Industrial Balers and Compactors

Cardboard Baler

Cardboard baler’s and industrial compactors are useful to almost all businesses that create scrap material or recycle cardboard, plastic, foam, and many other waste materials. This equipment is used to compact these materials into a finished compact shape or bale. Compacted material is smaller, easier to handle, and less costly to transport then loose material.

Cardboard balers and industrial compactors can assist almost any business including manufacturing facilities, warehouses, schools, medical centers, junk yards and reclamation centers, smelters and ore processing centers, hotels, industrial facilities, hospitals, airports and restaurants.

About Cardboard Balers and Industrial Compactors

A baler takes loose, recyclable products and compresses them into a bundle that is bound and tied to ease handling. A compactor compresses materials into a receiving container that is either dumped on-site or hauled to a trash receiving station. Typically, a compactor is used for trash and a baler is used for recyclable products.

An industrial baler is used to compress and bind materials for shipping or recycling. Balers can be part of a line, with conveyor systems and shredders or operate independently. They have an input area either on the side or top depending on the type of baler. The input area leads to a chamber where the material is pounded, smashed or squeezed into a compact size and then bound. Wire, plastic or string is often used in the binding. Cardboard balers can be used for many types of materials. There are also specialized baling and compacting equipment available for the extraction of oils and liquids from material.

The two main types of baling machine styles are vertical and horizontal. This describes the way the material travels through the machine itself and also refers to way the material is loaded into the machine. Horizontal balers take up more floor space than vertical balers, but they have the advantage of greater load capacity and more automated functions. Vertical balers often are single load machines and need to be manually unloaded when the compacting and baling is complete. These are used in smaller facilities that produce less waste and deal often with scrap that is lighter in density and volume.

Industrial compactors are similar to balers, except that compactors are generally smaller units, and they tend to form a more compact bundle. They are commonly used for food waste processing and in commercial, marine, light industrial or residential applications.

Different Types of Industrial Balers and Compactors

There are a lot of great applications for industrial balers and compactors, and they can be part of an assembly system or independent units. Special functions such as automatic tie or wrapping of the bale are available along with the capability to shear and remove extra protrusions. Some common types include:

  • Baling presses use a large plate that comes down onto the material in the bin compressing it, then it is baled and ejected.
  • Cardboard balers are designed to deal specifically with compressing and binding cardboard, usually for recycling.
  • Compactors are used to condense or crush material; they have one or two mechanisms that press the material with extreme force to the desired size.
  • Crushers and flatteners compact and crush or flatten scrap material to improve handling, transportation, and disposal.
  • Double-ram balers have a separate ram for compressing recyclable material against a fixed wall and a second ram for ejecting the finished bale. Double-ram bales are generally denser, more uniform and use less wire-tie than single-ram bales. Double-ram balers are typically more expensive.
  • Downstroke baler is a baling device in which the compression ram and platen move vertically in the chamber.
  • Garbage or trash compactors are a powerful device used to condense waste, trash and garbage.
  • Horizontal balers load from one end with the material traveling through to the other end in a horizontal motion.
  • Open-end balers push the bale out and require and “auto tie” system, while a closed-end baler has a door at the end of the chamber.
  • Single-ram balers are fed by a conveyor that moves in sequence with the baling operation. Materials travel through the “in-feed” to an open charging box where they collect. A photo eye tells the machine when the box is full, then the ram pushes the materials into a chamber for baling and automatic tying.
  • Vertical balers load from the top or front of the machine and may have more than one bin in order to process different types or grades of material. They often have to be unloaded manually.

How to Select a Baler or Compactor

Industrial balers and compactors can help you save money on recycling and waste disposal costs, improving your operational efficiency with better material storage and ease transportation. But how do you determine if an industrial baler or industrial compactor fits your needs and which model to buy?

1. Identify the types of material you plan to bale

Estimate how much material will be transported to the baler, and what volume per year, per month, per day and per hour you expect it to handle. Confirm that you have a high enough volume to merit the investment in the equipment

Consider the shape and size of materials to be baled. What will your largest piece of material be? Will the baler be handfed or will there be enough volume for conveyor feed? The type of product to be baled is the most important determination of the size and type of equipment.

2. Identify the potential market or destination for your bales

Talk to a reprocessor about what bale size and weight he would like, and what revenues you can expect. For example, you may get the most money from your recycler if your cardboard bales are at least 60″ x 30″ x 48″ and weigh at least 1000 Lbs

Typically you want to make the fewest number of bales as dense as possible to reduce shipping and handling cost. This is offset by the ability to handle the bales and equipment costs. Consider how the bales will be handled once the material has been compacted. Will you unload the baler and transport the bales or will your reprocessor pick them up?

3. Evaluate the space and layout for the equipment

You want the industrial baler or compactor to be setup in the right location for efficiency and safety. The reality of space limitations may also be a factor in baler selection. Analyze the physical location to determine if there are any restrictions to floor space or vertical space.

A standard baler is about 12 feet tall. Check to make sure the doors are wide enough and there is enough overhead clearance along the path the baler must follow to be installed. Check clearance for the doors to swing open and get to the controls. Is there room to get the bale out after it’s made? Also, there must be a power disconnect available at the correct voltage.

You can place your baler outside if you protect it from the weather. You will save more labor by placing your baler close to where your cardboard is generated

4. Narrow the selection of types

To determine what kind of baler you’ll need, consider these issues:

  • Vertical balers handle lower volumes of recyclables, and the binding is done manually. Most retail stores use vertical balers because the bale weight is the same or better than a horizontal baler at a fraction of the cost and the baler takes up less space. Horizontal balers are for higher-volume applications. Most produce bales that are manually bound, but the very high-speed balers bind automatically.
  • Smaller cylinder balers can be used where volume reduction, not bale density, is important (small, corrugated boxes; general waste paper; and light trim shredded or non-shredded waste paper found at printers, grocery stores, etc.). Larger cylinder balers are needed where maximum bale density and high-capacity is needed, or the materials include box board, fiber board and chip board material all with or without polyethylene or wax coatings.
  • Generally, the smaller and denser the bale, the better. A forklift that can handle any size of bale produced gives more size options than handling bales with a pallet jack. In addition, recyclers need to load their trucks efficiently. Usually, they have strict requirements on how big or dense a bale can be accepted. The baler chosen has to be able to produce bales within the parameters of the recycler serving the business.

5. Buy from reputable manufacturers and dealers

Find an experienced manufacturer with a sterling reputation. Its equipment should be American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-compliant and Underwriters Laboratories (UL)-listed. The difference is that ANSI is a self-certification process in which the manufacturer states its equipment meets the requirements. UL is a third-party certification, which ensures that all the safety standards are met independent of the manufacturer. Not all manufacturers have UL-listed equipment.

Get customer references from the manufacturer or dealer. Talk to these customers and ask them what kind of service and support they received before and after the sale. A reliable manufacturer will have satisfied customers who got excellent service. Issues can arise on any piece of equipment and the quality of after-sale support is very important.

Examine what the warranty covers. A one-year warranty is standard, but you may be able to purchase an additional service plan where a manufacturer will periodically inspect the machine.

After you’ve completed all the homework, determined your needs – including material types, waste amounts to be baled, bale density desired, future volume predictions and your budget – and compared competing manufacturers’ equipment and services, you should be ready to buy.

6. Develop a safety and training program

Anyone using a baler needs to be trained in how to operate it safely. It’s no different from anything else that is potentially dangerous. Only by operating it properly can the safety of the employees using the baler be ensured.

Generally, a manufacturer will provide installation and start-up service, including a check of components and controls. Some baler manufacturers also offer “baler school” at an additional cost. This typically is three to five days of intensive, hands-on training at the manufacturer’s plant on baler operation, emergency shut-down procedures and daily maintenance. Your installer may provide training on-site that meets your needs.

Balers used in operations employing anyone under the age of 18 must conform to ANSI standards, which include a key lock to operate the machine. Under those standards, the employer is liable for the safe operation of the baler. There is also a federal law that makes it illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to operate a baler or trash compactor. Retail stores who hire teenagers need to be especially vigilant at controlling and limiting access to baler operation.

Baling Equipment Safety Requirements (ANSI Z245.5-1997)* are among the industry’s best-known safety standards. ANSI Z245.5-1997 defines the safety requirements for baler manufacturing, rebuilding, installation, maintenance and use. It applies to manufacturers and equipment users, both employers and employees. Things included are:

  • Lockout/tagout of hazardous energy sources;
  • Drive mechanism guarding;
  • Installation requirements;
  • Construction, reconstruction and modification requirements;
  • Safety markings and signs;
  • Operational requirements for employers and employees;
  • Start-up alarms; and
  • Loading chamber requirements.


*The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Washington, D.C., has issued compliance directives citing this standard as a reference. This means that OSHA officers are encouraged to use ANSI Z245.5-1997 when evaluating compliance. ANSI Z245.5-1997 is published by the Environmental Industry Associations (EIA), Washington, D.C., and is available by calling the EIA publications department at: (800) 424-2869.

Industrial Balers for Recycling

Corrugated cardboard represents a significant percentage of the commercial solid waste stream and can represent 15% of the waste generated in an office setting and as much as 40% or more in a retail establishment. Below you will find the benefits associated with using an industrial balers for recycling.

By recycling your cardboard instead of discarding it you’ll be:

  • Conserving energy usage,
  • Reducing the production of green house gases and the emissions of certain air pollutants,
  • Conserving water use,
  • Conserving natural resources (it takes 3 tons of trees to produce one ton of virgin cardboard),
  • Reducing the cost of your waste disposal,
  • Freeing up space used to store waste cardboard,
  • Complying with local regulations as applicable.

The recycling of corrugated containers is easy and simple to implement. Once the clean cardboard is separated, your system for handling the corrugated may be a simple as placing the loose flattened corrugated into a container, manually bundling it, or using a mechanical baler.

For businesses generating larger quantities of corrugated the decision to bale and the choice of bale size, should be made on a case-by-case basis. Generally speaking, both baling and compacting improve ease of handling, reduce storage space requirements and allow greater quantities to be carried per haul, thus reducing hauling costs.

Industrial Compactors for Trash

Trash is not a “fun” subject, but studies show that efficient management of your solid waste disposal can lead to significant cost savings for many businesses and institutions.

Typically waste hauler rates are determined by the size of the trash bin multiplied by the number of bins and the number of times they are emptied. By compacting your trash, the number of times each bins is emptied can be reduced significantly. So even if the hauler has a compacted trash rate of 1-1/2 to 2 times normal, your waste handling costs can still go down by 50% or more.

Other benefits can include:

  • Potential labor savings with more efficient trash disposal.
  • A cleaner parking lot because debris does not blow out of the bins.
  • Better security because employees do not need to take the trash out at night enabling managers to keep the back door locked.
  • Elimination of other people putting trash in your bins.
  • Better Sanitation for kitchen operations because bacteria and odors are killed inside the compactor and trash bags will no longer build up at the door.

Baler and Compactor Sales, Service & Installation

We distribute a wide variety of industrial balers and compactors. We understand that obtaining the right industrial baler for your operation is important, and we will provide complete installation and service for whichever model you select.

For Baler Sales – Contact Us!

Industrial Balers and Compactors

We install and service eight standard models of vertical balers ranging in size from 36″ to 72″. All of these industrial baler models have full U.L. approval. These balers can be used for a variety of applications including the baling of cardboard, plastic P.E.T. bottles, aluminum cans and siding. The baler models can accommodate bales from 100 to 1800 pounds.


Our experienced service technicians will perform all post-installation maintenance on your baler or compactor.

Contact us for help with getting the right industrial baler or compactor to fit your needs and budget.