Alles Palette EN Perfect pallets

New planing line ensures quality. PKF Post produces almost six million pallets at two locations in the Netherlands...

New planing line ensures high quality

PKF Post produces almost six million pallets at two locations in the Netherlands, all of which are special formats. The company invested in a mechanised planing machine from Kallfass in 2017 for its northern Finsterwolde location. Based on the positive experience gained with this plant, a decision was reached to implement a similar project in Venlo.

PKF Post primarily supplies the paper, food and chemical industry with its special pallets. However, anybody who associates pallets with poor timber quality should think again. Pallets also need to meet continually stricter requirements, with customers demanding absolute dimensional precision and equally clean timber quality. PKF Post invested in a new and completely mechanised planing line at the Venlo/NL location to meet these demands and increase both efficiency and output. “Stacking around the planing machine had been extremely complicated previously, which is why we decided to purchase a new plant”, says Project Manager Erwin de Jong. Finsterwolde personnel also noted that planed boards reduced the occurrence of disruptions during pallet production. The positive cooperation that developed during conversion work at Finsterwolde two years ago encouraged PKF Post to once again choose a mechanised solution from Kallfass in Baiersbronn-Klosterreichenbach, Germany. The new Kallfass plant and a planing machine (the same as in Finsterwolde) have been in operation in Venlo since March.

PKF Post manufactures up to 12,000 pallets each day in Venlo – some of which involve an order quantity of 1. Data for pallet production and the Kallfass systems is obtained from the work scheduling department. “Control is completely automatic, with personnel in production fulfilling more or less a monitoring function and only intervening in the process when necessary”, explains de Jong. “PKF Post controls the entire plant through a PC interface. The link from work scheduling to the planing machine worked perfectly”, says Kallfass Director Hans Haist. The pallet program in work scheduling automatically calculates parts lists and dimensions required for each order. The system then generates a recommendation regarding the packages to be produced based on timber stock lists.

The new Kallfass mechanisation system starts with an infeed station which can accommodate several timber packages. The system is designed for infeed lengths of 2 to 6 m. Cross sections range from 16 x 75 mm to 22 x 150 mm. Destacking of layers is realised with a vacuum lifter. According to Hans Haist, output is seven to eight layers per minute. A scanner on the cross chain conveyor determines whether there are any battens on the respective timber layer. “This means the strip brush only moves over the position when necessary, and we can maintain a high output”, explains Haist.

A worker checks the timber in the transverse throughfeed and turns it if necessary so that the wane is facing upwards

The good side is automatically on top

A worker checks the timber quality in the transverse throughfeed, ejecting unsuitable timbers through a hatch. He simultaneously turns the timbers manually so that the wane is facing upwards. “Following planing, the mechanism turns all the boards again so that their good side is on top. We also nail them in this position during pallet production, because it’s important for the visual appearance of the pallets”, points out Stefan Geutskens. He is responsible for sales at PKF Post and knows exactly what customers want. Quality assessment is followed by longitudinal feeding into the planing machine. This calibrates the boards at a feed rate of up to 250 m/min. A belt downstream of the planing machine slows the boards. These are then removed to the right and transported under this unit to the left in the transverse transport in the direction of the Kallfass CNC crosscutting plant. This process positions the boards with the good side facing upwards (as indicated above).

“The CNC crosscutting plant has seven chop saws, six of which can be variably adjusted”, explains Haist. PKF Post uses this to cut timbers to the length desired for pallet manufacturing. Control is realised from the work scheduling department. Stacking tongues transfer the pallet boards to the stacking system. Kallfass has installed five batten magazines here that automatically position themselves. Packages are transported away using a paternoster lift. The completed packages are then strapped together before been sent for actual pallet production.

People at PKF Post are very satisfied about the manner this project has been handled by Kallfass. Sooner or later, the new system will replace the old completely. “This investment means we can meet our customers’ demands even quicker while also enhancing quality”, reckons Geutskens.

A scanner checks whether stack battens are present in the position, with a strip brush automatically brushing across this if necessary

Infeeding or longitudinal feeding into the planing machine

Stacking with batten magazines

The precise batten positioning is realised automatically.

Following planing, the timbers are removed to the right and turned automatically to ensure that the good side is on top

Kallfass CNC cross cutting plant: The battens required can be manufactured with six variable saws.

HOLZKURIER 41/2019, pictures and text Martina Nöstler