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British Pallet Company Stays On Track for Growth, Expansion Tyne & Wear Pallets Adds New Storti Nailing Machine
British pallet company takes a ‘lean manufacturing’ approach to business; company adds new Storti Flex 90 nailing machine to increase nailing capacity.
By By Diane M. Calabrese
Date Posted: 6/1/2005
GATESHEAD, England – Efficient, modern, innovative approaches to manufacturing, structured incorporation of automation, and continuously investing in personnel and technology – that is how Tyne & Wear Pallets defines itself.
The British pallet company produces 2 million wooden pallets annually and is still growing. Its customers include
"Tyne & Wear Pallets is committed to manufacturing pallets and other associated wood packaging products to the highest quality using the best achievable manufacturing, efficiency monitoring, health and safety, and quality improvement standards," said Peter McKenzie, the company’s business development manager.
"In our constant drive for success, we believe that the dedication and diligence of all employees is essential," he added.
"We always seek to have a positive impact on the business of our customers by ensuring trust and supply of fine quality products," said Peter. "This is continually reflected by our commitment to ISO 9001:2000 procedures and a useful growth of Six-Sigma schemes to monitor the effectiveness of our customer relationship management."
Peter joined Tyne & Wear Pallets five years ago. He brought with him a different perspective that has impacted the way the company does business. "I am from a very competitive retail background," he explained. "I was very successful in my retail business and finally sold it to join the family pallet manufacturing company."
Coming from an entirely different setting, one that was outside manufacturing, Peter was able to lend a fresh perspective to Tyne & Wear Pallets. "It enabled the company to take a different look at all of the systems and procedures which were in place," he said, "and adopt new and effective business practices."
Tyne & Wear Pallets was launched in 1978 by Peter Alexander McKenzie and Margaret McKenzie, directors. "It was Peter Alexander’s vision and foresight that spotted a gap in the market in the northeast of England and launched the business," said Peter. The founder’s drive and focus of purpose took the company from its small beginnings to its present location in Lamesley, Gateshead on a four acre site with a 160,000-square-foot production plant.
The business began quite modestly, with pallets being assembled by hand. The company has planned growth and invested heavily in manufacturing technology that has enabled Tyne & Wear to automate pallet assembly operations. However, the company retains a focus on achieving the optimum mix of automation and manual assembly in order to serve the widest spectrum of customers in a flexible way.
"We adopt a lean manufacturing approach to all elements of business," said Peter. "Staff development is a key driving force in our continuous improvement policy. When new machines are added, staff training becomes a top priority to ensure there is as little delay as possible in reaching maximum efficiency."
Tyne & Wear recently invested in a Storti automated nailing machine, a model Flex 60 system. The new Storti Flex 60 machine provides fast automated nailing and quick change-over.
Storti is an Italian-based pallet and sawmill machinery manufacturer; it is represented exclusively in North America by G.Wine Sales.
Tyne & Wear also has integrated other Storti systems, such as an automated block cutter and a robotic pallet turner, that allow it to produce seven pallets per minute.
The Storti Flex 60 nailing machine is equipped with Storti’s Pallet-Pro software for designing pallets. Combined with other information technology, the customer is given the opportunity to do ‘virtual world’ experimentation with pallet dimensions and components as well as nail types and nail placement. The software produces basic specifications and prints two- and three-dimensional drawings of pallets.
The new Storti nailing machine will give the company a considerable edge, Peter indicated. However, it is not the only edge. It is the combination of Storti equipment integrated with the technical and production know-how of Tyne & Wear Pallets that will help the company to remain competitive.
"Fast production change-over times are critical to the company’s margins, and the integration of the Storti from a stand-alone machine into automated processes will make huge efficiencies," said Peter. "This is achieved by a well-trained staff and team work."
Tyne & Wear put in place a rigorous training program to get the new Storti nailing machine running at maximum performance quickly. Training was scheduled to be completed at the end of May, and the company planned to expand the machine’s operations from two shifts to three. The company’s other nailing machine also runs around the clock, seven days per week.
Storti, a family-owned business headed by Giancarlo Storti, whose father started the company, has been manufacturing wood-working machinery for more than 40 years. It is located in northern Italy in the town of Cremona, which is 49 miles southeast of Milan.
In North America, in addition to the new Flex 60, Storti markets two other automated pallet nailing systems. The Flex 60 machine drives all the nails in one deck board at the same time. The Storti Flex 2200 and Flex 2600 are beam-type, tandem nailing machines. The Flex 2600 has automated board feeders. Storti nailing machines use bulk pallet nails instead of more expensive collated
In addition to automated pallet nailing machines, Storti manufactures other machinery and equipment for the pallet and sawmill industries. Storti manufactures a complete turnkey scragg mill, which includes log sorting and handling devices, metal detectors, debarkers, slasher saws, and multi-rip, edger and slab recovery machines. Storti also offers its pallet design computer software (Pall-Pro) and pallet testing equipment.
The Storti Flex 2200 is a semi-automated machine while the Flex 2600 is fully automated. Both can assemble stringer or block pallets. The nailing systems can be expanded or adapted to accommodate other in-line machines, such as equipment for chamfering, corner-trimming or branding.
Storti nailing systems can assemble pallets as large as 72x60. They can assemble pallets with two to five stringers and also can assemble wing pallets. Storti nailing systems are known for their rugged construction; they are engineered and built for durable, consistent performance with minimal maintenance. Storti nailing systems can be equipped with optional video cameras and monitors that enable the machine operators to see the side of the pallet that is restricted from view by the nailing station.
Diagnostics on Storti nailing systems include automatic sensors that detect a missed nail and alert the operator. At the request of the operator, the nailing system can also run a self-diagnostic program to identify any machine parts that need attention. The control panel on Storti nailing systems provides information in five different languages.
Storti developed a drop test and an inclined impact tester that are in use at the Italian Center for Wooden Packaging and Logistics.
Tyne & Wear is based in a large metropolitan area with more than 1 million residents known as Tyne and Wear; the Tyne River roughly marks the northern boundary and the Wear River more or less coincides with the southern limit.
The company imports lumber from the Baltic states, mainly softwood, aspen and alder. Pallets are built and treated to meet international phytosanitary standards. The company has two Nardi kilns that are capable of heat-treating 2.8 million pallets annually.
Tyne & Wear is licensed to manufacture EPAL Euro and APME CP chemical industry pallets, but the company also supplies many types of custom pallets.
To assist customers with ordering, Tyne & Wear will produce sample pallets for evaluation. The company also offers an array of finishing options, including chamfering, notching, spray painting, branding and stenciling. It has a fleet of delivery trucks and also uses a large number of contract truckers. Tyne & Wear stocks some pallets so that customers can be supplied quickly. It also offers services to remove surplus pallets.
To dispose of scrap wood material, the waste is supplied to a chipboard plant about 15 miles away.
Tyne & Wear monitors production with computerized controls and forecasting. The rigorous watchfulness ensures compliance with ISO 9002 quality standard registration.
Flexibility plays itself out at every level and in multiple ways at Tyne & Wear. For instance, the company has a designated staff member overseeing each area of operations, such as quality assurance, logistics and production.
The company recently launched a new Web site, www.tynewearpallets.co.uk.
Storti Flex 60: Fast, Flexible Pallet Assembly
Storti customers increasingly realize the benefits of sourcing everything from one supplier, such as single point of contact for advice, service and spare parts. Storti already has sales and support offices in key markets around the world, and it is expanding its network further to provide local contact points for customers.
The Flex 60 is designed for quick change-over, high volume production of stringer pallets, mats and box sides. It features sound proofing to minimize noise, nail sensors, butted board capability, heavy duty construction, compensating nail chucks, clinch nail capabilities and stagger nailing.
In developing the Flex 60, Storti placed high priority on:
• Ergonomics. The width of the machine adjusts automatically to the width of the pallet, so the operator can always load the machine easily. The machine can also be opened to its full width to allow easy access for maintenance and service. Up to three deck board hoppers can be supplied, allowing boards of different widths to be fed in each hopper (i.e., 3.5-inch, 5.5-inch or clipped corners).
• Flexibility. The Flex 60 can produce decks-pallets with three or four stringers, and the distance between each stringer can be different, according to customer specification.
• High volume production and quality. Automatic adjustment of all the main parameters (i.e., nail chucks and stringer rails) means rapid change-over times; the machine can be changed over in five to 10 minutes when switching between different sizes or types of pallets. The set-up for individual decks-pallets can be stored in the controller memory and recalled later for fast, repeatable production. The Flex 60 will drive all the nails for one deck board at one time, fastening the board to the stringer. With one stroke it will drive two nails per stringer in a 3.5-inch wide board and three nails per stringer in a 5.5-inch wide board. A squaring device ensures every pallet is flush and square.Storti is unique in that it manufactures machinery, equipment and software for the entire processing chain to convert raw logs into finished, stacked pallets. Everything is made at the company’s factories in Cremona, Italy, where the Storti Information Technology division — responsible for software and information technology development — is also based.