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Equipment Spotlight

Portable Balers

Most recyclers facing the task of baling recyclable material move the material to the baler, but for some scrap yards, landfills, factories and recycling services, it makes more sense to use portable equipment and move the baler to the recyclables.

R.M. Johnson Co.

At R.M. Johnson Co. in Annandale, Minnesota, David VanVleet, sales manager, says versatility is the reason people buy their self-contained movable log balers. “You can take a portable baler to a scrap yard, a landfill or just about any remote location where there’s material waiting to be processed,” VanVleet says. Landfills are often a popular target of mobile baling companies. “The landfills don’t process enough scrap to justify having a baler on-site full time. They’ll stockpile their stoves, refrigerators and other items and then call the mobile baler in for disposal once they’ve generated a pile.”

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Haag Manufacturing
Sierra International

The standard E-Z Log Baler Standard VanVleet sells weighs 51,000 lbs. and can be moved anywhere a semi-trailer tractor can haul it. Most users of the diesel-powered machines are baling service companies. “There are a lot of them now starting up to do just white goods such as stoves, refrigerators, washers and dryers,” VanVleet says.

E-Z balers attract users because of the relatively modest prices and ability to process tons of recyclable materials per day, VanVleet says. The 36-year-old company offers a one-year guarantee on all parts and labor. VanVleet hinted at a new model announcement coming this spring, which he said will incorporate technology and design features similar to the company’s existing portable balers.

The company’s portable baler sales haven’t been affected by any new regulations, new markets or new technologies, but remain strong, he says. “It’s unbelievable, with the market yo-yoing, but we’re staying very busy,” VanVleet says. “We’re backlogged about three and a half months.”

At Al-jon Manufacturing LLC in Ottumwa, Iowa, scrap sales manager Curt Spry says the company’s most popular model is the Al-jon 580 Car/Logger. “This portable one-man machine can process up to 25 car bodies per hour as well as miscellaneous loose sheet tin at a rate of 15 to 20 tons per hour,” Spry says.

Al-jon Manufacturing LLC

The company also manufactures a 400XL portable baler/logger. “This machine is highly mobile, weighing in at 61,000 lbs.,” Spry says. “The machine can travel from site to site baling or logging miscellaneous loose sheet tin, appliances and is also used in many non-ferrous applications baling aluminum.”

Al-jon’s machines are distinguished by its “L” box design, which allows operators an extra large loading area measuring 10 feet by 19 feet on the 580 and 8 feet by 12 feet on the 400XL. This increases the speed of loading. “After final compression the bales or logs remain in the middle of the box for easy pickup and are ready to load into a trailer,” Spry adds.

“Al-jon is using a Plus One System on all of our units,” he continues. “This system allows the operator to adjust the density of the bales or logs from the seat of the cab. Additional Plus One features are bale count and hydraulic system checks. Both Al-jon balers are equipped with joy stick controls, heat, air conditioning and stereo.”

Al-jon supplies baler/loggers all over the world. “We are seeing shredder owners purchase multiple machines and placing them in strategic locations in order to keep their shredders full of feed stock,” Spry says.

Colmar USA

At Colmar USA in Wheatfield, New York, vice president Lisa Bresolin says the company’s most popular models are its B5500, B6200SW, SB5000-700, SB6200-800, C403 and C650. The company’s seven logger balers are all fully transportable and sold standard in a roll-on/roll-off version. They weigh from 30,800 lbs. to 91,000 lbs. and wheeled versions are available upon request.

Colmar’s value attracts buyers, Bresolin says. “Moreover our delivery time is still very good,” she adds. “Our average is around 90 days and we still often have units in stock, unfortunately not as much as the market requires.”

Colmar is launching a new line of bigger balers and shear balers. “The Eagle line, the highest technology ever used by Colmar, has units with productivity of 40 to 60 tons per hour,” Bresolin says. The first unit of this kind is now in operation in Florida.

Shear balers are the most popular among Colmar buyers, who include scrap yards of every size in every worldwide market, Bresolin says. “The East European market is growing faster and faster, China and the Far East are also opening to our kind of products,” she says.

The future of the portable industry baler looks good, according to these manufacturers, despite the slow down of the economy in general. “And it will be good for a while at least until China will slow down, which is not expected soon,” Bresolin adds.

One concern Bresolin noted had more to do with currency than compression. “The rate of exchange for the euro and dollar is getting worse and worse by the day and is affecting business,” she says. “Our margins are shrinking every day. We are trying to keep our prices as steady as possible but it is really a nightmare. Let’s hope the sinking of the dollar against the euro will come to an end soon.”