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What Is a Metal Baler?

By Alex Newth
Updated May 17, 2024
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A metal baler is a large and powerful baler made to reduce the density of metal scrap. Aside from being strong, a metal baler typically needs thicker sidewalls than other balers, because metal scrap may puncture or break through thin sidewalls. Metal balers are most often used for recycling sellable scrap metal, because it can be difficult to recycle metal without first crushing it down. Metal typically is organized into two main groups: ferrous, or iron and iron-based scrap, and mixed metal. Each type of crushed scrap is sold, used or recycled in different ways.

Most balers have a lot of crushing strength to turn loose materials into thick, dense clumps, but a metal baler is one of the strongest. This is because of metal’s natural toughness and strength; if this baler were weak, then it would not be able to efficiently reduce the metal’s volume. The average metal baler can crush with the intensity of around 4,000 pounds per square inch (PSI) (275.7 bar).

Not only is a metal baler one of the stronger baler types, but it usually also has thicker sidewalls. Scrap metal can be sharp and, because it is stronger than most other materials that are crushed, it could puncture the sidewalls in other balers. To ensure that a baler has a long life and the metal can be properly crushed, a metal baler’s sidewalls typically are from two to three times thicker than those of hay or cardboard balers.

The most common place for a metal baler is in a recycling yard, though it also can be used for industrial purposes. While scrap metal generally is finished by melting or shredding it, these processes can be difficult with loose scrap metal. It also can be difficult to transport loose metals, and a denser pile will make this easier. Sellable scrap metal generally is crushed, while non-sellable metals may not be. This is because other metals usually are not worth the effort of crushing, so they go onto additional recycling as a loose pile.

There are two main groups of sellable scrap metal, ferrous and mixed ferrous, and both are used for different purposes. Ferrous metals that have been crushed typically are sold to steel mills, because crushed ferrous iron just needs some basic processing before it will be suitable as steel. Mixed ferrous is generally ferrous metals combined with other metals, and this is sold for general metal uses or to industries that regularly make alloys.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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