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Waste Paper Handling : Chuck the Gaylord

October 2009 By Erik Cagle
Senior Editor
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THE NICEST thing about Gaylord boxes...well, there are many. They cost next to nothing. Relative to the other beasts in your shop, they take up hardly any room. You don't have to plug them in, so they don't boost your electric bill. Yes, it's high time the Gaylord got its due.

Besides, in an economy like the one we're still experiencing—and considering the George Washington hand-holding that's naturally taking place among the bean counters—an argument can be made that even a moderately inelegant scrap paper recycling setup is preferred over the investment required to install a properly configured removal and recycling system. But is that actually the case?

There are those who would counter that you won't get nearly the same return on investment with loose paper as you would with baled. Further, that difference in ROI would virtually pay for the installation of the system in short order. Lastly, avoiding a necessary investment due to state of the economy can be dangerously short-sighted. Gaylords and other home remedy systems represent Band-Aids. When your plant is humming along with work, the last thing you need is a stack of boxes piling up, breaking and requiring attention. You're better off with an automated system.

Tips From the Pros

We've surveyed a number of paper removal and recycling system installers, as well as companies who manufacture shredder and baler components. They're not here to sell you their systems—OK, well they are, in a sense—but what they really want to do is sell you on the idea of ditching the Gaylord boxes, or taking them home and letting the kids make forts out of them.

OK, so you're considering installing a scrap paper removal/recycling system. Outside of the paper volume that is generated, what other factors come into play?

Gregg Puhl, founder and CEO of the G.F. Puhl Cos., offers several items to bear in mind:

• Building codes. For above-roof/outside systems, city and county codes may restrict cyclone height, noise levels or the external appearance of your facility.

• Redundancy. Don't kill the backup systems in the name of saving money. Equipment redundancy is as important here as it is on the pressroom floor.

• Durability. A properly sized and engineered, heavy-duty system can move the tons of paper, and air, required to get the job done.

Mark Kunz, business development manager for WEIMA America, feels the most important factor is the dollar value of the recycled paper when shredded and baled. The location of your plant in regard to a paper recycling mill can impact your ROI due to delivery charges.

"Also, the type of recycled paper the local mills target for their production can play a big part. Printing companies should shop their waste paper to various recyclers, ensuring the highest yield," he advises.

Big picture perspective—future equipment acquisitions that may require system growth—is important when sizing your removal/recycling system. John Jurk, division manager for Kernic Systems, points out that the upfront costs involved in allowing for future expansion are minimal compared to reworking and expanding your system down the road.

"It is common for the waste paper handling systems to be supplied and financed by the printer's paper recycler," he says. "The systems are then paid down against the paper revenue. Many printers will take this option because no capital investment is required.

"The down side: If they are not actively involved in the design and procurement of the system with the recycler, they will often end up with the bare minimum," Jurk adds. "Then, six months down the road, perhaps the printer purchases a new saddlestitcher for his bindery or a new in-line trimmer at the press delivery—and he is told there is no capacity allowance for this addition. Now, he's faced with unplanned additional costs to expand the system."

In Compliance

Bob Zacary, president of Air Systems Design, points out that all systems installed after January of 2006 have new regulations for dust and dust control. They apply to explosion vents on the filters and through the entire plant. Make sure your vendor guarantees that the explosion and fire equipment meet the requirement (see NFPA-68, NFPA-69 and NFPA-654).

Also, be mindful of baler needs, states Zacary. "The customer needs to know if his scrap needs to be segregated for a higher return on each bale. Sometimes it is worth a second, less expensive baler for the paper that would contaminate the main bale. The company buying the bales will be able to assist a printer with the math. It will depend on the market and how much volume of clean waste the customer generates."

Be wary of how fast you feed the bear, though, cautions Ed Fakeris, president and CEO of Ohio Blow Pipe. Instantaneous feed rates are important, particularly with shredders producing copious amounts of scrap at high rates. Shredders in general, he notes, have a capacity far greater than what the typical baler can handle.

"A marriage has to be made between the production equipment that generates the scrap and the speed at which it's being generated," Fakeris says. "The selection of the baler becomes critical."

The horsepower necessary to operate a paper retrieval/recycling system often takes printers by surprise, notes Jeff Dietterich, president of Advanced Equipment Sales. The minimal requirement for a horizontal baler is about 20 horsepower and, with pneumatic conveyance equipment in the picture, that can range from 50 to 100 horsepower and even higher. A shredder, suffice to say, boosts the juice requirement even further.

"Another element is the value of the scrap and its grade," he says. "You need to ask yourself if there's a financial incentive toward separating or segregating certain grades of waste paper that might be more valuable than others."

It also helps if you have a good feel for the flow of materials that comes through your shop, adds Roger Williams, sales manager for American Baler. Certain times of the day can see a surge in the material that is sent to the baler. Variables include the size of the paper when it arrives at the baler (i.e., trim, full sheets, shredded). The number of machines feeding the baler and their proximity from each other are also considerations.

So, while Gaylord boxes may be cheap and low-tech, don't be tempted to shortchange your chance to reap bigger bucks from recycling shredded and baled paper. PI



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