Balers are machines used to compress and bind materials. In industrial, retail or consumer sectors, balers compress waste or byproducts for the purposes of improved ease of handling, transportation, storage or recycling. In farming and agricultural sectors, balers are used to compress harvested crops for purposes of transportation or feeding. Balers can press and bind virtually any material including garbage, plastic, scrap cloth and many other materials.
Industrial baler manufacturers produce balers for specific purposes such as cardboard balers, trash compactors and metal balers. Heavy-duty balers for use with waste products that require a lot of pressure in order to compress are sometimes referred to as baling presses, or in specific cases drum crushers. For agricultural uses, such as creating hay bales, round balers are typically used. Specialized baling and compact equipment with the added feature of moisture extraction is used for materials which contain residual oils and liquids. Industrial compactors and compactors are very similar to balers in that they reduce material size for more efficient transportation. Balers tend to be very durable and reliable pieces of machinery and therefore it is possible to source used balers at cost-effective prices that have been refurbished and still have a long lifespan.
Depending on the intended application of a baler, there are two main structure types to choose from: vertical and horizontal. Vertical balers are those that are loaded from the top, and vertical refers to the direction in which material travels in the baler. Vertical balers are often single load machines for material that is lighter in density and volume such as cardboard or plastic, and need to be manually unloaded when the compaction process is complete. These are usually used for smaller waste reduction processes in facilities that do not produce large quantities of scrap. Vertical balers are typically more compact than horizontal balers and are available at relatively low-costs. Horizontal balers are designed for continual use and come with automated feed options but can also be hand-fed or mechanically fed. While horizontal balers take up more floor space, they have the advantage of increased load capacity and are able to compact materials such as cans, plastic containers, papers and secondary fibers.
Smaller vertical balers may require pre-shredding of materials, but horizontal balers are able to successfully compact most materials from food scraps to old vehicle tires without additional processes. Industries such as automotive or packaging use horizontal balers to make the process of removal and transportation easier. Most industrial balers are powered by electricity and both types of balers use hydraulic systems to move the material, cutting back on energy expenditure and heat generation.