Recyclers of paper, plastic and nonferrous metals all rely on balers to help them compress material for shipment to its next destination.
In most cases, the material being squeezed has natural properties (sometimes referred to as “memory”) that cause bales to want to break out from their tight cube formation at the earliest opportunity.
That’s where baler wire or strapping comes into play. Companies like Novate Milanese, Italy-based Bottaro Srl make and market the wire recyclers need to keep their bales tight and tidy on their journey from a recycling plant to a consuming destination. (Bottaro also markets its products through offices in the District of Columbia and Austin, Texas.)
In the following interview, Recycling Today asks Bottaro Srl founder and president Mario Bottaro about current trends in baling wire and his company’s global research and development efforts.
Recycling Today (RT): Who formed the company in 1956, and was it formed as a baling wire company or did it change and evolve to focus on that market?
Mario Bottaro (MB): Bottaro Srl was founded by me in 1956. I remain its president, but I am now supported by my sons Marco Bottaro (chief financial officer) and Alberto Bottaro (CEO).
Initially, Bottaro Srl dealt with the marketing of wire rod derivatives, mainly in the nail sector. During the 1960s and ‘70s, I realized the importance that recycling would have over the years to follow. I, therefore, started the production of baling wire and was the forerunner in introducing cut and looped wire into the European market. Over the years, with the introduction of horizontal presses and automatic binders, Bottaro specialized in the production of box wire and large coils.
Bottaro gradually shifted from a family company to an international reality with a constant presence aside their customers to develop products meeting the market’s needs.
In 2008, with the purchase of one of the biggest Italian wire drawing companies, Bottaro positioned itself among the top three European companies in terms of monthly output, without losing the imprint of a family company promising a guarantee to every customer.
RT: What features allow Bottaro to claim that its wire can save up to 40 percent on recyclers’ baling wire costs?
MB: Experience gained over 60 years in business, continuous collaboration with the press producers, and customer feedback has allowed Bottaro to develop specific materials for every need.
We produce three types of material: the brands BWR, BWP, and BWH. Every market has specific needs for which we designed specific solutions.
In the American market, double-ram presses are particularly widespread. This type of press requires a high resistance galvanized wire (BWH), with a special focus on the cleanliness of the surface.
Our wire, thanks to the attention given to these technical aspects, allows a considerable reduction in maintenance costs, preserving the mechanical and electronic parts of the binder.
On an international level, single-ram horizontal presses are more widespread due to their greater productivity and baler size. These presses require the use of black annealed wire, box wire and stand wire.
Bottaro Srl is the biggest European producer in terms of volume for this type of product, BWR and BWP.
The different chemical composition of the steel used for production of these two types of material allows us to produce material with more feet per pound, leaving the customer free to choose the desired diameter.
The BWP wire, with controlled resistance and elongation, allows customers to bale with a smaller diameter compared to the standard one. Actual savings in consumption can reach up to 40 percent.
RT: What properties does black annealed wire contain that make it so suitable for recycling applications?
MB: Thanks to its mechanical features, black annealed wire is the most used material in the world for the production of baling wire.
Over the years, we have selected the best wire rods available on the market, joining forces with steel mills to develop a product that is fully compliant with recyclers’ needs.
The versatility of BWR and BWP black annealed wire, compared to high-strength galvanized wire, especially in terms of elongation, allows recyclers to bale all recycled materials (paper, cardboard, plastic, municipal solid waste) using a fewer number of wires.
Of course, it is mandatory that the black annealed wire’s surface is extremely clean to facilitate sliding throughout the automatic ligation process. Lubrication is another fundamental aspect. Bottaro uses a specific lubricant, for which the certificate is provided upon request.
Moreover, the tensile strength, if correctly combined with very high elongation, guarantees maximum flexibility in cases where the recycler bales different materials.
The last but not least aspect is related to management costs. The high-tensile galvanized wire requires an extremely large number of ties and has double costs compared to black annealed wire.
When purchasing a press, future baling wire costs must also be taken into consideration. Too often, a general evaluation is not made and only the initial cost of the machine is taken into consideration.
In our opinion, black annealed wire is the ideal solution both in economic terms and flexibility of use.
RT: What types of applications are suitable for cut-and-looped or quick-link wire?
MB: Vertical presses and any press without an automatic binding system require the intervention of operators to bind the bales. In this case, the use of the cut-and-looped wire and quick-link represents a solution that is as convenient as it is functional.
Normally, the cut-and-looped wire, produced in both black annealed and galvanized wire, is used for baling paper, cardboard, textiles, etc. For example, all the large retail warehouses are equipped with small vertical presses for the reduction of packaging volumes, and the use of cut-and-looped wire is extremely widespread.
The quick-link wire, produced with high-tensile steel, is suitable for binding bales of material with high expansion: tires, polyurethane foam, foam rubber and special plastics.
For both products, we have designed packages that comply with the regulations concerning the handling of heavy loads, allowing operators to use the products in total safety.
RT: What are the advantages of polyester strapping, and in what applications has it found a home?
MB: To complete the range of packaging products, Bottaro offers its customers the opportunity to purchase polyester strapping. This product finds its application with customers that have very limited needs in terms of volume and bale size. It is, in fact, a product with less resistance than any type of baling wire.
RT: How does your company stay in touch with developing trends in baling, and do your customers play a key role in this?
MB: Every day the company follows the evolution of the market because, since its beginnings, Bottaro Srl set the goal of providing the market and our customers an active contribution, with the aim of helping to evolve and innovate for the increasingly globalized recycling market.
With the help of our effective sales network, our products are compared to those proposed by other manufacturers, and this allows us to monitor the market in order to always be up-to-date, competitive and in step with the innovation. The collaboration with our customers allows us to continuously optimize our products and packaging in relation to the destination country. This operating mode is made possible thanks to the resources that Bottaro has made available to expert associations in order to find the perfect product, i.e. the one that meets all the safety and productivity needs of the players in the recycling market.
Today, thanks to these human resource efforts and economic commitments, it is possible to utilize a product supported by the operators’ experience, scientific research and laboratory rooms.
For years, our customers have seen the growth of technological innovation in plants, in handling machines, vehicles and presses. This evolution has also been consistent in the wire sector. It has allowed Bottaro to become a company exporting over 6,000 tons of wire per month for the recycling industry globally and to contribute daily to the global effort to keep the environment clean and beautiful.