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Compactor Design Guide

Compactor Types & Functions

Sizing & Selection

Construction Design & Materials

Structural Features

Control Features

Power Unit Features

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Compactor Sizing and Selection

Use the following three step evaluation process to select the appropriate compactor type and size, and properly outfit it to the specific needs of the installation. If you have any questions, need assistance with sizing/ selection, or are concerned about special processing of difficult materials, please contact SP Industries to discuss your requirements with our application and engineering staff.

1: Evaluate a Compactor for Cost-Effectiveness

The two primary areas of concern to consider when selecting a compactor are the cost to haul the trash to the landfill, and the cost of labor to handle it.

Utilizing a compactor packs more waste into a compaction container which means fewer trips to the landfill. Assuming the garbage hauler is charging per pull — fewer pulls means fewer charges. Additionally, landfill charges are either based on weight or volume. If the fee is based on weight, compaction will not reduce landfill charges, but if it's based on volume, then compaction will reduce overall landfill costs.

In regard to labor savings: an appropriately designed approach and access to the compactor can reduce employee labor and time. Also, the labor spent breaking down large bulky items and trying to fit more material into the container are eliminated.

Bottom line: After evaluating these factors, if a compactor can not save you money, then don't buy one! If you're not sure, consult your supplier to survey your facility. They can help make a recommendation for the type of system you need and determine the appropriate size system to service your capacity.

2: Maximize Compaction Ratio and Container Weight Efficiency

Compaction ratios provide a good estimate of compactor performance. For instance, consider the amount of trash that typically fills a 30 cubic yard opentop dumpster. Utilizing a 4:1 compactor, the equivalent of 4 of these containers can now be contained in one load, thus reducing hauling charges 75%.

SP Industries recommends evaluating the weight of the trash material to be handled in conjunction with the compaction ratio.

For example, a compactor with a 10:1 ratio may seem more advantageous than a 4:1 machine. But, what if the waste in the container weighs 5,000 lbs prior to compaction? With a legal weight limit for hauling in the 18,000 to 20,000 lbs. range, a 4:1 compactor will fill the container to absolute legal weight limit capacity. Choosing a compaction ratio beyond 4:1 in this application would be unnecessary and cost-ineffective.

Similarly, if the non-compacted waste weighs 2,000 lbs., a 4:1 ratio machine will only compact 8,000 lbs. into the container, less than 1/2 the maximum load limit. This will cost more money with the increased number of pulls and hauling fees to the landfill. For this application, a 10:1 ratio will fill the container to maximum weight capacity and cost-efficiency.

Bottom line: Don't be fooled by a sales pitch regarding phenomenal compaction ratios. Use the maximum legal container weight as the goal to reach when compacting. Then select the lowest compaction ratio that reaches this goal considering the particular mix of trash being generated at the facility. Skip the hype, do the math.

Size Compactor Capacity and Performance to the Application

Stationary compactors range in capacity from 3/4 to 13 cubic yards. (SP Industries self-contained models range up to 39 cubic-yards — contact factory for more information on these.)

When handling voluminous amounts of waste, several other factors should also be considered to properly determine the overall capacity and performance of the machine:

Duty Cycle: For installations requiring only one pull or less per week, a commercial grade unit is sufficient. For more frequent pulls, an industrial unit is required. For one pull or more per day, a heavy duty industrial compactor is recommended. (See selection chart below.)

Cycle Time: Compactor cycle time speed varies widely between different size machines. As such, cycle time plays a pivotal role in determining the actual volume of material that a compactor will process. For example, based on the specific waste flow rate of material from a given facility, an 8 cubic yard compactor with a faster cycle time can operate more efficiently in moving the volume of waste than a large 13 cubic yard machine. (See selection chart below and select model specifications.)

Cleartop Opening: The size of the compactor opening must accept the size of the trash material being loaded, and accommodate the loading method available at the facility. (See selection chart below and select model specifications.)

Loading Access: The cleartop opening should be configured with the appropriate hopper, chute and other loading features for maximum ease and efficiency. (See "Structural Features" section for recommendations.)

Control: Depending on the physical placement of the compactor, a variety of remote operating and safety controls should be considered. (Refer to the "Control Features" section for recommendations.)

Power Unit: Particularly for high performance, severe duty installations, enhanced functionality for the hydraulics and power unit should be considered. (Refer to the "Power Unit Features" section for recommendations.)

Comapctor Comparison Chart