Recycle bale wire scrap at point of generation
For industrial processors, who depend on efficiency to
stay profitable, gnarly bale wire scrap cut loose from
binding raw inputs at the start of production can act
like barbed wire on a battlefield, slowing progress and
threatening the safety of those nearby. The solution
is to get it off the production floor as quickly, safely,
and efficiently as possible.
But the traditional manual means of handling high-tensile
bale wire scrap is inadequate, since having staff handle
it multiple times wastes valuable space and labor while
increasing injury risk. It’s not only difficult to manually
cut, wad, wind, or compress but also can spring back
like a whip when bent. Its sharp ends can poke, scratch,
or puncture, and are a particular hazard to eyes. Long
lengths of it can also trip staff and entangle machinery.
A growing number of companies in bulk processing industries,
ranging from recycling and textiles to paper and pulp,
are finding a key to unlocking greater productivity and
safety. They’re handling high-tensile bale wire scrap
more safely and efficiently by recycling it at its point
of generation via heavy-duty scrap choppers that clean
up the production floor and rev up profitability.
Recovery Processes Innovations (RPI), a recycler of end
of life electronics plastics based in Salt Lake City,
Utah, streamlined its process and enhanced safety with
a heavy-duty chopper that’s making short work of high-tensile
bale wire, cut loose from incoming bales of plastic to
“We achieved ROI in six months with our bale wire chopper,”
said Ronald Kobler, president of RPI. “An operator can
put the ends of ten wires into the feed where they’re
cut loose, and within 15 seconds they’re chopped into
compact pieces in a storage box underneath. We’re saving
$1,000 a month in labor and have freed up 1,000 sq. ft.
of production floor space that we use to store inventory.
Eliminating the bale wire at its source has eliminated
a safety risk, and will help to prevent injury and workers’
Before using the bale wire chopper, RPI faced a less
than satisfactory situation in handling high-tensile
bale wire scrap, each approximately 10 feet long, with
typically hundreds per shift. At first, the company tried
letting the bale wire go through its recycling process,
but it ensnared downstream equipment and had to be removed,
requiring added labor and downtime.
When operators tried bending the wire for easier transport
and storage, it was difficult and inefficient. “If you
bend high-tensile bale wire it springs right back, and
you’ve got to watch out for the sharp ends that can poke
you in the eye,” explained Kobler.
Operators couldn’t cut bale wire with hand wire cutters,
and bolt cutters were too slow; they had to step on the
wire, cut it, and pick up the pieces with a shovel. They
ended up cramming bale wire into boxes set on pallets.
When enough boxes were filled, a forklift operator moved
them to an outside dumpster for pick up.
“We understood that chopping scrap at its point of generation
would boost safety and cut labor and handling costs,”
said Kobler. “But we needed a heavy-duty chopper actually
built for bale wire. With our volume, we couldn’t afford
to feed a wire at a time into a light duty chopper that
would jam or wear out.”
Kobler turned to a heavy-duty bale wire chopper, designed
to reduce and ready the high-tensile scrap for recycling.
“Now the bale wire disappears as soon as it’s cut,” said
Kobler. “We’ve done away with the extra labor and handling
cost, the added box and pallet costs and the storage
limitations. What’s most improved is safety and morale.
Instead of being up to our eyeballs in unruly bale wire,
we’ve got a safe, clean production floor and compact
wire that’s easy to store and transport.”
“After a year of operation, the bale wire chopper is
working fine, and we expect it to provide many years
of trouble-free use,” added Kobler, who says its wear-resistant
hardware and rotatable knives are part of its appeal.
Western Pulp, a leader in molded fiber solutions in industries
such as packaging-shipping, nursery-greenhouse and floral,
has also enhanced safety, efficiency, and recycling with
a heavy-duty bale wire chopper. As its primary bulk input,
bundles of used paper enter production bound with bale
wire that must be removed and safely disposed of.
Previously, operators cut the bale wire then rolled or
wadded it to fit into outside dumpsters.
“The primary driver for us was safety, to reduce the
risk of pokes and cuts posed from loose, tangled bale
wire,” said Terry Glasgow, Maintenance Supervisor at
Western Pulp’s Corvallis, Oregon plant. “We didn’t want
anyone poked in the eye. Because the chopper will help
to eliminate poke, cut or trip incidents due to loose
bale wire in the production area, it should simplify
meeting OSHA requirements.”
Glasgow liked a number of the safety features in the
heavy-duty bale wire chopper, such as a large opening
for smooth feeding of the wire, along with an “anti-kickback”
funnel infeed. He felt its “safety face” makes an easy
target should a user need to stop the machine quickly.
“Since the operator can hit the entire front of the machine
with a shoulder, elbow, or body part, it’s a failsafe
emergency stop that enhances safety.”
Glasgow acknowledged another economical, ecological plus,
“Instead of paying to haul unmanageable bale wire to
a landfill, a scrap dealer is now paying us for the chopped,
more easily processed bale wire. Our improved process
will help move us toward green certification, as we aim
to recycle 100 percent of our input material, including