Introduction: How to Make a Cardboard Bale

In every grocery store, there is a cardboard bale maker to save the cardboards for recycling. This machine is very simple to use and it could be used by any person who is working in the store. It could be dangerous if the employee doesn’t follow the correct steps of how to make a cardboard bale. Nevertheless, it is fairly easy and doesn’t take a long time to understand clearly the process steps and complete one bale. I think this tutorial would be interesting especially for new employees. I will go through the step by step process of making a cardboard bale.

Step 1: Starting the Machine

The first step to make a cardboard bale is to make sure that the machine is on by turning the key on. When the full light turns on, it is the only sign that the bale needs to be made. Making a cardboard bale starts with locking the cage door of the machine and turn on the compressor all the way when the bale maker is fairly full. The black button, showing in the figure, is to start the compression. The same black button is also used for uncompressing the machine by turning the button to the right side until the arrow reaches the word “up”. There is an emergency button which is the big red button showing in the figure to stop the machine immediately in case if something was placed under the compressor which is not supposed to be in that place.

Step 2: Compressing and Wrapping the Cardboards

After compressing the cardboards inside the machine completely, the operator turns the green wheel showing in the figure to the right side and open the door of the machine to the end. By opening the door, we recognize 7 opening track openings on the top and the bottom of the compressed cardboards. Neglecting the second and sixth openings, the operator would make holes through the rest of the opening tracks. Making the holes would be done by using a steel pipe, because the openings are closed which caused by the cardboards. The person who is making the bale would run five steel wires through the five holes, which would have been made, to the back of the machine and run them back again through the bottom five holes to the front of the machine. It will not hurt running the wires to the opposite direction because the step is all about wrapping the cardboard bale. The next thing to do is wrapping the ends of each steel wire together. While wrapping the steel wires, the person, whose making the bale, should make sure the wires are wrapped not too loose or too tight because it will cause the wires to be popped up and might hurt someone when lifting the compressor up. This step is very important and needs to be done correctly.

Step 3: Hanging the Chains

There are two chains in the back of the bale maker machine which are used to pull the cardboard bale out of the machine after completing the previous step. This step is to hang the chains, showing in the figure, by the thin pieces of steel placed above the chains. Those steel pieces are attached to the compressor of the cardboards and the beginning of the chains are attached to the bottom front of the machine. Therefore, when pulling the compressor up, the chains lift the cardboard bale and pull it out of the machine. Sometimes, the cardboard bale needs a little pulling by hand when the compressor is all the way up. The reason of pulling the bale by hands is because when the compressor stops all the way to the top, half of the bale gets out where the other half stays inside.

Step 4: Getting a Wooden Pallet Ready

Before starting the step of pulling the compressor up, a wooden pallet needs to be brought and placed on the ground in front of the cardboard bale. Once the operator takes the cardboard bale out of the machine, it is very hard to lift the cardboard bale off the ground safely and in a good shape unless it is placed on a wooden pallet. After placing the wooden pallet in the right place, we will start the pulling the compressor up to complete the step mentioned above. While pulling the compressor up, the operators should remain in a safe spot, away from the cardboard bale, in case if the steel wires pop up.

Step 5: Moving the Bale and Closing the Door

Once the cardboard bale is placed on the top of the wooden pallet, an expert will use an electrical jack to move the loaded pallet. Although, a regular jack can be used as well, but the regular jack does not lift the pallet high that’s why an electrical jack is more beneficial. Then, the next step would be closing the door of the bale maker machine and turn the wheel all the way to the left to lock the door and prevent it from opening. In addition, there is a small safety button that should be pressed by closing the door of the machine all the way. This safety button is also a key for the work of the compressor. That means the machine would not compress if the safety button is not pressed. We can only pull the compressor up when the safety button is not on.

Step 6: Dropping the Chains

After closing the door, we need to drop down the chains to their places as it is showing in step three figure. Keeping the chains hanging in the steel pieces will cause wrapping the cardboards around them when filling the machine up with cardboards the next time. Thus, it will cause a hard time taking the chains off the cardboard bale when making the next bale.

Step 7: Loading the Bale in the Truck

Place the pallet with the cardboard bale in a certain spot to avoid blocking the way. As it was mentioned before that the cardboard bales get recycled, a specific truck will come and pick up the cardboard bale from the grocery store. Therefore, the electrical jack needs to be used again to pick up the cardboard bale and load it in the truck.