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Do You Need A Built-In Crane On Your Scrap Logger Or Baler?

Unless you have a tip pan or pre-hopper system to prep your scrap, there’s only one way to get recyclables into a baler: via crane. The question is, should you get a logger/baler with a crane built in? Or should you get a craneless model as well as a standalone crane that can be used for other tasks? This “crane or no crane” question is one you’ll face with almost every logger/baler on the market, so it’s important to evaluate which one will be the best fit for your operations.

Benefits Of Built-In Cranes

Often, built-in cranes will be tailored specifically to the type of logger/baler they’re attached to, such as a car logger/baler vs. one designed for other types of scrap. Their length, weight capacity, and claw grab type (such as orange peel vs. clamshell) will be optimized for loading and unloading into their machine quickly and efficiently. Because they are operated from the same cab as the logger/baler itself, they also provide superior visibility into the compression chamber. This allows operators to make better decisions about where and how to distribute material for more even compression.

Built-in models are also typically more portable, as you only have to move one piece of equipment between locations rather than two. If your goal is to reduce double-handling of material, you can bring the logger/baler to the scrap rather than requiring a separate machine to transport it to the baler’s location. Because they are self-contained and can be operated by one person, it’s also possible to move them between yards or even to new sources of scrap without having to coordinate moving material handlers and operators as well. If your scrapyard needs a standalone workhorse for loading, baling, and logging, a built-in crane makes sense.

Advantages Of Going Craneless

Craneless logger/balers rely on separate material handlers, which adds an extra level of expense and organization to recycling operations. However, standalone cranes can also be much bigger with longer reach and larger grapple than built-in models. This can significantly increase productivity. Larger grapples can pick up more scrap with each pass, reducing the time it takes to fill the chamber, and their longer reach increases the potential loading radius so that loose scrap can be picked up from further away.

High-volume operations likely already have dedicated material handlers onsite as well as trained operators to run them. In that case, it makes sense to keep using existing equipment and processes to load a logger/baler, especially because separate cranes run by skilled operators can reduce the baler’s downtime and increase the amount of scrap processed in a day. If you plan to keep the logger/baler stationary – or, at least, only in a yard that has separate material handlers available – and you want to achieve maximum production, a craneless unit is likely a better fit.

Future-Proofing Your Machinery

While these considerations can tell you which type of machine to buy now, it’s also important to evaluate how well they will fit your future operations. Some key questions to ask are:

  • Is your goal to expand mobile logging or baling so that you can bale scrap at different locations, or are you focused on increasing onsite productivity?
  • Do you need to streamline processes to reduce double-handling in your scrapyard, or are you trying to use existing machinery more effectively?
  • How many tons of material are you realistically aiming to process each day? How much can your local market support?
  • How well is your current equipment setting you up to succeed at that goal? What machines are you missing? Which ones will provide the best long-term return on your investment?

For smaller, more mobile operations, a built-in crane will turn your logger/baler into a powerful, one-stop-shop for processing scrap. For high-volume operations that have separate cranes available, a craneless logger/baler (paired with at least one large, dedicated material handler) can speed up loading and unloading to meet high demand, whether now or in the future. Whatever you decide, all of Aljon’s logger/balers have the option to add a crane or go craneless, and it’s easy to request a quote for the 400XL logger/baler (up to 12 tons per hour) or the 580CL car logger/baler (up to 25 tons per hour). These models also have a number of other features and add-ons that improve safety and productivity while providing long-lasting, reliable construction that will improve your operations for decades to come.