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A car baler is a machine that is used to compact unusable vehicles into small bales of metal for storage, transport, or preparation for recycling. This machine is usually quite large and is used in conjunction with a crane that can load cars into the car baler and unload the compacted bales from it. Once the bales are created, they can be stacked easily for storage or placed in transport vehicles. Some balers are portable, which means they are mounted on the back of a large truck and can be transported to a job site for compacting.
The specific function of a car baler can vary, but in general, the baler will feature a large hopper or container in which the car will be placed in preparation for crushing; one or two large crushing panels that will descend upon the car from above to crush it down sufficiently; and horizontal hydraulic arms that will compress the vehicle inward while the crushing panels are secured in place on top of the vehicle. The hydraulic arms, in conjunction with the large panels, will create a rectangular or square metal bale that can be taken from the car baler and stacked with other similarly shaped bales.
Very often the cars that will be placed in the car baler are first stripped of usable parts, and in some cases the glass windows may be removed. Sometimes the windows are left in the car, which means the glass will essentially explode when the body of the car is crushed. Liquids such as motor oil and hydraulic fluid must be drained from the vehicle beforehand. Once the vehicle is prepped for baling, a crane that may be part of the car baler itself or independent from it will pick up the car and place it in the machine.
Once in the machine, the car will be crushed in a two-stage process. First the doors or panels will crush downward on the vehicle, then once the car is sufficiently crushed downward, the horizontal hydraulic arm or arms will activate to compress the car inward. The resulting bale may be transported to recycling centers that can use the metal bales for scrap metal that can be reused in various forms. Otherwise, the bales may simply be stored on site until a buyer for the metal is found, or until a permanent refuse location is secured.