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Collaboration Drives Bandsaw Performance for Pallet Recycling: Country Saw & Knife and M.K. Morse Work Hand-in-Hand With Smart Products
Bandsaw Performance: Collaboration and attention to detail between three leading suppliers drives strong performance for pallet dismantlers. Country Saw & Knife and M.K. Morse work to provide cutting edge technology for recyclers.
By Ed Brindley
Date Posted: 9/1/2013
Getting the most out of your pallet disassembly operation requires good equipment and the right blade to keep everything running smoothly. When Smart Products Inc., one of the largest dismantler manufacturers in the world, looked for bandsaw blade partners it selected Country Saw & Knife and M.K. Morse to supply its customers.
How do you know that you have a good bandsaw blade? You want a blade produced with quality blade stock and manufactured under tight tolerances to produce consistent performance.
Ken Hess, owner of Smart Products, has worked with Country Saw & Knife of Salem, Ohio as a key saw blade supplier ever since he bought the company 10 years ago. So, it was a natural thing for Hess to turn to Rick and Steve Mercer of Country Saw & Knife when he needed the right blade to fit his new HD line of pallet repair and recycling machinery. Country Saw buys its band blade stock from M.K. Morse, which is known for its high quality blade stock.
At the EXPO Richmond Show in 2012 Smart Products introduced its new 64" Front Discharge “HD” dismantling machinery. Since that time, it has expanded on its HD technology and applied it through its whole line of pallet repair and recycling machinery.
Pallet recycling started making its debut in the 1980s and grew through the 90s when its growth rate was about 20% a year throughout the decade. This evolving industry needed a few suppliers to take a leading role. Smart Products and Country Saw stepped up to the plate to fill this role. Smart is known in the pallet recycling industry as the major supplier of pallet dismantling machines. And Country Saw is known for its high quality blades which are needed to run a successful pallet dismantling department. Both of these companies, as well as M.K. Morse, focus on the details needed to produce their high quality products with attention to details. These three companies work together well as an ideal combination to serve the difficult requirements of the pallet recycling industry.
The HD bandsaw dismantling machines that Smart introduced in 2012 include Smart’s method of applying hydraulic tensioning to a bandsaw blade. The saws’ components must be able to handle the heavy load from the tensioning of dismantling blades for tearing down pallets. Because air is too forgiving, it will give up tension. Saw users do not want their dismantling blades to develop slack and give up the tension they need to maintain. When dismantling pallets, a band blade must span a wide space, so Country Saw and M.K. Morse focus on making the steel and producing the blades that will supply the toughness and dependability that recyclers need.
Country Saw & Knife Relies on M.K. Morse
The bandsaw that Country Saw provides is made from the industry standard solid quality bi-metal material with high quality cobalt steel teeth. Through a series of trials, Country Saw selected the 1-1/4" .042 M42 cobalt steel strip material for its blades. Country Saw took a leadership role when it decided on the blade it did. This blade ended up becoming the standard accepted in the pallet dismantling industry. Country Saw relies on M.K. Morse for its band blade stock.
Rick Mercer and Hess have visited M.K. Morse’s blade stock plant several times over the past 10 years and were impressed with its superior quality control measures. Year after year it consistently produces the most stable backer material coupled with the highest quality tooth on the market. Hess likes the way that M.K. Morse’s backer material responds when cutting. The blade is designed to cut metal at speeds in the 100s of feet per minute, but the pallet industry puts it to its ultimate test by running blades 1000s of feet per minute.
Attention to Detail
M.K. Morse’s emphasis on quality control has served as an inspiration to both Smart and Country Saw. They share a dual emphasis on manufacturing quality and product support. Hess said, “A dismantler blade is the most abused blade on the market. When you combine the quality and attention to details that we put into our machines with the quality and attention to details that Country Saw and M.K. Morse put into their blades, you have the right combination for the difficult challenge of the pallet recycling industry.”
Hess and the Mercers have seen first-hand the care which M.K. Morse takes when making its band stock. Its advantages are in its technology leading in-line hardening and tempering strip furnaces. M.K. Morse slowly brings up the temperature to its best quality metal striping, holds the temperature, and then slowly cools the metal. This process makes a blade more resilient to wear and tear.
The slow speed used for gently treating the metal reduces almost all of the thermal shock on the blade. Steve Mercer said, “This produces a blade that will withstand every bit of what a demanding pallet dismantling industry asks of it.” To do that just once is not enough; it needs to be done consistently throughout the years for quality service. That is what you need to make a company thrive. M.K. Morse does it with numerous in-line electronic eyes as well as multiple physical inspections to insure quality electron beam welding of cobalt teeth, set of teeth, and hardness of the backer material and teeth. Another step M.K. Morse takes in its quality effort is checking the band microstructure on every furnace twice a day in its in-house labs.
Stretching a band at the dismantler’s throat adds to the deviation in a band because the guides are much farther apart than traditional resaw applications. Pallet dismantlers have a large throat opening to dismantle whole pallets from two, three to four feet across as compared to a typical wood cutting resaw that may only open to 10 inches or less. It is important to maintain the proper amount of tension on a blade. Thin kerf bands will dip and dive and dig into the wood or pallet joint. The heat generated can be a death sentence to a blade.
Steve said, “Smart Products has addressed this problem by paying attention to the little details in designing and manufacturing its machines. They are the strongest built machines on the market today. They typically run at slower rpms. Our blades do not heat up on Smart’s machines like they might on some other machinery. In spite of the wide throat, our blades stay straight and just cut through the nails. You do not want them cutting through the boards as well.”
The Country Saw blades for Smart’s HD machines are much the same as the blades it has had for years. In the early days, it had worked with M.K. Morse blade stock to establish what has become the accepted standard dismantler blade for the pallet industry. Country Saw is working on some new blade designs for special applications that may be released later when they are proven. Rick said, “Hess’s HD machinery is getting to be a huge thing in the industry. In time I think others will follow suit.”
Hess said, “Smart Products’ new HD line of machines is a significant enhancement and redesign of our long-time successful, established and respected line of machinery. Our unique and successful applications of various technologies allows us, and our customers, to take full advantage of the tensioning capabilities available with M.K. Morse’s pallet dismantling blade stock material. This allows our customers to experience much improved blade life along with an easier pass of the pallet through the blade by the operator, resulting in improved worker productivity.
After choosing a blade stock, one has to choose a welding shop to manufacture the blade, which requires cutting and welding the band stock. Country Saw welds the bands to a multitude of sizes needed by the industry. Again this requires consistency day after day using high quality pneumatic butt welds, care in handling, and dependable delivery speed.
The relationship between Smart and Country Saw through the development of new machines and new blades has been an indispensable tool. As Steve said, “We offer solutions for problems and the experience to implement these solutions as they come throughout the years. It’s a partnership of mutual trust between our people and our customers; it’s mutually beneficial for us to see you succeed.”
Mercer said “With cutting edge pneumatic welders and hundreds of years of combined experience, we’ve worked hand in hand with Smart Products. Subsequently, the experience and knowledge we’ve earned with his dismantling machines pays dividends for our customers for years to come in production and service.”
Service – A Critical Element
As Steve Mercer said, “The things we do are a lot like the things you do for your friends. Be there for them when they need you. Offer support without being overbearing. And rejoice in their successes. This may be the reason why we build such strong business relationships that last generations, not just seasons.
“Once you’ve put it all together – a quality sawmill, a quality blade, and quality service day in and day out, only then can you reap the rewards of the demanding and entrepreneurial dismantling industry.”
All three companies involved in this cooperative pallet dismantling relationship focus heavily on service. It is part of their DNA. Service is an often used buzz word, but sometimes it is also a reality. Over the years we have been impressed by all three of these industry suppliers but never quite realized their dedication to serving their customers until we dug into their philosophies more deeply when writing this article. Their cooperative relationship toward product quality and serving their customers is very impressive. Theyrealized how important having a friendly, informative relationship with customers can be. When your customers look to you as a source of reliable dependable knowledge, you tend to become a very valuable supplier for them.
Dismantling a pallet is a more complicated process than it might appear to be. There are so many facets out there that can change what is a normal cut. Country Saw and Knife has the information customers need. Over the years they have dealt with every bandsaw problem imaginable. It runs its own mills as well as advising so many in the industry.
Typically Country Saw supplies same day service, and they can cut and weld to virtually any size needed. Country Saw runs a number of regular routes. Up to nine states are within a day’s drive.
Bandsaw blades account for about half of Country Saw’s business; circular saws make up the other half. Bandsaw blades vary from 3/16" up to 2" wide. Thirty percent of them are dismantler blades, and 65% or more are for resaws. Bandsaw blades are thinner and do not hold themselves straight like circular saws. Used pallets that are loose are easier to penetrate the joints. A dismantling blade may cut up to 2000 of these. New tight pallets and block pallets take a lot of life out of the blades; they are more challenging.
For many customers there is no norm, so Country Saw responds to the need. The two biggest issues in pallet dismantling and bandsaw applications are eliminating the heat and keeping good blade tension.
Selecting the best dismantler, choosing the best blade supplier, and using the correct blade stock combine as the three essential decisions a pallet company has to make. Country Saw & Knife, Smart Products and M.K. Morse make these decisions fairly easy to make