Nestled in the countryside of Mark, Somerlap is one of Sedgemoor’s many small businesses. Well known for their fencing and wooden garden products, did you know that the core of their business is Pallets – producing new and reconditioning old ones. We had no idea until Team Under Construction had the privilege of having a tour around their factory.
The staff team, alongside the factory machines produce hundreds of new pallets daily, the pace and dexterity of the workers was quickly evident. However, it is not a case of one size fits all as I thought; all Pallets are made specifically for the product they are carrying and this specification determines the size of the internal blocks used. Every pallet made by Somerlap is branded to the company they supply. It gets even more technical than weights and measures, pallets used to export to other countries have to have a ‘pallet passport’ and will be kiln dried after being formed to prevent exporting diseases that may be in the wood. This process also takes place if the pallets are carrying dry products like paper; this removes moisture in the wood to prevent damage to the load. This process takes place on site in a purpose built Kiln.
Pallets returned for reconditioning land in a separate area of the factory site where another staff team use different equipment and methods to repair the pallets ready for their return into the supply chain. Nevertheless, pallets beyond repair still have a purpose – these pallets are loaded into a chipper. Having climbed the ladder to see it working this a hungry and formidable chipper not one you would have in the garden for the odd hedge debris.
The end product of these pallets is Biomass Fuel, not only used to power the onsite Kiln but supplying customers that have Bio Mass systems, like one of Sedgemoor’s local schools.
Our final stop was the yard; a city of pallet skyscrapers ready to be loaded onto the lorry and delivered to their final location – and no, they don’t blow over in wind because the wind travels through the gaps unlike hitting a solid object!
Team Under Construction would like to Thank Somerlap for allowing us to visit the factory. Being guided through the inner workings, to see the skills required and technicalities of producing an integral element of business supply chains, more than ‘just a pallet’. Next time you see Pallet furniture on Pinterest, remember, it is much more than a cheap piece of wood.