Evolving customer demands and scarcity labor pools require pallet manufactures to stay ahead of the curve in order to maintain operational proficiency. Pallet suppliers, like Kamps, work tirelessly to implement innovative initiatives that allow us to stay ahead of this curve and support continuously evolving customer demands. These initiatives, typically, aim to solve some of the more common challenges in our industry. These challenges include: ergonomic safety protocol, quality control accuracies, as well as scrap and waste efficiency. Rarely does a single innovation come along that improves upon all these measurements – until now.
The Urban Sawmill Line (USL) is a new innovation that was developed exclusively by Kamps Pallets and Alliance Automation. The USL solves some of the most common pain points felt by pallet companies during the pallet dismantling and recycling process – and allows companies to further improve the overall customer experience.
The USL makes dismantling, harvesting, and recycling wood pallets as efficient, and accurate, as possible.
The Traditional Pallet Dismantling Method
Traditionally, after a pallet has been dismantled, the components would go to a sawline that is usually operated by 4 to 6 employees. These employees are responsible for overseeing and guiding the entire process.
The Step-by-step Process:
- Employees carefully lay the wooden components being fed to them on the sawline.
- Employees ensure the trimsaw is cutting to appropriate sizes.
- Employees collect the trim-components.
- Employees organize and stack the trimmed components according to size.
Due to the amount of employees involved in the process, this traditional method increases the number of variables throughout the process and allows for human error to exist (with regard to counts and overall effectiveness). Also, there are natural limitations on how flexible each sawline can be with regard to the variety of board sizes it can cut and produce at a time. Usually a traditional sawline process can only produce up to 3 to 4 different board sizes at a time.
The Urban Sawmill Line Pallet Dismantling Process
Pre-Trim Stage: Setup & Collection
At the beginning of every shift, an employee will set up the USL by entering in information, such as measurements and quantity needed for the day, into its computer-based system. The computer system then will take this data and use it throughout the day to ensure board size and quantity are achieved as directed.
The process then begins with the actual dismantling of the pallet. Employees will use either a single-man or double-man bandsaw to dismantle the wooden pallet components. The components are collected underneath the bandsaw; and are then transported via an automatic line to the first stage of the Urban Saw Line.
Stage One: Getting the Components Ready for Trimming
An employee receives the dismantled components via the automatic line. Due to the USL’s scanning and self-adjusting ability, the employee does not have to exert too much extra labor or decision-making apart from ensuring that the board is placed flat on the USL line.
From here, the components will pass through a monitoring system that uses a combination of laser and camera technology to measure and assess the quality of the boards. The system then uses this data to make the determination of exactly what kind of trims are needed for the best result – all within a matter of milliseconds.
Stage Two: Trimming
Once the system receives the board data, and makes the determination on where to trim, the USL automatically adjusts board positioning to optimize cuts. The USL boasts two trimsaws on either end to ensure a high quality job every time – and has the ability to adjust board positioning after the first initial cut. This means that even a board that may have low quality ends of both sides can still be utilized to its full potential.
Stage Three: Collection
Once the components are trimmed, the automatic line transports them to the end of the USL process. Here, the components are placed in their corresponding bins – based on size. Employees can quickly recover the components from these bins and efficiently organize them to be collected.
Impacts of The Urban Sawmill Line
After implementing the USL at our Taylor location, Kamps Pallets found improvements across the board at the location. The impact on our efficiency was the most evident.
- The USL allowed us to go from trimming only 3 to 4 different sizes at once, to 20 different sizes at once.
- The USL allowed us to go from trimming up to 12,000 components per day, to 20,000 thousand components per day.
- The USL allowed us to move 3 employees from saw-line operations, to other roles that needed extra manpower within the division.
- Due to computer-operated counts, the USL removed the human error aspect of our counting and sorting process.
Positive Impact: Quick Facts
The Urban Sawmill Line is just one of many innovations that Kamps Pallets has developed throughout our rich history; and while with every innovation the positive effects are first felt internally on the operations side, our customers are actually the ones that are impacted the most. The positive change brought to our customers through our innovations is something that we are extremely proud of, as our customers are at the core of everything that we do.
What the USL means for our customers:
- Increases the number and variety of sizes we can carry on hand for our customers.
- Allows us to meet sudden increases in demand much easier for our customers.
- Increases overall quality and efficiency of all other production lines.