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Young Farmers Boost Education At Pallet Factory

12 Apr 2017

Young farmers have been learning about the wooden pallet industry during a tour of an agribusiness focussed on building, rebuilding and repairing pallets. The California Young Farmers Group took a tour of Sydenstricker Implements and the Willow Fork Pallet Company near Tipton as part of its annual programme of educational activities.

Knowledge on Offer

The group discovered how different grades of wood can be used to build pallets, depending on what is ordered by individual customers. Some clients choose better grades of timber in order to ensure that the pallets can bear the necessary weight without collapsing. This is especially important when the pallets will be carrying heavy or expensive merchandise.

The young farmers also found out how different woods can be used to make the pallets and how the clients can buy wooden pallets in a variety of different sizes. Most of the wood used is either pine or oak and is obtained from various sources.

The group were also told how the wood goes on to be heat-treated in order to prevent the spread of diseases or insects and to dry out the timber. Chemical or heat treatments are essential to ensure safety when shipping.

Pallet Factory

Wooden Pallet Industry Background

The Willow Fork company was originally founded in 1999, when people who wanted to buy wooden pallets received products that were largely constructed by hand. The building process involved a basic frame being used to dictate the size and hold the pallet together.

A large part of pallet construction continues to focus on the use of specialist saws in order to cut correctly sized pieces of wood from larger sections. Today advances in technology have improved methods and safety, however, as they have in many other industries.

People are still actively involved in the creation of these pallets, but safer machinery operations are also involved. This includes the nailing of the wood to create the pallets. Completed pallets are also stacked automatically before they are transported to a storage area.

Rebuilding and Repairing

During their recent tour, the young farmers also learned how much of Willow Fork’s work revolves around the rebuilding and repairing of used pallets. A specialist band saw is used to cut nails in repairable pallets, and they are then reconstructed using new wood pieces where necessary.

Another aspect that was explored was the upgrading of the mulch operation. There was a time when mulch was sold to customers in bulk. Today it is made using a machine which is around the size of a mid-sized truck and is then bagged up, packed and loaded on to pallets to be shipped to vendors.

Remodelling and Expansion

At John Deere equipment suppliers Sydenstrickers Implements, the young farmers learnt about current work to remodel and expand the site. Once it’s completed, the company will have around 100 per cent more space.

The work includes the creation of a new shop and parts department and the installation of a crane to help with the unloading of equipment and the fitting of wheels on to equipment, which is often shipped without them being fitted.

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