Bale ties and baler wire are much more important to the recycling process than we may realize.
Without compacting recycled material into dense, easily stacked bundles, recyclers might not be able to move their materials easily and cost effectively. That’s why most recyclers use baling systems. A baler can be used in most secondary commodity markets, including paper, cardboard, plastic, and ferrous and nonferrous metals and some plastics. Recycling equipment like a baler helps efficiently organize, store, and prepare scrap for recycling.
Perhaps just as important is the baling wire used to tie and secure the bales. Baling wire safely and neatly secures bales of recyclable material before it is moved on through the recycling process, preventing the bales from coming apart.
Baling wire may be taken for granted, but it’s essential and vital to the entire recycling process.
A plethora of types
There are a variety of different types and styles of baling wire used in the industry, and various prices to go with them. Some have black annealed finishes and others have galvanized or corrosion-resistant finishes, depending on the need and application. A coating may be used to adjust the surface properties of the wire to guard against corrosion, improve aesthetic appearance, and improve adhesion. Wire thicknesses and diameters are available in a range (typically 10, 11, 12, 14 and 14.5 gauges), and are selected based on the materials with which the wire will be used.
It’s important to consider your specific application when choosing the type of wire you need, emphasizes Jason Ramsey, President of Crawfordsville, Ind.-based Midwest Bale Ties, a leading manufacturer of bales ties and baling wire in the Midwest. Family-owned and operated, Midwest Bale Tie provides an assortment of quality wire products made from the best American-made raw materials. Its products are made from 100-percent U.S. steel, in 8- to 22- ft. lengths, and custom lengths.
“There are basically three types of baling systems: vertical or horizontal manual balers, auto-tie balers and two ram balers,” Ramsey says. “Each requires a different wire product. Manual balers use single-loop bale ties, auto-tie balers take 50- or 100-lb. coils of wire and two ram balers require high tensile baling wire on a stem/stump.”
Often coated in zinc to provide excellent cathodic protection, galvanized wire is sometimes referred to as “clean wire,” and tends to be a preferred choice because it resists corrosion and outdoor storage conditions. Black annealed wire is quite pliable, which is convenient when some baled materials re-expand after unloading from the baler, so having a little extra flexibility can help prevent the wire from failing. Lightly coated with oil to resist corrosion, black annealed wire works well indoors but can sometimes rust when the bales are used and stored outdoors. “It’s important to consider your specific application when choosing the type of wire you need,” Ramsey adds.
There are also low, medium and high carbon versions, and wire with uniform strength and elasticity, which reduces breakage and machine downtime. When the wire is produced via a metal drawing process, its properties change in terms of strength, ductility, fatigue, and shape. The combination of these elements results in a broad range of products.
Having the right size and specifications allows the customer to not over buy too large a size, Ramsey explains. “Baling wire is priced by weight. If a customer has too small of a product, they may have to use more of the lighter ties, which could be economically inefficient.”
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