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Creating Custom Pallets with the WM4500 Industrial Sawmill

By Olivia Eaker, Wood-Mizer

Pallet Stack

Located in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, Dan Ullmann and his team at DJ Pallets are using their Wood-Mizer machinery to repurpose recycled pallets and create their own custom pallets for customers across America. 

 

 

Where It All Began 


“I got into the business late in my career,” explains Dan. Starting first as an infantry officer in the military and then working in sales, Dan had a friend in the pallet business. “He suggested ‘consider the pallet business.’” 

 

“I went and looked at his facility and was pretty amazed by it.” As Dan and his family were looking to move out of New York, Pennsylvania was the start of their brand new adventure. “We found a warehouse, got a trailer, started collecting pallets, and just kept building it up from there.”

 

Dan UllmanDan Ullman

 

Their business started using recycled pallets, “and that is still the bulk of our business,” explains Dan. However, they knew they wanted to expand their business by reaching a wider range of customers. “So, we got into new custom pallets.” 

 

Pallet TrimmerPallet Trimmer

 

It became quickly apparent that creating custom pallets would require a lot of lumber. “I figured the best way to do it was to produce my own lumber instead of buying from someone else,” says Dan. “So, we looked at getting into sawmilling.” 

 

DJ Pallets had already joined the Wood-Mizer family with their pallet machinery, PD200. “We were already working with Wood-Mizer…their dismantlers and trim saws. So, we decided to go all in on it.” 

 

Integrating the WM4500 Industrial Sawmill 


Dan decided that the sawmill that best fit their needs was the WM4500 industrial sawmill. However, he did enlist the help of Wood-Mizer experts. 

 

Lumber Stack Lumber Stack

 

“When we got the sawmill we really didn’t know what we needed or what we were doing, so we relied heavily on our Wood-Mizer friends,” Dan admits. “And Colin Campbell did just that, which was really the key to it.” 

 

WM4500 WM4500

 

“When the guys came to install it their comments were ‘Wow! you guys really thought it through.’ I had to admit that it wasn’t my foresight, it was all due to Wood-Mizer and Colin’s guidance. They partnered up with us all the way.”

 

Pallet Assembly Pallet Assembly

 

The WM4500 allows DJ Pallets to produce accurate lumber while reducing capital, material, labor, energy, and maintenance costs for their custom pallets. 

 

WM4500 in Action WM4500 in Action

The Pallet Process 


Dan explains that their pallet process starts first with their clients and the type of pallet they need to be designed.  

 

“It's designing the pallet around ‘hey what do you actually need to best do what you’re trying to do with your product.’” 

 

PD200PD200

 

“With recycled pallets, we buy broken pallets, unwanted pallets. Those pallets come in and they get sorted and then they go to the builders who take any broken parts off of the pallet and replace it. Then from there, they’ll load them onto trucks and they get shipped out to the customers.” 

 

Pallets StackedPallets Stacked

 

Of course, with the WM4500 and all the other machinery DJ Pallets produces sawdust. “We have a dust collection system that collects the sawdust.” But this sawdust doesn’t go to waste. 

 

“Another business, that specializes in sawdust, then takes the trailer and switches it out and they use the sawdust for animal bedding. Everything gets used so there’s little to no waste, which is great!” says Dan. 

 

Rewarding Work 


“Our growth has been a bit crazy at times and more than we expected. A business is only as good as its people, and I am super lucky to have a great team.” Dan has put together a great team that both understand and push each other to be better.  

 

“Working with my wife is great. We complement each other in a lot of ways, we are also very different people. She grounds me whereas I would just float away.” 

 

Dan and his wife Dan and his wife

 

Dan also sings the praises of his partner, Bryan. “I couldn’t do it without Bryan. Bryan takes whatever tasks come up, confronts it head-on, and gets it done. Whether he’s on the forklift or even running the sawmill.” 

 

Dan also explains that Bryan is “a sawyer, I’m not, so he’s obviously pretty integral to everything we do here.” 

 

Along with all the different types of machinery they get to use, “It's your existing clients, meeting new people and new clients, that’s probably the most exciting thing. 

 

DJ Pallets Worker DJ Pallets Worker

 

Due to the different clients and businesses that DJ Pallets gets to work with, their team feels extremely rewarded for getting to do what they do. 

 

“You know, working with customers is probably the most rewarding. We get those calls ‘We need this special size pallet. You guys jumped through hoops for us, got it out really quick and it helped us secure the business.’” 

 

“We’ve gotten those phone calls and those are really exciting and it's exciting to then go and tell the rest of the team how good their service is,” says Dan.  

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