Pallet Recycler Addresses Evolving Business Needs with Rotochopper

| Customer Success

rotochopper ec-366 electric horizontal grinder challenger pallet


Challenger Pallet was started in the 1960s by Victor and Gloria Hegsted. At that time, their pallets mainly went to local sugar beet and potato farmers who needed to ship their products across the U.S.

Today, Challenger Pallet is the largest pallet manufacturer in the Intermountain West. When they saw the opportunity recycling used pallets offered, they partnered with Rotochopper to help expand their business opportunities and reduce costs for their customers.


As their pallet recycling business began to take shape, Challenger needed a grinder that could handle a whole pallet—or even a dumpster of material—at a time. Their current grinder was unable to handle their capacity, and Challenger was seeking a solution that could both reduce their labor needs and waste load.

Also producing large amounts of wood fiber, Challenger discovered a great opportunity in the animal bedding market. However, they needed a dependable grinding system to take advantage of it.


While researching horizontal grinders, Challenger discovered Rotochopper, Inc. The pallet industry is one of the largest markets Rotochopper serves, and we’ve done our best to ensure the needs of our customers are satisfied. Challenger was drawn toward our grinders’ ability to tackle variable cuts of wood—no matter the size or length—as well as their reduced level of cleanup. Our safety features also offered them peace of mind, knowing they’d be protected and covered if an issue arose.

Confident in our ability to help them expand their pallet recycling operation, Challenger purchased a Rotochopper EC-366 grinder.


Since their purchase, Challenger Pallet has been extremely satisfied with their grinder, its service, and their overall experience with Rotochopper. The EC-366 can easily keep up with the large loads of incoming pallets, has minimized Challenger’s cleanup, and has helped them reduce costs for customers. The grinder is also equipped with RotoLink, which has streamlined service on Challenger’s grinder.

Today, Challenger remains committed to reducing wood waste through sustainable practices. Challenger purchases used pallets and sorts out the ones that are still usable, then repairs them using pallet components manufactured by Challenger. Unusable pallets are disassembled, ground into animal bedding, and loaded directly into trailers using a Rotochopper trailer loading auger system to minimize handling needs and expense.

Challenger goes through over five million board feet and produces over a quarter million new and used pallets a month. They also produce over six trailer loads of animal bedding per week.

This year, Challenger Pallet purchased an additional EC-366 for another location. “Of all the different manufacturers we deal with…we rate [Rotochopper] in our top ten,” says owner Tad Hegsted. “The machine has done everything they’ve said it would do, and…we’re very, very satisfied.”

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