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Industrial Pallet Corp. Expands Services for Waste Recycling: Leading Indiana Producer of Colored Mulch Runs New Rotochopper
Rotochopper Expands Waste Recycling Services: Industrial Pallet, Indiana-based pallet supplier, relies on Rotochopper machine to become leading market producer of colored mulch.
Date Posted: 9/1/2009
CLARKS HILL, Indiana – Industrial Pallet Corp. has four locations in two states and operations for a scragg mill, cut-up plant, manufacturing new pallets and containers, and recycling pallets.
Increasingly, though, waste recycling – including but not limited to wood waste – is an important aspect of the company’s business plan.
“Industrial Pallet has always had a keen focus on environmental stewardship,” said Jay Wiegand, chief financial officer. “We were ‘green’ long before it became politically fashionable – first because we believe it is a stewardship issue, and secondly because it makes sound business sense.”
Over the years the company has relied on a series of Rotochopper machines to process wood scrap material into mulch and colored mulch, and earlier this summer it began running a new, improved Rotochopper.
Industrial Pallet was founded in Remington, Indiana by Jon Schwab in 1986. He went on to develop the company into a major pallet supplier with $11 million in annual sales by 1998.
Jay and Rob Meister, president and CEO of American Fibertech Corporation., the parent company of Industrial Pallet Corp., assumed control of the business in 1999. Under their leadership, they have grown Industrial Pallet into a business with $38 million in annual sales in 2008.
Rob integrated the company to control costs, offered service that customers could not get from other suppliers, stayed ahead of the curve in terms of new products and business opportunities, and hired and retained employees who are committed to success.
The company’s operations are fully integrated; it starts with the log and takes the wood to the finished pallet. In addition to its diverse operations, it also has a transportation fleet, AFC Logistics Inc.
The company, which has a Web site at www.ind-pallet-corp.com, has four plants. In Remington, Indiana, the company manufactures pallet cut stock from mixed hardwood cants and also manufactures new pallets and containers. The emphasis at this location, in terms of pallets and containers, is on custom pallets and crates. The plant, which also has the Kiln-Direct heat-treating capability, employs about 45 people.
Industrial Pallet operates a scragg mill in Mitchell, Indiana, making pre-cut pallet stock for its own use from mixed hardwood logs. The plant buys about 90,000 tons of logs annually and employs about 70 people.
The company also operates pallet manufacturing and recycling plants in Clarks Hill, Indiana and Greencastle, Penn. The Clarks Hill facility also contains the company’s Rotochopper machine and mulch production operations and employs about 110 people; the Greencastle plant, heavily involved in pallet recycling, employs about 50 workers.
The scragg mill contains several shop-built pieces of equipment that came with its purchase, but over the years Industrial Pallet has added or replaced machinery using multiple vendors, including Brewco, Baker Products, Fastline and Pendu.
At the Remington plant, the cants are remanufactured into cut stock with the aid of a Pendu cut-up system and a Baker Products bandsaw. The plant is also equipped with a Viking Champion nailing machine to assemble large runs of standard pallets. Custom pallets are assembled by hand by workers at a half-dozen benches using pneumatic nailing tools.
The Pennsylvania plant is equipped with two pallet repair lines supplied by Industrial Resources as well as a number of machines supplied by Trace Equipment, including two bandsaw dismantlers, two trim saws and repair tables with lead-deck board removers. Three Bronco Pallet Systems semi-automated nailing systems are used to assemble remanufactured pallets. The Pennsylvania recycling operations process about 15 truck-loads of used pallets daily, recycling over 4,000 pallets per day.
The Clarks Hill plant mainly produces GMA pallets, new and recycled. The facility has a Viking Turbo 505 pallet assembly system that is used for nailing new GMA pallets.
Industrial Pallet quickly moved into the market for supplying heat-treated pallets, investing in Kiln-Direct heat-treating equipment in 2002. It also developed a treatment – MoldGuard — to prevent mold on pallets; the company developed its own chemical solution and application system, which ensures 100% pallet coverage.
The new Rotochopper purchased earlier this year makes the fourth Rotochopper that Industrial Pallet has owned over the years.
Rotochopper machines grind wood material to produce mulch, biomass fuel, animal bedding, and other wood fiber products, and the machine also can color the wood grindings before they exit to produce colored mulch. With a Rotochopper, a company does not need a second machine to color the mulch. Rotochopper manufactures both stationary electric models and portable diesel-powered models.
At Clarks Hill, the Rotochopper is used to grind wood waste material from pallet recycling operations, the cant cut-up operations in Remington – about 40 tons per week — as well as residual material from the scragg mill in Mitchell. The company also collects additional wood material from businesses that are charged a tipping fee to unload it in the company’s yard.
The Clarks Hill plant has become the dominant supplier of colored mulch in the central Indiana market, producing about 130,000 cubic yards annually, according to Jay. The mulch is sold mainly wholesale to landscaping businesses; the company sells mulch at retail on Saturdays.
As the volume of business has increased, the company added a Colorbiotics Sahara X2 mulch coloring system in 2005. Industrial Pallet uses Amerimulch Heartland Enriched brand colorants to produce mulch in five colors: dark brown, black, cherry brown, red and gold. The leading sellers are dark brown and black.
The market has responded favorably to the company’s premium color enhanced mulch. Mulch sales account for about 6-8% of revenues of the Clarks Hill plant and also 6-8% of the company’s overall revenues.
Four employees are involved in mulch production at Clarks Hill and one at Mitchell. The Rotochopper EC266, a stationary electric model with 350 hp, is set up in a T-shed, and material is fed into the grinder with a skidsteer equipped with a grapple.
The company’s previous Rotochopper machines also were stationary electric models, but Rotochopper has continuously improved its machine, according to Jay. An improved hydraulic drive system for the infeed conveyor increases production by providing a more aggressive feed to the rotor. Another benefit is that the new machine is much easier to maintain and to service.
The company had not decided to invest in a new grinder but was approached by Rotochopper personnel, who suggested that a replacement was due. “They said we think you need a new one…and we agreed,” said Jay. The new machine replaced a Rotochopper that had been in service for seven years and ground over 600,000 cubic yards of grindings.
The company did not consider other suppliers. “We’ve had such a good track record with Rotochopper…,” said Jay.
The largest source of material for the Rotochopper consists of scrap pallets and material from the Clarks Hill recycling operations. The grinder is equipped with an above-belt magnet to remove nails from the mulch, and the metal is recycled, too. In fact, the magnet has helped improve the quality and market value of the scrap metal. Both the Clarks Hill and Pennsylvania plants also recycle cardboard and plastic that is contained in incoming loads of scrap and used pallets.
In its market area, some mulch is classified as A, AA or AAA, depending on quality, with A being the least expensive and AA and AAA being premium products. Industrial Pallet produces aged AA hardwood bark mulch at the scragg mill, which it began doing in 2007 after the closure of a local paper mill; the company had supplied chips to the paper mill. Industrial Pallet produces over 225,000 cubic yards annually of aged AA hardwood bark mulch and finish ground hardwood for color enhanced products. The company contracts with Tri-State Forestry Services to produce the material.
At the Pennsylvania plant, scrap wood material is processed by a Cresswood hopper-fed grinder. The wood grindings, about five loads per week, are supplied to another business that processes it further into colored mulch.
Industrial Pallet has a full-time sales staff and in-house service personnel to oversee a customer’s order from start to finish. It also provides 24-hour emergency response service to customers. The company’s transportation division consists of over 25 semi-tractors and 250 trailers.
Rotochoppers Grind, Color in One Pass
Minnesota-based Rotochopper manufactures grinders and mulch coloring equipment for the pallet and sawmill industries. It is known for machines that can grind wood material to produce biomass fuel, animal bedding and mulch. A Rotochopper can grind wood material into mulch and color the mulch in one pass through the machine.
Rotochopper designs machines to perform reliably, efficiently and profitably. It follows up sales with a strong commitment to customer service.
The company has supplied machines for forestry operations, municipalities, mulch producers, sawmills, recycling centers, pallet companies, tree services, landfills and composting operations.
Any Rotochopper can include the company’s patented color application system, which offers a fast, cost effective way to produce colored mulch from wood waste. For turning pallets and scrap wood into colored mulch in one pass, Rotochopper offers the MC series of machines and the electric EC series. The MP-2 is a compact and maneuverable version of the MC, and the CP-118 can regrind and color chips and other pre-processed wood waste.
Rotochopper offers machines for specific processes, including grinding slabs, chips, pallets, bark and other wood material into biomass fuel and other wood fiber products. Rotochopper also manufactures fully mobile bagging equipment to package mulch or other bulk material into plastic bags.
Rotochopper has served the pallet industry for 15 years. The B series machines offer large capacity and are available in diesel or electric versions. The mobile MC series offers superior power and versatility whether a company has multiple sites or one. The durable EC series is for applications that have access to 3-phase electric power.
For more information, visit the Rotochopper Web site at www.rotochopper.com, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (320) 548-3586.