Pallet Cutstock Remanufacturing

Let me take you on a small journey up into a little area in British Columbia, Canada, known as the Fraser Valley Lower Mainland. If you were to drive thirty miles east from Vancouver you would run into a small town called Abbotsford and it is here where your pallet journey begins!

If you're not familiar with the lumber industry, that's okay, I'm going to keep things real simple for you. There are two kinds of mills. First, you have primary mills that take the trees that have been turned into logs (branches have been cut off) and then debark the logs. These mills are also known as scragg mills and cut the log into boards and timbers of various shapes hiring to get the best value on premium wood. There is always wood that does not make the "grade" and this goes into what is called the falldown pile. As mills have become more efficient over the years using very sophisticated equipment including laser eyes, there has become less and less falldown but that's another story.

So, where does this falldown go? Again, to stick with the basics of our topic, a lot of it goes into what is called Economy Lumber. This grade is below construction grade lumber and it is this grade that the secondary mills or remanufacturers (remans) use to cut into various smaller components like pallet cutstock.

Now each mill may vary on how they cut and what saws they use but for the most part, pallet remanufacturers here in the lower country will bring in 2×4 and 2×6 Economy lumber that ranges in lengths anywhere from 8 'to 20'. Now-a-days with the new heat treated regulations, the wood is bought heat treated and kiln dried (HT and KD) and then bought to the chopsaw that will cut the lumber to length. Most pallets are standard sizes of 48 "by 40" like the GMA specs (Grocery Manufacturers Association) but do you know why?

Lumber comes in at various lengths and mills try not to waste anything because it's paid for! So, they will use multiples of whatever size best fits. So a 48 "or 4 'board would be best cut out of 8', 12 '16' and 20. 'There would be no trim loss which saves money for both the mill and the client. of multiples of 10 'and 20'.

After the board is chopped to length, it then goes to the Re-saw that will take either the 2×4 or 2×6 and split it up the middle which results in two pieces. Usually one piece is good (Utility) and the second piece is not (Expendable). The boards are then re-stamped with an HT stamp, graduated and then stacked onto pallets. They are then bound with strapping to hold them all together and then they are put into the yard waiting to be picked up by the trucking company. For stringers, or runners (the part that the boards get nailed to) have a different journey. After they are chopped to 48 "usually, they are then stamped, graduated and brought to the notching machine. Then the stringers are stacked and placed into the yard like the boards.

Now we're ready for the final journey. A trucking company is called and they come and pick up usually about 22 packs of various lengths depending on the order, paperwork is made for customs and then the shipment leaves our neck of the woods and is shipped down to California where a pallet company nails everything together and ships out the finished pallet to their clients.