Single-ram horizontal balers are the most common type of baler employed in MRFs and other large-scale recycling facilities for compressing and readying recovered paper, plastics and other recyclables for transport downstream to end markets. Also referred to as a channel baler, these machines use a single-ram or cylinder to compress, move and eject material in a continuous cycle). They are ideal for high-production recycling facilities processing paper and cardboard, plastic bottles and UBCs, and are very adaptable to handle a range of other materials, including everything from textiles to metals.
Today's horizontal, single-ram balers are highly automated, high-tech machines, using automatic bale tying, SMART technology, and monitoring systems with remote diagnostic capabilities. They provide easy maintenance, low-downtime, easy changes between materials and are highly productive, while being more environmentally friendly than ever.
Bollegraaf has been building single-ram balers in Europe since the 1960s. The company's single-ram balers were first introduced to the North American market in 1984 by the founders of Van Dyk Recycling Solutions, which today, remains Bollegraaf's North American distributor.
"At that time, single-rams were primarily used as paper balers in the dual-stream recycling environment," says John Reuckert, senior technician at Van Dyk Recycling Solutions. "By the mid-to-late-1990s, single-stream recycling emerged, and Bollegraaf's baler evolved to bale containers in addition to fibre.
"One of the biggest advantages of a Bollegraaf baler is its ability to process a variety of materials quickly," says Rueckert. He adds that advanced autonomous operation allows "intelligent" setup and feeding of different materials with just a few touches on the operator touchscreen or remote tablet. On the latest models, production throughput has significantly increased, providing immediate time and labour savings.
"Since the beginning Van Dyk and Bollegraaf have strived for constant improvement, all while remembering our ‘legacy' balers," says Reuckert. "In the last 10 years, we have introduced a variety of improvements, many that can be retrofitted to earlier models." He says recent advances include: autonomous operation, whereby the baler "learns" material, equating to up to a 20 percent increase in production and container weights; intuitive operator panels that are as easy to operate as a smartphone; simplified needle and knotting systems, providing lower part count, higher throughput and better reliability; and available double-channel cylinders, for higher bale densities and more consistent bale size and shape.
When comparing single-ram balers to two-ram balers, Rueckert says that single-ram balers have always excelled in fibre production facilities.
"Rather than tearing apart and mashing material into a wall (basically what a two-ram baler does) the single-ram baler uses the previous bale to help retain and compress material." He says this provides efficiency, more consistent bale weights, faster grade changes and no "orphan" bales when two grades are introduced to a bale chamber during grade changes.
"Current advancements in autonomous operation, double-wire capability, automated perforating systems, tying systems and pressure adjustments have turned Bollegraaf machines into the perfect vehicle for baling heavy loads of both containers and fibre at impressive speeds."