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What Is a Tire Baler?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

A tire baler is a machine commonly used in the recycling industry to compress rubber tires together into a block or roll known as a bale. The tires are usually held together with metal wire. The purpose of a tire baler is to compress the tires to reduce the amount of space taken up by the material; this is important for improving shipping capabilities as well as storage. The tires can be pressed into near-blocks so they are easier to stack. Compressing the tires also reduces the amount of stagnant water in a tire storage area, and it lessens the risk of fire.

The specific design of the tire baler can vary. Some machines are meant to be portable, which means they can be towed behind a towing vehicle such as a pickup truck. The tire baler will therefore feature wheels and other features to make the device street-legal. Once the machine has reached its destination, support arms can be lowered to the ground for stability. Other machines are not meant to be portable and may be fixed in one location, so the unit will not feature tires or other modifications.

Stacks of tires waiting to be recycled.
Stacks of tires waiting to be recycled.

Once in place, several rubber tires can be loaded into a chamber, usually side by side. The tire baler will be designed to accommodate tires up to a certain size, and the capacity will vary by machine. Before the hydraulic arm compresses the rubber tires, wire cables are secured around the tires. The hydraulic arm will then be activated, pushing the tires against each other until they are baled tightly together. While the hydraulic arm holds the tires in the compressed position, the wires can be secured tightly to each other to prevent the tires from expanding again once the arm retracts. After securing the wires, the arm will retract and the bale can be removed from the machine. It will be quite heavy, so some machines feature another arm that will push the bale from the machine.

Sometimes the tire baler can be used to compress other materials, but not all tire balers feature this capability. Only machines that are designed for various materials should be used in this manner, as other balers may not be able to compress materials such as metals or plastics safely. Materials can end up outside the baling chamber, creating a potential risk of injury for bystanders.

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    • Stacks of tires waiting to be recycled.
      By: Joost J. Bakker
      Stacks of tires waiting to be recycled.