Virtual Flexo Plant



Cyclone baler
Cyclone baler, showing waste partially separated into bales according to color and paper type. Whenever possible, bales should be completely separated.

A commercial baler is designed to compress scrap substrate and tie it together with twine or wire (most common) to form bales similar to hay bales used in farming. These systems can be manually operated or automated. Most automated systems are equipped with a cyclone that creates a vacuum to draw scrap pieces from the production areas where it is generated, through a collection system and finally deposited into the baler where it is compressed and secured.

Some manually operated systems include a shredder that chops scrap into smaller pieces and feeds the material into the baler. Another type of baler is commonly used for corrugated materials. These balers primarily compact the material and band it together for ease of handling and shipment.

Baling the trim scrap makes it easier to handle this specific waste stream and will help improve the monetary rate of return versus loose material sent back to the paper mill or recycling facility. Baled scrap also occupies less space in the plant.

Best Management Practices & Pollution Prevention

Dust Collector Bags
Dust Collector Bags

Segregate all recyclable trim scrap based on the amount and type of print coverage and type of substrate (coated paper, uncoated paper, corrugated, etc.). Examples of paper that should not be combined are clay coated stock, uncoated bleached paper, kraft stock, etc. Mixed bales or bales with more than one series of colors on the paper should be avoided if possible.

Install dust curtains around the baler system to control fine particulate matter (dust) from spreading throughout the facility. This dust can affect product quality which can lead to additional waste. In addition, dust can create potential safety issues such as fire, explosion, worker exposure, and premature equipment wear.

Consider installing a baghouse filtration system on the cyclone exhaust. A baghouse, or fabric collector, collects the fine particles suspended in the air drawn through the paper collection system.

For access to vendors who may supply alternative materials and equipment, see the PNEAC Vendor Directory.

Environmental Regulations

Air Emissions

An air emission permit may be required to operate a baler depending on the individual state environmental protection regulations, due to fine particulate matter emitted from the baler. This is especially true if the exhaust is vented to the outside of the building. Many states will not require a permit for paper handling systems (e.g., cyclones and cyclones and baghouses) if the exhaust is ducted inside the building. Permit exemptions may also be granted if the cyclone is located outside the building as long as the exhausted is directed back inside.

For balers equipped with a baghouse filtration system, these filters must be maintained in order to assure compliance with air emission limits for particulates. In some instances, such as when an air pollution operating permit is required, a compliance test demonstrating removal efficiency may be required. This requirement will be specified as a condition of an air permit.

Health & Safety

Balers pose a respiratory health risk if not properly maintained. Employees should be protected from the fine particulate matter generated by cyclone/baler systems. Protection can be provided in the form of a baghouse and proper ventilation.

Balers and cyclones have a tendency to jam. When a jam occurs the moving parts will stop, but stored energy may be suddenly released within the baler. Employees should never attempt to clear a jam in a baler or cyclone baler system without properly shutting down and securing the equipment. Some newer bailer systems have interlocks on doors and other access points that will automatically shut the unit down if opened. Employees should never rely upon this safety system alone. These interlocked systems can be easily defeated by others or can fail. When accessing the unit, the employee must always completely shut down the system, de-energize it, and lockout the power source prior to access.