Buying a horizontal baler can be a confusing proposition if you don’t have a clear idea of how to evaluate performance and operating costs. A good salesperson will present the features and benefits of the equipment they sell in the best light possible to make their product appear to be superior, but are their features right for your application?
Purchasers should consider what materials they deal with (pay special attention to the size and density), the volume to be baled (note bale chamber feed opening) and in what amount of time (note “tonnes per hour” throughput and “cubic feet per hour” displacement).
Be an informed buyer. Balers that claim to have high displacement ratings that cannot produce heavy bales will carry higher operating costs due to excessive bale wire costs and additional handling and storage requirements. Also, the ability to produce a high quantity of bales per hour does not lend itself to cost-effectiveness if all the bales have a light density.
Some balers boast about low electrical operating costs but this savings is fractional compared to the amount that will be spent on baling wire. Baling wire is the most expensive consumable in a baling operation. High volume operators spend more on baling wire than on the baler itself over a 5 to 7 year period. It’s very important to make a “cost per baled tonne” comparison for electrical and baling wire costs.
Balers such as the American Baler Wide Mouth series and the Lindemann-American Balers are known for there high-density bales and high throughput rates. Features of these systems include an extrusion chamber that grips the bale during the compression stroke while the material is densified, and a charge-box specially designed to improve bale uniformity to allow for better compression, which results in heavier bales.
Written by Bob Marshall, president of Machinex Recycling Technologies, based in Pickering, Ontario.