Balers and Horsepower

There is always some confusion about horsepower and compaction forces in balers.  Compaction force is critical to determine the density and weight in the final bale of cardboard, plastic, aluminum, textiles, and non-ferrous metals.  Truth is, that there is virtually no correlation between horsepower and compaction.  Compaction force is directly related to the size of the hydraulic cylinder and the psi settings.  The Generally the larger the cylinder, the greater There compaction force and the higher the psi settings, the greater compaction.  Horsepower, while a useful tool in automobiles, has nothing at all to do with compaction force.  Horsepower combined with pump speed is only important in the speed of the baler and does not make a wit of difference in the size, density, or weight of the bales produced.

Let me explain a bit further.  In vertical balers, new and improved pumps have reduced the need for larger motors.  A 10 hp three phase motor (almost universally used in vertical balers with a 6” cylinder or less) is actually faster with the new pumps than the old 15hp three phase motor with the older, less efficient pumps.   Building costs are reduced and therefore prices for new vertical balers has dropped as well. 

Horsepower and pump speed do affect the cycle time of the baler in question.  Cycle times of new balers usually vary between 45 – 60 seconds depending on the length of the stroke (distance the cylinder extends) of the platen (compacting plate of the vertical baler).  How important is the cycle time? In most case, not very.  Most companies load the baler and walk away as the baler compacts and then retracts back into its’ original position.  They do not even wait for the baler to do its’ job and therefore whether it takes 45 second or 90 seconds in relatively unimportant.  It becomes important only when the baler is being loaded, cycled, and loaded again repeatedly. 

For more information or to request a quote, contact our baler specialists at 888-422-5375 or at