A glimpse into the Fruit Grower’s Supply Pallet Plant
Ron Santiago wears a safety vest as he sits in his office. The Plant Manager for Fruit Growers Supply’s (FGS) pallet plant, his attention is attuned to every detail that makes operations run efficiently and smoothly. In addition to providing irrigation services and corrugated packaging, FGS is a pallet manufacturer. Ron’s been with the company for a few years.
Day to day, he supports sales, investigates challenges in the field, and finds solutions. He speaks highly of plant operations and the people who make it all happen. “With our diverse staff, I have the opportunity to train and educate myself further in this part of the industry,” he says.
Pallets aren’t just for fruit growers
So, what happens at the pallet plant? As the name suggests, they make pallets. They’re not just any pallets, though, and they’re not just for anyone. “Most of our pallets go to packing houses that service the ag industry,” says Ron. “We have some customers that service manufacturing, like machinery, some beverage companies, but most significantly, we serve the agriculture community.”
FGS specializes in wooden shipping pallets and is one of the top pallet manufacturers on the West Coast. Made locally in California, FGS makes reliable pallets from high-quality, sustainably-sourced hardwood and softwood. “It’s very unique and diverse,” says Ron. “Not just the people, but the various species of lumber that we use. We use different types of lumber to provide customers with what they need.”
The capacity to provide customers with a pallet that meets their exact needs with different designs and types of lumber set the FGS pallet plant apart. However, working with different lumber can be challenging for older machines that make the pallets. “In the pallet industry, we have different subgrades for the grade of lumber that we use,” Ron explains. “Lumber is reman, and in that process, imperfections can appear.”
New equipment boosts FGS as a pallet manufacturer
Waste and inability to handle lumber imperfections are now things of the past. The FGS pallet plant has acquired a new machine, called the Woodpecker Junior, from Midwest Machinery and Automation. A semi-automatic pallet nailing machine, the Woodpecker Junior only requires one person to run it instead of the four to five people needed to run the older machines. As a result, the pallet plant can produce 600 to 800 pallets per shift with greater efficiency per machine.
More critical than increased production, though, is quality. “The biggest thing about the Woodpecker Junior is that we can watch our quality better,” says Ron. That’s not a problem for the Woodpecker Junior, which significantly reduces wasted lumber materials.
Consistency and quality across all aspects of pallet production
Quality, consistency, and delivery are most important to Ron Santiago, which is reflected by every aspect of pallet plant operations. The new Woodpecker Junior helps provide greater quality and consistency across a wider range of products because it can handle a broader diversity of lumber grade.
Ron emphasizes that providing the customer quality and consistency helps set the FGS pallet plant apart. “What we say you’re going to get, for a specific pallet, that’s what you’ll get,” says Ron. “We do not take shortcuts.” He gives the example of how the FGS pallet plant handles a common scourge in wood products: mold. “Everyone uses bleach to treat their wood,” Ron explains. “We go above and beyond to provide a coating on the lumber not only to eradicate mold but to prevent future growth of mold. In addition, we test all of our lumber for moisture, so customers can understand exactly what they’re getting.”
All FGS pallets are compliant with ISPM-15 (International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures). This means you don’t have to worry about accidentally importing pests or diseases from the lumber in your pallets. In addition, the pallet plant performs on-site heat treatments on every piece of lumber that comes through the facility so that the customer can have peace of mind and know their products are clean.
For all your pallet needs
As a leading pallet manufacturer, we have many options of pallets available to you. From different materials to different sizes and wood types, pallets are as diverse as the companies that use them. We will work with you to ensure you get the pallet that matches your precise needs, whether you need a standard or custom-tailored solution. Contact us today for a free quote to get started.
Have any questions? We’re happy to help – stop in one of our supply stores today, or fill out our contact form by clicking below.