Not your grandfather’s pallet company: Palltronics to open Mocksville facility

Published 9:29 am Thursday, November 18, 2021

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By Jeanna Baxter White
Word Master Media Group

Palltronics, the maker of the world’s first fully-trackable shipping pallet, has chosen Mocksville for its first manufacturing facility.
The highly-anticipated pallets are already sold out for the first three years of production.
The Michigan-based company has leased a new 253,000-square-foot industrial building in the SouthPoint Business Park on US 601 North and plans to invest more than $40 million in equipment and upfitting to create a world-class advanced manufacturing facility capable of producing more than four million pallets annually.
Palltronics expects to create 200 new jobs by the time the plant opens during the third quarter of 2022. Hiring for the innovation center, which will be tasked with continuously improving the pallet’s materials and technology, will begin in early spring ahead of its opening in May. Hiring for the assembly plant will begin in June.
The company did not receive any state incentives, but qualifies for local performance-based incentives of up to $181,848 from Davie County and $68,222 from the Town of Mocksville over the next three years.
The Palltronics shipping pallet is an advanced pallet embedded with electronics that offers unprecedented track and trace capabilities.
Using technology much like the GPS on a smartphone, each pallet can be traced in “real-time” virtually anywhere. This pallet also includes temperature and humidity sensors and an accelerometer that helps clients ensure that their perishable products arrive at their destination at peak quality. The accelerometer indicates any unusual disruption or shaking that fragile foods or sensitive electronic devices may have experienced. All information is stored in the Cloud and can be accessed anytime from anywhere.
“These measurements are highly beneficial to our customers,” said Palltronics President Marty DiFiore, using the example of an egg producer. “Because of temperature excursions (readings outside of the recommended range) and shock to their product while it is being shipped, egg producers often incur a lot of damage-related expense. Knowing where the damage or temperature excursion occurred in the distribution channel is highly advantageous to improving product safety and quality.”
The hybrid pallets are manufactured from a wood substrate coated with a proprietary formulation that contains Microban® technology, an antimicrobial/antifungal agent, making them lightweight, hygienic and virtually indestructible. Unlike typical wooden pallets that last 2 to 3 years with multiple repairs, DiFiore said that testing simulations indicate that Palltronics pallets will last 10 years.
The pallets are designed for high-velocity distribution channels such as protein, produce, and pharmaceuticals. In those industries, companies don’t buy pallets, they rent them from a shared pool. Pallets are leased for as long as needed and then picked up, inspected, and delivered to the next customer. A pallet could hold candy or packaged food one month and perishable food or electronics the next.
According to DiFiore, the company began the search for the ideal location to begin production in May 2021. It was looking for a location on the East Coast and considered North Carolina desirable because of its proximity to the ports for inbound freight, its logistical location and access to trucking companies for shipping finished pallets, and a highly-trained workforce well-versed in wood products because of the furniture industry.
Company officials looked at a few locations in the Charlotte area and were on the way to look at another facility, but it had been taken off of the market the day they landed.
“Our broker told us he had a place in Mocksville that we should look at, and as soon as we got to the area we fell in love with it,” said DiFiore. “We found the perfect building, a talented workforce, and the ideal location logistically. We were thrilled with the welcome that we received from the community and the landlord and are really excited to begin producing and manufacturing our state-of-the-art pallets in Mocksville.”
“We are moving rapidly into an era of intellectual problem solving driven by data harvesting. Today’s technological world is rapidly changing knowledge and creating continuous improvement to our everyday lives,” said Terry Bralley, president of the Davie County Economic Development Commission. “Palltronics’ new production facility in Mocksville will deliver this highly advanced product to the market.
“We’re delighted that such a leader in innovation has chosen our county for its first manufacturing facility. The creation of 200 new jobs and its financial investment are a tremendous economic boost to the community.”
Bralley considers this another win for Davie County’s speculative building program which has brought thousands of jobs and millions of dollars of investment to Davie County at no financial risk to the public.
“Most counties would love to have what we have in terms of a spec building program. While some communities have taken public funds to compete with other developers, we’ve taken the opposite approach; supporting private sector efforts and partnering with private developers rather than competing with them.”
The approach works.
Palltronics is the seventh manufacturer to select Davie County over the past six months.
Last month, global chemical company, Scott Bader, acquired a new facility in Mocksville to produce its market-leading structural adhesives and gelcoats, and DFA USA, which designs and manufactures sound deadening and insulation materials for the automotive industry, announced its expansion and relocation to Mocksville.
Since June, Sportsfield Specialties, the industry-leading manufacturer of athletic field equipment; Carolina Shutters & Blinds, which manufactures custom plantation blinds; Liberty Storage, which designs and constructs custom storage buildings; and Hayward Holdings, a global designer and manufacturer of pool equipment and associated automation systems, have also established facilities in Mocksville.
Those days of having spec buildings is over for a while, Bralley told Mocksville Town Board members earlier this month. This is the last one at South Point, and another can’t be quickly erected because materials can’t be obtained to build, he said. He expects that delay to be about a year.
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