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[greenyes] Re:Cardboard Baler Questions

Megan and Co.,

Cardboard is about the easiest material of all to bale, and a new vertical
baler that retails for @ $6000 should generate 30 tons of total platen pressure
to produce a 60x30x48 inch bale weighing 1000 lbs on average. Expect a
production rate of one bale per 3/4 hr of labor, if the cardboard is precompacted or
flattened. Use 14 gauge galvanized single-loop bale ties through each slot
(5 or 6), or save some money (but toughen up your hands) by using four 12 gauge
wires per bale. Black annealed wires are messier, rust-prone, and softer
(tend stretch and break). A zealous worker can often break 14 guage black wire
just by manually pulling on the knot too hard...

Collecting and hauling loose cardboard is not very economical without a
compacting truck. I prefer a rearloading compactor truck because it tends to fold
the big boxes into manageable size, and the ejected mass breaks apart easily,
unlike the huge log that can be ejected out of a frontloader truck. A
rearloader also forces your operator to inspect the incoming cardboard at each
generator's site, thereby catching contaminants at the source.

For centralized baling, unless you have free labor, most operations quickly
outgrow vertical balers and want to move to horizontal baling. The compact
closed-end widemouth crossed-cylinder style machines are a great entry level
machine, and start @ $36,000. This class of baler, popularized by the original
Excel EX-60 (replaced by the EX-62),
will successfully bale the full range of paper and plastics generated by
postconsumer recycling operations.
If you only want to bale cardboard (and/or film plastics), an excellent
low-cost option is the Stealth by Marathon Equipment.
This baler doesn't produce the brown bricks that most recyclers take pride
in, but it makes large bales without using a shear bar- the source of most jams
and highest-maintenance item on many machines. Stealth bales will have loose
'tags' hanging off them, but as long as they are tightly tied, will make
maximum trailer weights and hold together until they get to the mill, which is all
that really matters in the long run.

I only know of one mobile baling operation for cardboard that has claimed
success for the long run, it is the South and East Central Colorado co-op run by
Ray Lariviere. They basically welded a standard 60" vertical baler onto the
back bumper of a 5-ton flatbed truck equipped with a grapple. The baler and
grapple crane are powered by truck hydraulics, and finished bales are ejected
onto the ground, and then loaded onto the flatbed with the grapple.

Feel free to contact me off-list with any additional questions, expecially in
regards to small-scale and rural recycling operations.

Jay Donnaway
Oregon DEQ

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