pallet 101' type articles. They included a regional comparison of the pallet industry from the 1990 So. Ill. University study, the new NWPCA Penny-a-Pallet program to promote wooden pallets, the value of pallet associations, geographically varied characteristics of wooden pallets, an update of the grocery pallet controversy, the PDS pallet design system, what does a board foot mean in the pallet industry, a projection of pallet trends into the future, the importance of pallet research, and the importance of attending the right trade show.
15th Anniversary Like its cousin five years earlier, the Nov/Dec. 1996 15th anniversary issue was a keeper. Features included a second article on Potomac Supply, an industry leader in quality, and an article on the five NWPCA regional meetings to discuss the industry's vision for its future.
'Pallet 101' articles included a regional comparison of the pallet industry from So. Illinois' 1995 industry study, the results of Industrial Reporting's 1995 pallet recycling study, the problems and opportunities presented by moisture or water in wood, and a historical perspective of how pallets changed the materials handling industry by Bill Sardo. After five years of striving and promises, third-party pallet management was finally starting to become reality.Page 1 Page 2