Medical Supplier Baling Cardboard & Plastic Packaging for Recycling

CASE STUDY: HSM Waste Balers Crushing It for PAUL HARTMANN

Thanks to new waste baling equipment from German manufacturer HSM, PAUL HARTMANN AG is producing marketable cardboard and polyethylene bales weighing 400 kg.

Image © HSM

Thanks to new waste baling equipment from German manufacturer HSM, PAUL HARTMANN AG is producing marketable cardboard and polyethylene bales weighing 400 kg.

The bales of used cardboard are returned to the of medical and hygienic products specialist’s cardboard supplier, thus reducing the costs for new packaging material. "A perfect recycling material loop", according to the person responsible at the manufacturer of medical devices.

With 10,000 employees worldwide, annual sales of almost €2 billion - the HARTMANN Group is a provider of medical and hygienic products throughout Europe. It’s focus is on wound treatment, incontinence care and infection protection.

PAUL HARTMANN AG in Heidenheim is the heart of the group of companies. It goes back to a textile factory founded in 1818 and is therefore one of the oldest German industrial enterprises. The company‘s homecare logistics are centralized in Heidenheim – the dispatch of small quantities to customers in Germany.

A lot of packaging material is produced in Heidenheim when goods are picked for orders: 260 tonnes of cardboard and 60 tonnes of PE per year.

Initially, this waste material was disposed of loose in 40 cubic metre containers, brought to an intermediary dealer and compressed there. The marketing revenues were modest. For Michael Kormann, Head of Homecare Logistics and Kornelia Bischof, Waste Management Officer, it soon became clear that the organisation of this process, which is both wasteful in transport and only produced modest results, could be improved.

The obvious idea - in the future, HARTMANN wanted to compress the waste itself in order optimise revenues. Those responsible looked at several suppliers of baling presses and also put a machine to the test. The problem with the first test machine was that it could only produce bales of up to 200 kg.

"This was not enough for the paper factory," explained Bischof. The pilot operation was terminated. After a longer selection process, Kormann and Bischof decided on presses from HSM.

"The products make a very good impression," reported Michael Kormann. Operability, soundness, high reliability and thus low maintenance costs with a long service life were the decisive factors in choosing the baling presses from the medium-sized company from Lake Constance. Those responsible at HARTMANN also had confidence that the service pathways were short at HSM.

"The purchase price is only one aspect, for us the service also has to be right during the operating phase and the systems have to operate cost efficiently in the long term. We considered HSM to be best placed to fulfil this," Kormann continued.

At the beginning of the new era in the waste recycling of Homecare Logistics, the vertical baler HSM V-Press 860 S was used for the compressing of polyethylene films into the smallest space.

This machine was selected for the trial phase at PAUL HARTMANN AG. In collaboration with the HSM Sales team, this vertical baling press was adapted to the requirements of HARTMANN.

In a first for HSM, it was provided with a sliding door instead of the sideways opening door. The persons responsible at HARTMANN also liked the unique feature of the vertical machine.

The compressing process starts automatically when the door is closed and the door opens automatically after the end of the compression. Moreover, since the customer receiving the PE bales from HARTMANN did not want any wire strapping, the HSM V-Press 860 S was equipped with polyester strapping for the first time. An additional effect was said to  be a 75% lower cost for strapping material.

"The machine was adapted to our needs and the innovations worked well," said Kormann. The result of the test was therefore positive.

HSM also noted that the V-Press 860 S is compact, requires little floor space and produces easily marketable bales weighing around 400 kg, although loose PE films are fed in, which was praised by Kormann.

Following the experience with HSM’s vertical baling press, the way was then open for marketing the much more extensive cardboard material. Here too, the baler manufacturer and its customer deviated from the original plans.

Additional systems such as a tipping device for a 1.1 cubic metre emptying container as well as a conveyor belt for the feeding were readily agreed on.

However, HSM said that it advised its customer not to install a fully automatic baling press, including automatic bale wiring for an obvious reason: the volume of 260 tonnes per year did not justify a fully automatic system.

Since a staff member would be manually feeding the cardboard waste into the machine, HSM proposed that this person could also manually bind the bales with wire. The persons responsible from HARTMANN liked the customer focused advice.

"In the end, we decided to use the HSM HL 4812 semi-automatic baling press - this is the ideal solution for functional and commercial reasons," said Kormann.  Now, each cardboard bale is manually strapped with four wires in Homecare Logistics. "That works fast and well," he added.

Currently for around three hours per day an employee in the Homecare Logistics department is deployed to press both waste fractions and prepare them for dispatch.

One advantage of the system is that if one machine fails, the other machine can also take over the fraction and compress it. Every six weeks a truck fetches the bales – it can load just under 60 of the 400 kg packages.

According to Kormann the customers of the bales are happy with the new raw material: "Correctly sorted, unsoiled, of constant quality and optimally compacted – we supply dream bales."

It is also ideal that the old cardboard is delivered to the paper factory that produces the cardboard boxes for PAUL HARTMANN AG. This reduces purchasing costs and transport costs – "an almost perfect recycling material loop," concluded Kormann.

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