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Speed, efficiency and simplicity

gbn dicom baler 3

BUYER’S GUIDE: GBN Services group health and safety manager David Wolfenden on balers and shredders.

Who are you?

David Wolfenden, group health and safety manager. I also have the remit of managing compliance with environmental legislation, quality control and human resource management; this includes maintaining accreditation to ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and BS OHSAS 18001.

How did you get into the waste industry?

In 2000, after 20 years in the rail industry, I moved into the waste sector and spent eight years with a large environmental/waste management company. For a change of scene I then spent a year as the interim safety, health, environment and fire officer at the Royal School of Military Engineering at the beginning of a 30-year, £3bn contract. In January 2014 I returned to the waste industry to the GBN Services fold and have been driving improvements since then.

What did you buy?

For the Basildon site refurbishment, we followed the waste hierarchy as far as possible by refurbishing and reusing existing equipment. We made only three purchases: a Haas Tyron 2000 shredder, a Paal Dicom Dokon series H baler and a cross-wrap CW 2200 machine.

The Haas shredder is the input shredder for the on-site processing and segregation. It brings the incoming materials down to a manageable size for ease of segregation and handling.

The baler and wrapping machine are configured so that the baler feeds the cross-wrap in a production line for wrapped bales.


In order to improve our diversion from landfill target which was 94%, we needed to refurbish the complete site. With the refurbishments completed, including the baler/wrapper combination, the company target for landfill diversion is 98%.

What were your criteria?

Speed of output: we need the baler/wrapper to deliver two bales per minute at peak output and to be able to maintain this output for two hours.

Efficiency: ideally we want to do maintenance during downtime so that the baler/wrapper is available throughout the working day, and so the only interruptions are for replacement of consumables such as bale tie string and wrap for the wrapper.

Simplicity: following manufacturers’ training, our staff, both fitters and machine operators, are able to carry out the majority of routine maintenance and many running repairs to parts that are subject to wear and tear.

How did you research your purchase?

Members of the senior management team visited similar operating installations around the London and Essex areas. We spoke with both the management teams and operators at these sites to gain a full understanding of the intricacies of the equipment.

How many options did you consider and what were they?

We considered three options, all of which were baler/wrapper combinations. These were narrowed down through listening to industry sources’ experience of similar kit and especially the merits and demerits.

What did the equipment/improvement have to achieve?

The primary target was to produce two wrapped bales per minute for two hours of continuous usage.

Secondary targets were efficient operation, including maintenance, especially the maintenance and repair of parts subject to wear and tear such as the string tying mechanisms.

Were there any particular challenges to finding the right equipment?

A high priority was the necessarily to achieve regular bale sizes and bale weights because this vastly improves the efficiency of loading lorries for dispatch. This is highly dependent on the input materials, so whole site efficiency has to be considered when specifying equipment. It would have been no use to specify a baler based on a perfect input material because the nature of waste tends to vary with its sources. So the baler and wrapper combination had to be able to cope with waste from various and varying sources.

What were the pitfalls to finding the right equipment?

Industry sources tend to know only their own equipment well, and this can lead to unintended bias in favour of their equipment.

Manufacturers and suppliers generally push the unique selling point of their kit, so claims are taken with a healthy pinch of salt and very long look at “what question are they avoiding”.

Were there any other considerations to the purchase?

Available footprint was important, so the processing equipment is configured efficiently to achieve the best available output quality.

Consumable costs are also important to ensure that operational costs are controlled effectively.

How does the equipment fit in with the company’s plans?

The baler/wrapper combination may also be utilised for solid recovered fuel (SRF) so that if, in the future, we add SRF generation capability to the site, the equipment will be able to bale and wrap this product as well.

Is the equipment future-proofed?

The specifications applicable to refuse-derived fuel and SRF may change in the future as Europe and the UK continue to drive down carbon emissions. Although this may affect the processing equipment at Basildon, it is unlikely to affect the baler/wrapper process.

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