Balers are essential at most recycling facilities and are also used in the manufacture of plastic, paper, box-board, textiles, metals and other materials. Several recent innovations are gaining popularity due to their ability to improve productivity, operator safety and decrease operating costs.
One such innovation is the new Pathfinder( touch screen from American Baler Company, which allows operators to program baler operation. The touch screen provides user-friendly graphics that guide operators through the set up process, system monitoring, trouble shooting and product changeover.
The unit allows operators to control the conveyer, tier, fluffer and bale length as well as monitor the input and output, provide data collection, and report bale count and other valuable production information. A diagnostic feature allows operators to pinpoint a jam or other malfunction on a computerized cross section of the baler. The screens are available in colour or black and white.
The computer interface is available on all American Baler horizontal auto-tie models. Auto-tie models feature hydraulic controls that fully automate the baler-tying function and minimize wire usage through simultaneous twist and cut action.
American Baler has manufactured over 70,000 balers, designed to meet the system requirements of a variety of applications, through an extensive dealer network. There are several touch screen units currently in operation in Canada.
Francis Veilleux, president of Bluewater Recycling in London, Ontario says he was skeptical of the system at first. He didn’t quite trust the technology yet, so Mr. Veilleux asked for buttons to be installed alongside the touch screen.
“We’ve never had to use the buttons,” says Mr. Veilleux. He adds, “Not only is the system efficient, it’s also user-friendly and allows for flexible programming.”
Bluewater’s auto-tie baler has 100 horsepower, while their old manual tie baler had 25 horsepower. The company has gone from running two 8-hour shifts six days a week to just one eight-hour shift five days a week. Mr. Veilleux expects the baler to pay for itself within two years.