Photos courtesy of Cascades Recovery

Tonnage and material type are two key factors that Cascades Recovery, Toronto, keeps in mind when purchasing balers for its operations.

This year, the company plans to purchase a new baler to replace the oldest machine in its fleet. Kelly Dallyn, general manager of corporate maintenance at Cascades Recovery, says the company’s oldest baler is a 1988 Macpresse 110 at its facility in Rochester, New York. Macpresse is represented in North and South America by Sierra International Machinery, Bakersfield, California.

“It has 110,000 operating hours on it, and it’s at the end of its true useful life,” Dallyn says.

Cascades Recovery aims to get long lives out of its balers, so consistent upkeep of these machines is important. To know if a baler is approaching the end of its useful life, Dallyn says he checks the baler’s hours of use and the machine’s frame.

“If a frame is leaking or if [the baler] gets high on hours, that’s well time to replace it and budget for it,” he says. “If it’s in good condition, we’ll rework it to run it.”

In a few rare circumstances, Anthony Metauro, vice president of operations at Cascades Recovery, adds that the company will move an older baler to another facility to extend its life.

“We probably have only done that three or four times in our history,” Metauro says. “It’s not cheap to take one machine and install it in another facility. It’s really got to be looked at from the financial side. When there is a machine that runs 24 hours, we have tried to replace that machine with a new one and take that existing machine, rebuild it and put it into a facility only running one shift. It’s beneficial to do that instead of spending 100 percent of the cost on a new piece of equipment only running eight hours per day.”

In the case of the Macpresse 110 that needs to be replaced, buying new seems to be the company’s best option.

Dallyn says Cascades Recovery needs to purchase something that can handle the same tonnage and type of material that the 30-year-old machine has been processing. The 1988 Macpresse bales about 150 tons per day of old corrugated containers (OCC) and mixed paper. Dallyn says the company likely will buy a Macpresse 111AS single-ram baler to replace the old baler.

When making buying decisions, Dallyn adds that Cascades Recovery specs each of its balers differently.

“It depends on the material being baled whether we need a two-ram or single-ram model,” he says. “It depends on what balers are in the area. And it depends on the tonnage coming in.”

Cascades Recovery also considers the types of balers being used near where a new baler will be placed. Dallyn says placing similar makes and models near one another is helpful for training and maintenance because the machines are more likely to share the same major spare parts.

Currently in the fleet

Cascades operates 19 facilities in Canada and New York. Dallyn says the company factors in each facility’s needs when buying a new baler as each plant has different monthly tonnages, which influence the type of baler that is needed. Some facilities receive more than 20 tons per hour, while others receive less than 100 tons per day. Also, some of the facilities operate three shifts, while others only operate one or two shifts.

Dallyn says the company’s larger facilities lean toward using balers such as the Macpresse 111AS that can bale about 40 tons per hour of OCC. But in its smaller facilities, Cascades Recovery uses balers such as the Macpresse 106 single ram.

Cascades Recovery owns about 25 balers across its operations, not including downstroke balers and compactors. The company uses balers from a variety of manufacturers—American Baler, Bollegraaf, Harris, Machinex and Macpresse—but it most commonly uses the Macpresse 111AS at its operations. The company has 10 of those machines at its plants.

“They’re a simple machine to operate,” Metauro says. “Simplicity of a machine is important for operators. Also, we try to standardize what we use so we have all the parts and knowledge when trying to use them and maintain them.”

Dallyn says that make and model has been especially beneficial for baling plastics.

“A few years ago, Macpresse changed [its] tiers to accommodate a double-wire system, which solved the issue of baling plastics and fixed the problem of wires breaking because of memory in the plastics,” he says, adding that the Macpresse 111AS achieves high throughputs as well.

A few of the Cascades plants also process residential recyclables. In those plants, Dallyn says the company relies on Harris two-ram balers to handle containers. Most of those plants also have a Macpresse baler to handle recovered fiber if the infeed tonnage is large enough.

By sticking to two main types of balers, Dallyn says Cascades’ plants can share an inventory of critical parts—main hydraulic cylinders, main motors, main pumps and programmable logic controllers (PLCs)—to ensure operations run efficiently.

Also, technicians can help each other out with troubleshooting issues. “My techs, they can console each other and collaborate if they have issues quicker with fewer baler types,” he adds.

Benefits of baling advancements

Within the past five years, Dallyn says new balers incorporate new electronic features, such as data tracking.

“Programs are becoming more user friendly and interactive,” he says.

Electronic tools alert operators to baler issues that must be fixed and help technicians investigate mechanical problems.

“It lets us find a solution to eliminate nonbaling time,” Dallyn says. “We can go into the program, and it will give us all the faults that have happened so we can analyze why it stopped working.”

The author is managing editor of Recycling Today and can be contacted by email at