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Universal Machinery Sales Offers a Complete Machinery Line for All Pallet Manufacturing and Recycling Needs
Mona Tracy has made a name for herself helping pallet companies find cost effective and easy to use equipment. A number of happy customers share how Mona has helped them boost production and reduce labor costs.
Date Posted: 11/1/2012
Two years ago we featured Mona Tracy and her greatly expanded line of machinery to meet the pallet manufacturing and recycling needs for pallet companies with just about any production needs.
Mona has worked with two other companies in the pallet industry. Over the last two years, she launched Universal Machinery Sales to globally expand her market capabilities. Few if any machinery manufacturers have a line of equipment that matches the variety and versatility of the offerings at Universal Machinery Sales. In addition to its flexible line of machinery, Universal Machinery is known for its friendly attitude and ability to answer customers’ questions and satisfy their needs.
Mona supplied us with three companies that have recently bought an assortment of its machines. We spoke with them about why they have chosen Universal Machinery and why they selected particular machines. An overview of these conversations is presented here.
Competitive Pallet Service - Run-A-Gade Pallet Disassembly System and Resaw
Since 1984, Ernie Cooper of Competitive Pallet Service has provided quality pallet products to its customers in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, central Tennessee, and the surrounding areas. Competitive Pallet Service employs about 30 people to both manufacture and recycle pallets for its customer base. Ernie says he likes his business the way it is currently situated in the market. While many pallet companies settled down during the recession in a survival mode, Competitive Pallet has been making the machinery purchases it needed to make to advance into the future as a competitive supplier that can handle its customers’ needs.
Since about 1993, Ernie has relied upon Mona of Universal Machinery Sales to supply the recycling machinery he has needed. He started with a Solo single-head dismantler bought through Mona, later he traded the Solo in to her to purchase a Trio dismantler, and then a year or two ago Ernie traded his Trio in on a Run-A-Gade double head dismantler. When he wanted to advance his recycling and dismantling capability, the Universal Machinery team were there to provide what he wanted and needed, both in machinery, service,
and knowledge. Ernie said, “I have had good experiences with Mona. She has taken care of many of my machinery needs.”
Again Mona took Ernie’s existing machine in on trade as he upgraded to the Run-A-Gade for added production. The tandem Run-A-Gade takes up
less space than two independent bandsaw dismantlers. In essence it incorporates two dismantling saw heads into a single more efficient system. Ernie buys his blades from HUB, which has also been a good supplier for him. He stated, “My Run-A-Gade is much more versatile.”
In addition to his new Run-A-Gade, Ernie bought a new double-head, Morgan style resaw from Universal Machinery about nine months ago. He said, “Given the same situation and needs, I would again buy a Run-A-Gade dismantler and Morgan two head resaw. I am not sorry I made these decisions.” Ernie had a Morgan resaw before. Again Universal took it in on trade for an identical double-head resaw with a return on the other side.
Before buying a Morgan resaw, Competitive Pallet had another brand of resaw that ran well but it did not let the machine operator see what was going on. It didn’t have a return conveyor and did not offer the visibility of a low profile Morgan resaw. Ernie has a twin-head Morgan but notes that even the quad-head has all of its saw heads below the sawing surface so an operator can see what he is doing.
Ernie said he has had good experiences when working with Mona and her team. When needed, they can usually get him a part the next day. That is important because a down machine doesn’t make any money.
Ernie has been proactive and made the investments he needed when he needed to make them. He did not let the recession stand in his way. He does not like the polarization that exists in people’s thinking today, but he has proceeded to advance. He also purchased a new Viking Champion nailer in June of 2011.
Cardinal Pallets LLC - Woodpecker Automatic Nailing System
James Renfro bought Cardinal Pallets LLC in February 2006 and started serving the four states of Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas with used pallets. Cardinal Pallets started as a recycling center in Joplin, Missouri, recycling pallets, cardboard, and paper, and moved into new pallets, hand nailing special orders and small quantities. Cardinal Pallets is heavily involved in trucking and manufacturing pallets for the food industry. Its niche is to do everything it can to assure service for its customers. Quality and service are what make the company stand out.
Many readers may recall the big tornado that ripped through Joplin a few years ago. It did not hit Cardinal but did hit its biggest customer, so Cardinal had to downsize for a while to preserve its cash flow. This is one of the reasons why it turned to Mona at Universal Machinery Sales to consider a Woodpecker nailing machine to produce more pallets with fewer people. Cardinal had started producing pallets by hand but decided it needed a machine to do so efficiently. James purchased a used nailing machine, didn’t like it, did his homework, and turned to the Woodpecker. He liked the Woodpecker design; it was user friendly. It is mainly pneumatic where many other machines are mainly electronic. It has found it to be easier to problem solve.
While Cardinal mainly builds GMA stringer pallets, one of the Woodpecker’s strengths is its flexibility. It can run with from one to three operators depending upon needs. Of course, it gets its greatest production with three operators; Cardinal can build about 160 GMAs an hour with three people and typically about 120 GMA pallets with two operators. It all depends upon employee motivation.
The Woodpecker uses a water fall loading area to drop stringers into the desired spots. Decking is hand placed for both the bottom and top decks, so one of the system benefits is making pallets from used lumber. In one cycle, a new pallet is started and a second pallet is finished.
One of the Woodpecker’s benefits is its simplicity. While Cardinal does not change pallet specifications very often, it is easy to change over and it does not use a computer. Many gantry nailing systems have nail guns bolted to the gantry, but the Woodpecker has a unique air bag system option. With the flip of a switch the air bag inflates to lock and unlock the guns. Bert Stutzman who manufactures the Woodpecker can retrofit other Woodpecker systems in use today to convert them to this air bag adjustment system.
James said, “Virtually no maintenance is required on my Woodpecker. Grease it and keep good air to it and it has hardly any breakdowns. I bought a spare parts kit with my nailer. Keeping the cylinder oiled is an important step. Most of the machine is pneumatic. We use our nailer to build hardwood pallets using either new lumber or recycled lumber.
“The Woodpecker allows you to use extra firing rails to setup multiple pallet nailing options. Instead of moving all the pins, you can flip the air bag switch and swap out the rails in 30 seconds or less. It is so versatile I can build pallets up to 84” long and 64” wide, and four stringers.
“You can adjust the air pressure to each gun and allow it to float. On a different machine we had to raise the whole gantry to adjust the nailing guns.
“It is fantastic working with Mona. She is very knowledgeable and willing to go above and beyond the call of duty. If she can’t help me, she usually knows who can. For example, when I had a pneumatic question, she hooked me up with a man who could help me. Universal Machinery Sales is a great company to work with. I am currently talking to Mona about the possibility of buying a Run-A-Gade bandsaw disassembly system. She has several pieces of machinery that can help us with our pallet recycling needs.”
Pioneer Pallet Brokerage Company - Robo Chop Saw
Robert Rozell, owner of Pioneer Pallet Brokerage Co. in Kansas City, Missouri, has produced both new and used pallets since 1975. Pioneer Pallet bought a Robo Chop Saw from Universal Machinery to cut blocks for block pallets. It has cut both eight-inch and six-inch blocks from new wood. The Robo Chop Saw is used primarily for cutting dimensional lumber. One operator can cut virtually any size from an eight foot piece of lumber. It has a 12 foot infeed and can process material up to eight to 18 feet long.
Robert said, “It’s simple to use. It didn’t come with an instruction manual, but you don’t need one because it is so simple and intuitive.
“It is exact. You can change the size without having to mess with saw stops. The Robo Saw has computerized setworks to ensure a proper cut. It is right on the money every time.”
Pioneer Pallet has had the saw for six to eight months with no real issues. It did have one belt that snapped. Robert said, “That the saw was designed so that a $5 belt would snap before the $500 belt broke. Little things like that show the foresight to reduce repair costs.
“Mona has been great by responding to any questions or issue that I have had. She has been a good supplier to work with, and I certainly would buy from her again. Before I would cut one or two sizes out of one stock. Now there is so much more potential that I can get better yields.”
The Super Robo Chop saw is a modified upcut saw with an automatically controlled push feeder. It is designed to cut up to 30,000 bd.ft. per shift; both left-to-right and right-to-left feeds are available. It comes with a standard blade guard clamp and an additional blade guard hood and side shield. Features include a special high carbon alloy arbor and 24” diameter blades with 1” bore size. The loading side of the infeed table is 40”. Two bottom dust collector ports with 4” hose hookups remove the dust.
For more information on Universal Machinery Sales and its variety of pallet manufacturing and recycling machines, call them at 855/298-8890 or 812/298-8090.