When a company in the recycled paper business decides to purchase a new baler, it tends to draw at least some attention. After all, it’s not every day a paper recycler takes the plunge on such a necessary piece of equipment. These industry work-horses are expected to perform day in and in day out and last for years upon years.
When Western Pacific Pulp & Paper (WPPP), based in Downey, Calif., installed a new sort line and two-ram baler at its headquarters facility in January of 2012, we at Recycling Today were curious to find out the details.
The processor of recovered fiber operates three facilities in the western U.S. Its largest business division, the Pulp & Paper Division, specializes in processing close to 20,000 tons of paper each month as well as smaller amounts of plastic and aluminum. Most of the fiber comes from commercial sources, says WPPP President Kevin Duncombe.
The company’s headquarters location includes 160,000 square feet of office and processing space, and WPPP now operates two balers at this location: its new IPS two-ram auto-tie baler along with the company’s existing Bollegraaf single-ram baler.
Additionally, WPPP operates a 30,000-square-foot plant in Newark, Calif., on a five-acre parcel, and a one-acre site in Las Vegas. Those facilities house a Lindemann and a Selco baler, respectively.
Meanwhile, the company’s new two-ram baler with precompression lid system is allowing WPPP to bale more types of material, more efficiently, Duncombe says.
This patented high-capacity baler is designed to bale multiple types of materials, including all grades of recovered fiber to PET (polyethylene terephthalate) to aluminum cans, and it produces export-sized bales of these recyclables weighing anywhere from 1,200 to 1,700 pounds. The bales are automatically tied as they are being produced. The finished bale size approximates 45 inches wide by 30 inches high by 63 inches long, with a volume of about 50 cubic feet.
According to the baler manufacturer, the patented precompression lid feature is designed to increase baling tonnage per hour and to reduce wear and tear on the equipment. The baler runs without shearing, the company says, significantly increasing its liner life. It is the largest two-ram baler the manufacturer offers in terms of capacity, and in the West Coast region, has so far been installed in only one other facility.
Although he has not worked with the manufacturer before, Duncombe says he selected this machine after conducting a thorough vetting process involving several vendor proposals.
One important consideration in the selection of the baler, he says, was the fact that it was essentially a turn-key installation in which the parent company provided a companion sort line as well as the baler.
“I think that the turn-key operation was important for us,” Duncombe says, noting that being able to purchase the baler and the accompanying sort line from one source made the proposal competitive from a purchasing point of view.
We asked Duncombe to share some of the other operational details about WPPP’s new baler and sort line and the benefits the system provides.
Recycling Today (RT): Can you provide a brief description of the new two-ram baler you installed, where it’s located and what it is being used for?
Kevin Duncombe (KD): We bought an IPS TR-BT-1388-200S two-ram baler with precompression lid system. It is being used for paper, plastic and metals in our Downey plant. We put it under a new CP sort system; but, it is being fed by two infeed conveyors, so it can be fed directly or from the sort line.
RT: How is this baler offering WPPP more versatility in baling?
KD: This is a true “bale anything” baler and, being a two-ram, it gives us the versatility to bale pretty much anything.
RT: What are the bale weights and sizes normally produced with this new baler?
KD: With OCC (old corrugated containers) we are getting approximately 1,500-pound bales and, even with unprocessed PET bottles, which carry a lot of air, we are getting 1,200-pound bales.
Overall we are meeting or beating the levels given to us by the manufacturer.
RT: Did this baler replace an existing baler, and is that baler still being used at Western Pacific Pulp & Paper?
KD: This new baler is in addition to our Bollegraaf HBC 100F baler, which we are still running. Now we have the added capacity and versatility of having two balers in this plant.
RT: Why did you decide to purchase and install this new baler? Is the baler providing all of the benefits that you expected it would?
KD: We needed a baler that could handle different materials, including plastics and metals, and this was the baler that could do it better than the rest in our opinion.
The baler is providing what we expected and, in many ways, has exceeded our expectations, particularly with plastics but also with throughput capacity.
RT: What processing capacities is this baler allowing you to achieve?
KD: The key to processing capacity is the feeding of the machine, and since we are utilizing this for a sort line and multiple grades and commodities, we are switching up the grades rather often, which is a benefit to a two-ram baler.
When we are pushing OCC, for example, we are getting up to 35 tons per hour, which actually exceeds the capacity the manufacturer states in its brochures.
RT: What should paper recyclers consider if they are thinking about installing a two-ram baler similar to yours?
KD: Really, the most important consideration is what material you need to bale and the capacity, but you also have to plan for the future. We also took into consideration parts availability, electrical and wire costs as well as reliability of the machine and the company that backs it.
We did run into some extraordinary startup issues, but IPS stood behind its machine and, along with Olympic Wire and Equipment (Costa Mesa, Calif.), which actually sold us the machine, we got through them, and it has been running well ever since. This is really one of the most important considerations, as there are always issues when you run machines of any type. It is very important to have people stand behind what they are selling long after the sale. This was the case in our situation, and it just validated that we made the right decision.
RT: Is WPPP still receiving primarily industrially sourced material or have you added consumer streams?
KD: Primarily industrial streams including commingled commercial recyclables. We really did not specify the line to handle residential streams.
RT: How is the recovered paper export market faring presently and what do you expect for the coming months?
KD: It is challenging in all aspects, but pricing is at rather high levels, so we really cannot complain. Our biggest concerns are supply and logistics and the ever-changing issues we face doing exports, like the current “Green Fence” issue in China.
I think the rest of this year will be more of the same; but, if the economy continues to improve, supply theoretically will increase, though I don’t think the correlation is as strong as it used to be. But, with that increase, there may be some pressure to keep prices at these levels or at least help keep them from increasing.
More information on Western Pacific Pulp & Paper is available at www.wppp.com.