In business for more than a quarter of a century, Paper Chase International, headquartered in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, specializes in the collection and processing of recyclable commodities from offices as well as from industrial and retail businesses. (The company was profiled in the January/February 2013 issue of Recycling Today Global Edition.)
A significant portion of the materials Paper Chase handles consists of cardboard and other paper grades, but the company also collects and processes some metals and plastics.
Paper Chase employs 650 people in its headquarters facility and its five additional plants in Sharjah, UAE, and the countries of Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The company ships close to 23,000 tonnes per month of recovered fibre to paper mills in Asia, while about 40% of its fibre goes to mills in the Middle East region, says Shiraz Hamirani, managing director of the company. Besides collecting and processing fibre from its own varied list of commercial customers, Paper Chase also rebales paper that has been purchased from smaller collectors.
The company has witnessed significant growth throughout the years and in 2012 made the decision to purchase three new balers made by Paal Group, based in Georgsmarienhütte, Germany, which were installed at the company’s plants in Kuwait; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Farah Hamirani, a director of the company and Shiraz’ daughter, says the new balers, Paal Likon 500 and 600 models, were selected to replace three 10-year-old balers that had become out of step with the company’s developing needs and business growth.
The new Likon balers are fully automatic channel baling presses with a patented cutting system and a horizontal wire tying system. They are designed to produce compact bales with a smooth top surface for stackability. According to Paal Group, the baling presses feature independent cutting and compacting processes. The company also says that because the bales are horizontally tied, the machine is particularly useful for processing small, heavy materials.
We talked with Farah to find out more about the decision to upgrade Paper Chase’s baling process and what the new models are allowing the company to do that was becoming difficult with the older balers.
Recycling Today Global Edition (RTGE): What factors caused you to purchase and install these new balers?
Farah Hamirani (FH): We wanted to upgrade our facilities, and also our quantities were constantly increasing. By bringing in the new balers we were able to increase efficiencies. We purchased three Paal Likon 500 and 600 models, which have a capacity of approximately 15 tonnes per hour. These were selected as they best suited our company’s growth plans. Our older balers were causing some difficulties in coping with market developments.
RTGE: How are these new balers helping you to maximize throughput and productivity?
FH: These new balers are much more efficient and they produce compact bales, which increases overall productivity at our plants and maximizes the loading of shipping containers. We needed to increase our payloads and reduce the amount of time needed to load containers, and to do this we realized that we needed to standardise to the large bale format of 110 centimetres by 110 centimetres and with a variable length. We can now do this by loading between 22 and 26 bales per container instead of as many as 50 or 54 bales, as was the case previously. We can also now stack as many as six bales high because of the very square, flat bales which are created by these new heavy-duty balers.
RTGE: What is the pressing force of these new balers?
FH: With the Likons we are getting 500 kilograms per cubic metre when baling old corrugated containers (OCC), which in turn allows for a maximum payload of 28.5 tonnes on a 40-foot trailer. Also, when baling OCC we are achieving a very impressive 30 tonnes per hour capacity, and average bale weights ranging from 1 to 1.3 tonnes. With our older machines we achieved about 12 tonnes per hour when baling OCC; however the older balers also had a smaller cross-section of 75 centimetres by 110 centimetres and a variable length.
RTGE: How many shifts are the balers currently being operated per week?
FH: We operate a single shift of about 45 hours per week and we do not require a machine operator to attend the machine all of the time. One employee will be in attendance when we change grades or to change a spool of wire. The rest of the time the operator may be using the forklift or attending to another task. Previously, with each of the older balers, we needed an employee to attend to the machine full time.
RTGE: How did you decide where the new balers should be installed? And are you still using your older balers?
FH: We have replaced the old balers in locations where production was higher, and we have placed our old balers at other smaller locations where it is suitable to utilize them.
RTGE: Did the new balers need to be operated differently than the other equipment your employees have worked with?
FH: Yes, some amount of training was required, as the new balers have the latest technologies as well as touch-screen control panels. However our team was trained very well by Paal’s engineers, and our baler operators are all used to the Paal equipment now. Paal engineers only needed to spend about a day with the operators to teach them about the new hydraulic and electronic packages that are on the Likon baling presses and to help tailor the settings to our requirements.
RTGE: What should paper recyclers look for when purchasing a new baler? What are some important factors to consider?
FH: Every paper recycler has different requirements, depending on the market they are located in, their collections, their infrastructure, etc. Every packer must first analyze their possibilities of generation, consider whether it is for export or local shipment and only then make a wise decision on purchasing a reputable branded baling machine which they believe can give them long-term satisfaction and provide efficiency in their business.
The author is managing editor of Recycling Today Global Edition. Reach her at email@example.com.