A baler is a machine used to compress hay or straw into bales for easy transport and storage. A bale is the simplest minimum package for marketing.

Balers are divided into stationary balers and field balers. They are further classified into rectangular balers and round balers according to the bale shape produced. According to density of bale, they could be high (200-350 kg/m3), medium (100-200 kg/m3) or low density (<100 kg/m3) balers.

Rectangular pick-up baler

The 9KJ-1.4A rectangular pick-up baler (Figure 6-6), made by the Inner Mongolia Baochang Livestock Machinery Plant, is used as an example for the general structure and function of rectangular pick-up balers. It makes bales from the straw windrow left by the combine. The machine consists principally of a pick-up reel, a conveying and feeding system, a compressing chamber, a bale density adjuster, a bale length controller, a needle-and-tying mechanism, a crank-linkage mechanism, a power transmission, and hauling system.

It is powered from the power take-off (PTO) of the hauling tractor. The straw windrow is lifted from the ground by a pick-up reel having spring teeth (14) and transferred continuously to a conveying and feeding mechanism (3) as the baler moves forward along the windrow. The conveying and feeding mechanism (3) pushes individual charges of hay into the bale chamber (6) from the side at intervals when the piston (2) is withdrawn. The piston reciprocates under the function of the crank-linkage mechanism to press the material into the bale. When the bale reaches the required length, the needle-and-tying mechanism is engaged automatically to bind the bale, which is then pushed out from the chamber by successive bales and is discharged to the ground.

Rectangular bales can be lifted and loaded either by hand or by a loading machine mounted on the side of a truck or trailer and driven by a ground wheel. The Jilin Baicheng Agricultural and Livestock Machinery Factory also make this kind of baler, model 9JKC-2.7.

Figure 6-6. Structure and operation of a 9KJ-1.4A baler


KEY: 1. Tow beam; 2. Piston; 3. Conveying and feeding equipment; 4. Bale length controller; 5. Needles; 6. Compression chamber (bale chamber); 7. Bale density adjuster; 8. Bale; 9. Needle-and-tying mechanism; 10. Crank; 11. Main gear box; 12. Flywheel; 13. Universal joint gearing axis; 14. Pick-up reel.

Basic specifications of the 9KJ-1.4A rectangular baler:
· Overall dimension (cm): 
length, 480; width, 270; height, 145

· Power source: 
22 kW from tractor PTO

· Working speed and output: 
5 km/hour; 5 000 - 7 000 kg/hour

· Piston frequency: 
70-80 strokes per minute

· Feed rate: 
1.5-2.5 kg per cycle

· Nominal pick-up width: 
141.4 cm

· Working width: 
160 cm

· Bale size (cm): 
Length, 60-120; width, 46; height, 36

· Bale weight and density: 
15-25 kg; 100-180 kg/m3

· Baler net weight: 
1 480 kg

High density baler

The 92FY-300 high density baler (Figure 6-7) manufactured by the Inner Mongolia Yakeshi Forestry Machinery Plant is taken as an example to describe basic structure and working process. It is a stationary baler equipped with front and rear wheels. It can be hauled to the working site by a tractor. The density of the bale reaches 300 kg/m3. An electric or diesel motor or the tractor's PTO can supply the power (17 kW). A belt, a chain and a gear by a linkage mechanism drive an eccentric axis that moves the piston back-and-forth. At the same time, the conveying mechanism moves up-and-down to feed the straw into the compression chamber. The bales are fastened with three steel wires (diameter, 2 mm; length, 210 cm).

Basic specifications are:
· Overall baler dimensions (cm): 
length, 77; width, 150; height, 254

· Net weight of the baler: 
4 tonne.

· Bale size (cm): 
length, 50-65; width, 36; height, 46

· Bale weight: 
30-35 kg.

· Piston displacement; 
62 cm

· Piston frequency: 
30 times per minute

· Output: 
50-80 bales per hour

· Reference price: 
¥ 35 000

Figure 6-7. High density baler


Round baler

The round baler is a new kind of pickup baler. The bales are round, 90-200 cm in diameter. It has the advantages of simple structure and convenience for adjusting and use. The round bales resist the rain, are convenient for feeding and adapted to outside storage. They also save on wire. As a result, they are being increasingly used.

Based on the form of working unit, round balers can be classified into long-belt type, short-belt type, chain type and roller type. They are also classified into inside winding type and outside winding type by their working principle. Long-belt and chain types are inside winding; short-belt and roller types are outside winding.

Figure 6-8 illustrates a belt, inside winding pick-up baler that consists of a pick-up reel, a conveying and feeding mechanism, a wrapping and pressing mechanism, a rear door for unloading, a transmission mechanism and a hydraulic operating mechanism. Its working process is shown in Figure 6-9. The windrow is lifted by a pickup reel (4) and rolled up to double smooth rollers (3) where it is pressed into a flat layer, then conveyed to the baler chamber. With the upper belt the straw moves upward by friction to a certain height, then rolls down to the lower belt by gravity to form the core of the bale, which continually rolls, increasing the diameter. When the bale reaches the desired size it is discharged from the lower belt. The springs fixed in the swing arms in the two sides of the bale chamber maintain the pressure of the belt on the bale's surface. The pressure increases with bale size, resulting in low density on the inside of the bale but high density on the outside. Inside wrapping means that the volume of the wrapping and pressing chamber enlarges during pressing to keep a constant pressure on the bale. The bales formed by inside wrapping have much higher density than by outside wrapping and keep their shape for longer during storage. However, the structure of an inside wrapping baler is more complicated. When the bale reaches the desired size, an indicator alerts the driver to engage the hydraulic distributor in order to activate the binding mechanism. The twine is passed by the tube and fed with straw to the chamber. The twine is wrapped around the circumference of the bale, then cut by a blade. The rear door is lifted hydraulically. The bale is then discharged to the ground.

Figure 6-8. Inside wrapping pick-up round baler

KEY: 1. Swing arms; 2. Gear box; 3. Gearing shaft; 4. Hydraulic power supply tube; 5. Support frame; 6. Pick-up reel; 7. Tube for the twine; 8. Twine cutter; 9. Twine box; 10. Tension spring; 11. Rear discharge door; 12. Belt of wrapping and pressing chamber.

Figure 6-9. Operating principle of the wrapping and pressing mechanism

STAGES: A. Forming of the core of the bale. B. Making the bale. C. Discharging the bale KEY: 1. Upper belt; 2. Swing arms; 3. Smooth rollers; 4. Pick-up reel; 5. Road wheels; 6. Rear door for discharging; 7. Hydraulic cylinder; 8. Side walls.

The round baler manufactured by the Jilin Baicheng Agricultural and Livestock Machinery Plant belongs to this type. Its specifications are:
· Overall dimensions (cm): 
length, 485; width, 245, height, 243

· Net weight: 
1 900 kg

· Power source: 
40.4 kW from tractor hydraulic system

· Working speed and output: 
5 km/hour; 8-12 bale/hour

· Bale weight: 
450-500 kg

· Bale diameter and width: 
180 cm; 150 cm

· Width of pick-up: 
140 cm

Round bales must be loaded, transported and unloaded by machine due to their heavy weight. The 7KY-4 round bale transporting wagon made in China is hydraulically driven and equipped with an automatic pickup mechanism. It can pickup and load round bales with flexibility and accuracy. Four bales can be transported simultaneously.

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