For material recovery facilities (MRFs), the baler is like the heart of the operation. All salable material goes through that machine. If a baler is down, material is not moving. Downtime on balers can have negative effects on employee morale, as well.

Johns Disposal Service Inc., Whitewater, Wisconsin, serves about 60 communities and processes a total of 500 tons per day of all materials at its two MRFs, which are located in Whitewater and Franksville, Wisconsin. The company experienced many baler breakdowns a few years ago at its MRFs, so the company replaced those balers with a different brand. However, Johns Disposal then ran into issues finding parts for the newer balers and the company needed another alternative.

Johns Disposal Co-Owner Ron Jongetjes says it is critical that the company’s balers operate efficiently, so he says the company decided to install something more reliable and powerful in the summer of 2019. The company installed an HLO-8012AR-200 autotie baler from Cordele, Georgia-based Harris to replace one of its open-ended balers at the Whitewater facility. The company has a total of three balers in operation at the Whitewater MRF.

While the new baler is a little bigger than the one it replaced, Jongetjes says it is “sized perfect” to adjust to any fluctuations in the material stream. The Harris autotie baler will help Johns Disposal to bale mixed paper as its other two balers at the Whitewater MRF will focus on cardboard and plastics. Jongetjes adds that about 40 percent of the material stream at the Whitewater MRF is mixed paper.

Sargents Equipment, headquartered in South Chicago Heights, Illinois, also came out to help with the installation and training on the new baler. “They were very hands-on,” Jongetjes says of Sargents. “They followed through and offered support. The installation was an overall good experience between Sargents and Harris.”

Jongetjes lists at least four benefits to the company’s new Harris autotie baler:

  1. More power: In the four months that Johns Disposal has operated the Harris autotie baler, Jongetjes says the baler has not experienced any plugging. The baler has a much larger feed opening than other autotie balers at 45 inches wide by 80 inches long. He says the baler easily achieves baling his material because the baler is rated at up to 29 tons per hour on OCC.
  2. Larger bales: Bales coming from the Harris autotie baler are about 75 percent heavier than the models that Johns Disposal has been using. Overall, the MRF produces fewer yet heavier bales since it installed the new Harris machine, which makes bale storage and truck loading much more efficient.
  3. Easy to clean: With fewer bales, Jongetjes says Johns Disposal doesn’t need as many workers moving and cleaning bales for mixed paper bales. He says the bales are also easier to load into semitrucks.
  4. Savings on wire: Jongetjes says the company went from using four 10-gauge wires to thinner four 12-gauge wires. “The bales come out almost not needing wire,” he says. “It almost stays together on its own. We’re using 20 percent less wire, so we’re saving huge amounts of money on wire.”

Since installing the Harris autotie baler, operations have become much more efficient for Johns Disposal’s Whitewater MRF. Jongetjes says the mixed paper baler, or the heart of the MRF, has been running strong. Jongetjes concludes, “Operations have been running so smooth with the larger Harris baler—the machine has not stopped.”