Recycling Balers Guide To Buying A Closed Door Manual Tie Horizontal Baler

In this guide, we’ll talk about closed door manual tie horizontal balers, why should I have one and what kind should I have? In answering the first part of the question, consider the following:

Reduce Waste

Garbage is a given when running a business, thus, waste removal is a necessary service that cuts into your bottom line. It’s unlikely to think that you’ll be able to completely remove the expense no matter how much you recycle, reduce and reuse, but every little bit helps in a competitive market. Whether your garbage collection service charges by weight or bulk, removing recyclable goods like plastics, cardboard and paper will undoubtedly result in lessened expenditure, or at least more trash removed per charge. 

Get Money Back

 If we look at the corrugated cardboard, or OCC market alone, a short ton (2,000 pounds) of OCC was worth approximately $75.00 in February of 2018, according to the on-line publication Recycling Today, which is a decline from highs of nearly $180.00 per short ton in August of 2017. At even reduced prices, if a business generates 100 tons of OCC per month, there’s a potential recoup of $7,500.00.

Clean Up Your Reputation

The on-line publication Insights by Nielsen in a September 11, 2018 release found trends across the globe that suggest consumers everywhere have higher expectations for companies to engage in environmentally friendly and sustainable practices. One of the easiest and low-cost practices businesses can engage in is recycling OCC. Further, having less waste and waste containers lying around makes for a more inviting shop front, decreases safety and infestation concerns and attracts more foot traffic, which might increase business and reduce costs.

So now that you have an idea of how your business might benefit with a baler at the base of your recycling program, it’s time for part two. What kind of closed door manual horizontal tie baler should I have? 

Learning More About Closed Door Manual Tie Horizontal Balers: 

For purposes of this guide, we’re going to look at closed-door manual tie horizontal balers. Considered an entry-level baler for purposes of recycling revenue, closed door manual tie horizontal balers are typically used for recycling cardboard and shredded paper although they can be used to compact a variety of materials. These reliable machines are the typical picks of distribution centers, furniture discount stores, industrial facilities and small recycling centers. Bales are tied off with single loop galvanized ties

Click this link to watch the instructional video for tying and transporting bales.  Balers are, by nature bulky and weighty pieces of equipment, and we’ll talk more about that below. For all that though, they’re surprisingly easy to install , typically off the back of a truck, with the proper equipment and personnel available.  Another perk with these machines is, once it’s in place, it’s ready to go.

Still, before you go to the trouble and cost of installing a compactor, you should make sure you’re getting the right baler for your business needs. Probably one of the first things you’ll need to determine is how much recyclable material do your activities produce per day? While this answer is likely to vary from time to time, Recycling Today’s on-line publication, recommends horizontal balers for businesses that produce more than 100 tons of recyclables in a month. Another article in the same publication breaks the production numbers down to 3 to 4 bales per hour or about 4 to 5 tons per hour.

Closed-end balers typically operate with the use of a single ram, powered by an electro-hydraulic engine, to compress fibrous materials such as OCC, paper, newsprint and sometimes textiles through a chamber against a sealed door. Other materials that can be processed with these types of balers include light metals, plastics and other UBC materials (used beverage containers). Once the baling cycle is complete and the bale is manually tied off, production can continue and as more material is fed into the compactor, the bale is slowly advanced to an extraction point where it can be removed with a forklift.  Other models may make use of an extended ram that advances a completed bale forward to the extraction point where it is also removed with the use of a forklift. Other configurations include side-door extraction and mechanized service islands that lift the completed bale into position for easier removal by forklift. The service island configuration also removes the need for separate pallets to handle bale removal.

Horizontal balers like the ones pictured are typically larger than their smaller, vertical cousins, and, therefore make a bigger footprint. While this can cause some trouble in tighter-spaces, the loss of maneuverability can be off-set by the fact that you are going to get larger bales (higher re-sale) and horizontal balers have more options for automation, they are easier to load and have other perks to speed up efficiency. It’s worth noting though that the on-line publication Cardboard Balers suggests that most balers take up less room than a typical garbage bin when they’re in the closed position. However, having an area cleared around the baler for staff and supporting machinery such as forklifts, wooden skids and cart dumpers is something to consider.

Baler height ranges from lows of just over 30 inches (for specially designed low-profile models) to just over 50 inches, with most being close to 48 inches. The hopper or charging box (where material to be compacted is placed) may add an additional 30 to 40 inches or more, depending on configuration of your specific machine. Width of the compactor component also fall within ranges of four to five feet.

The baling area, the spot where you remove your OCC from, on horizontal balers may add as much as another 120 to 132 inches for overall lengths of 14 to 15 feet with the door closed. When the door is open, the baler might take up as much as an additional 40 inches, thus, the complete size of the baler might use as much as 225.5 inches or nearly 20 feet. It’s worth noting that some horizontal baler doors open vertically, thus allowing for some space saving which can make things better in tight spaces.

Electrical Footprint

In line with this, you might want to consider the compactor’s electrical footprint as well. Compactors use single phase electrical power or three-phase electrical power to run the engine, or power pack. Single phase power is one direct wave cycle and three-phase power three distinct wave cycles. Single phase voltage is normally 230V and three phase voltage is 415V. Generally, the operator panel and other vital equipment is arranged around the engine mounting. Regardless of where the compactor is located, this sensitive equipment can be damaged, mistakenly or on purpose, increasing maintenance costs.

The protective enclosures for the power pack are rated according to the National Electrical Manufacturer’s Association (NEMA) for both indoor and outdoor use as well as weather resistance and personal protection against injury. For outdoor applications, generally NEMA 3, 3R, 4 or 4X is recommended. For indoor applications, NEMA 1 or NEMA 12 are accepted. You should consult the NEMA website and your compactor company to make sure that these sensitive parts have the protection they need for your environment.

Operating Pressure

A few other things worth noting that will be almost uniform with the horizontal->

Production rates aren’t going to skyrocket with any of these models. Most produce mill sized bales (typically 30 inches high by 45 inches wide and 60 inches long) at a rate of 3 to 4 bales per hour. That being said, the balers have shear knives included that trim excess material in order for the bale to be mill-ready, possibly resulting in less re-packing before shipping, and other cost and time-saving steps that make them preferable to vertical balers in certain operations. The closed-door baler >

While there some things are going to be fairly standard with these machines, there are also a number of ways that producers can make the compactor more friendly to your area. In many cases, the configuration of attached equipment such as hopper openings, safety railing and operator control areas can be specifically ordered.

Top Producers

Top producers such as Max-Pak, Marathon, International Baler, Maren, C&M and Balemaster have dozens of models in colors, configurations and capabilities available, both new and used. It’s worth a second too, to think about options such as renting or leasing one of these machines as opposed to out-right buying it, and it’s also worth asking your dealer about a service plan to be included with the cost.  As an insider’s glance, The National Apartment Association on-line publication strongly favors renting. Jana Alfiero, an employee for the property management firm Cortland, who was interviewed in the article notes that any number of things can go wrong with a compactor. “If you rent, the company that provided it maintains and repairs it,” Alfiero pointed out in the interview.

Other Considerations

Other configuration concerns that you might take into consideration include what size and state will the feeding material be? There’s a definite hit to efficiency if your work crew needs to cut or break down the OCC before they can toss it into the hopper. It’s also a slower and less safe process to load the baler by hand as opposed to cart dumpers and conveyors, if space and staffing permit. Do you have space to store completed bales out of the elements until your contractor picks them up, such as storing them in a trailer or other central depository until pick-up? 

Final things to consider for configuration might include door swing, positioning of drains in the event of hydraulic oil leaks, thickness of the cement pad, space for repairs, door swing maneuverability for other equipment, impact on the power system and temperature. As always, make sure you talk to the company you buy or rent your compactor from. Most closed door manual tie horizontal balers have professional installation and service teams available if you purchase or rent one of their machines and some are willing to do consultation for a fee.

Closed door balers are commonly used for baling various types of fiber such as cardboard and shredded paper.  These balers have various sized hoppers and cylinder sizes. Because these are manual tie balers, closed door horizontals have a maximum production rate of 3 bales per hour.  Their efficiency depends on how well the baler is fed and how quickly each bale is tied off.

            Horizontal closed door balers for cardboard normally have a feed opening ranging from 50”, 60”, to 72” wide as well as 7” or 8” cylinders (cylinder size dictates pressure, along with the system operating pressure). Motor horsepower options range from 20 to 50 HP. Cardboard manual tie horizontal balers need to have a shear knife for cutting excess cardboard during compression cycles. Horizontal closed door balers for whole size cardboard can be fed by hand, conveyor, forklift, bobcat, and cart dumper.

            Horizontal closed door balers for shredded paper are often fed by conveyor or air feed systems.  Because smaller size horizontal closed door balers are designed for baling smaller reductions/shreds, they will have smaller hoppers and footprints. Normally, manual tie horizontal balers for shredded paper are for customers with lighter volumes.  

            Some other less common applications/materials include light plastics and textiles.

            All of these balers require an operator to tie off bales usually 4 or 5 wires per bale.



Typical Types Customers

                        Recycling Operations

                        Fiber Processors

                        Box Plants


                        Distribution Centers


                        Municipal Recycling Facilities


Installation of This Style of Baler


Horizontal Closed Door Balers are normally simple installations.  Baler will be unloaded from a truck, brought inside a facility, put it position, and anchored.  If the baler is sold as a part of an air feed system for trim fiber, the baler is set under duct work (and sometimes requires a transition piece that marries the baler to the air system piping). 

If the baler is being paired with a cart dumper or conveyor, those pieces are also unloaded, brought into the facility, positioned properly with the baler, and anchored.

 Things To Consider with Horizontal Closed-Door Manual Tie Balers


                        -What type of materials are you baling?

                        How large is your material?

                        - How much material are you baling for each grade

                        Do you know how many tons need to be baled per day or per hour?

                        -Do you have an existing baler infeed conveyor?

                        -If so, Pit or above ground conveyor?

                        Is the baler being paired with an air feed system?

                        -Do you know your facility power requirements?

                        Are there any bale weight or bale size expectations?

                        Will the baler be located inside or outside?  (This is important to ensure you have the correct components: oil heater, oiler                         cooler, NEMA 4 weatherproofing, etc).

                        What direction do you want to feed the baler? Make sure you have the correct orientation for the baler/conveyor to ensure the                         feed opening  size is ideal for the materials and loading



                        -Ideal for baling various types of fiber including cardboard and shredded paper

                        -Generates good bale densities and sizes

                        -Budget friendly balers

                        -Much faster and efficient than vertical balers.

                        -Automatic Cycling

                        -Cheaper operational cost

                        -Can be fed by hand, air, forklift, bobcat, conveyor, and cart dumper

            -OSHA & ANSI Compliant 



                        -Can only make 3 bales per hour max due to having to tie off bales

                        -limited growth potential if volumes of material increase over time

                        -requires an operator to load material and tie off bales

                        -limited to one bale size

                        -not for high production requirements



Leading Manufacturers 



                        -Max Pak


                        - International Baler








Important Additional Things to Consider As a Buyer

            -Making sure you have local dealer or nearby service company that is qualified

            -The dealer/reseller – they are authorized to sell and service the equipment they are selling. Getting parts for the equipment etc.

            -Do you have room

            -Do you have an area to store bales

            -Do you have a material buyer/recycler/broker in place that will buy your baled material