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    The Pallet Factory is an end-to-end lumber processing facility with pallet manufacturing operations 60 miles southeast of metro Atlanta. Prior to 2009, five employees worked at the end of saw mill production line stacking lumber. These five employees worked at a fast pace doing the strenuous work of manual inspection and stacking of boards. Economic pressures during the Recession caused the company to look seriously at automating the lumber stacking functions.

    “We studied the relationship between labor cost and the risk of the employee injury from repetitive motions versus the cost of purchasing an automated stacker,” explains Zilhad Dzihic, general manager. AIT distributor Greg Wine helped the Shady Dale plant with a customized 90-degree chain conveyer to fit their production line that had a narrow exit point from the band saw to de-dust station to the M2L Stacker.

    “We are always looking for better ways to improve safety and efficiency at our plant. The M2L Stacker and Unscrambler are well designed, well built, and simple to operate. We are running at the same or higher throughput as before but with only one operator per shift.”

    “The M2L Stacker is never late for work and rarely breaks down, nor does the operator have to catch a board very often,” Dzihic commented. “By installing the M2L Stacker, our safety concern for employees who were doing repetitive work has been resolved.”

    There have also been financial benefits since several employees are trained to operate the M2L Stacker and cover this part of the production line in case of an operator’s illness or vacation. “We strive to provide our employees with the best equipment and safe work environment. With this management philosophy, we will achieve high efficiency and safety in our plant.”

    More than half of the new pallets made by The Pallet Factory end up overseas. The majority of pallets built are custom sizes. “The M2L Stacker is a big part of the maintaining customer satisfaction. Its speed is easily adjustable and can be synchronized with the speed of our saw mill line. The stacker handles each kind and size of lumber that we produce. AIT technicians provided training for our operators to make the needed adjustments and have smooth transition between various stock sizes in our customer orders. Our decision to install M2L Stacker has most definitely paid off,” said Dzihic.