When Mid America Recycling, headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, needed a new single-ram baler for its material recovery facility (MRF) in Lincoln, Nebraska, Michael “Mick” Barry, co-owner of the company, says he was willing to do a lot of research to find the machine that would be the perfect fit.

The company had been using a baler that served the MRF well since the mid-1990s, but Barry says it was time for an upgrade by 2016.

“The baler was getting old,” he says. “It served a useful life and was a great baler, but the metal was wearing out and it was in a fatigued state. It was not worth rebuilding.” He adds that the baler model that the company had been using at its Lincoln MRF no longer had good service or parts availability in the U.S.

The Lincoln MRF receives both single-stream recyclables and commercial recyclables; the company needed a baler that could handle all its commodities in one machine.

After researching the baler market, Barry says Miami-based Imabe of America offered a solution that seemed like it would meet the production demands of the Lincoln MRF. Imabe’s single-ram Model H-120/2000 baler can handle a wide range of materials, which is just what the Lincoln MRF needed.

Although Imabe was a newer name in the U.S. marketplace at the time, Barry says he and his company were willing to invest in the single-ram baler Model H-120/2000 from Imabe after discussing the benefits of the baler in person with Cesar Benitez, CEO of Imabe, and after seeing the machine in action at facilities in Florida.

“The baler offered higher speeds, less maintenance and much higher tech than other balers that were available to us at the time,” Barry says. “What we saw on paper and in reality were true.”

So, Mid America Recycling took the next step to purchase and install the baler at its Lincoln MRF. Barry says the installation was memorable—Imabe personnel were willing to travel from Spain to Lincoln on Easter weekend in order to set up the baler. Imabe stayed in Lincoln for about a week during the installation and returned a few weeks later to make adjustments and answer any of Mid America Recycling’s questions.

Barry says Imabe’s owners were very involved in the whole installation process. Even a few years after the installation, he says they continue to check in periodically to ensure the baler is operating smoothly.

“We felt very comfortable with the owners,” he says. “They gave it the hands-on treatment; that’s how they do business. You felt like you were part of the family at that point. Imabe has great customer support. We have the ability to reach them during critical times; you have the ability to get an answer even during the off shifts.”

Mid America Recycling’s Lincoln MRF recently changed ownership groups and became Green Quest Recycling LLC in November 2018. The facility receives about 2,000 tons per month of material. To date, the Imabe single-ram baler continues to perform to the company’s demands. It also features unique diagnostic tools that inform Green Quest Recycling workers about its production levels by commodity for each shift of the day. Barry adds that it’s a good machine for plants that need to run 20 to 40 bales per hour that handle a wide range of materials.

“It’s been a great machine, it runs at the rates projected and it requires minimal maintenance,” he says. “We’re planning on using Imabe for replacements here in Des Moines when we get to that point. We’ll be replacing some of our other balers in Des Moines based on the performance from [the baler] in Lincoln.”