A horizontal baler is a device used to compact materials into a compressed bale. It is known as a horizontal baler because the hydraulic arm that compresses the material is oriented horizontally, unlike some other types of balers that feature a vertical hydraulic arm. The materials that can be compressed in this type of baler can vary; some are designed for specific materials, while others are capable of baling a wide variety of materials. A tire baler, for example, is designed only to bale rubber tires, while a scrap baler may be able to handle rubber, metal, plastic, or even cardboard.
Some horizontal baler models are designed to be portable. The large baling machine will be mounted on a frame that features an axle with wheels mounted to it. A towing vehicle such as a pickup truck can be attached to the baler using a tow bar, and the unit can be transported to a job site. The horizontal baler will need to be street legal in this case, which means it will feature brake lights, a license plate, and other modifications that are in compliance with local laws. Other machines are not meant to be transported; they will be fixed on site, and in some cases even bolted to the ground for stability during the baling process.
Industries such as the recycling industry or industrial waste industries are likely to use one or more horizontal baler machines. Scraps can be loaded into a hopper or container, and when the appropriate amount of materials have been loaded, the hydraulic arm can be activated to compress those materials. Tire balers are often horizontally oriented to make the process of loading the tires into the machine much easier. Tires can be stacked next to each other in succession, ensuring a clean bale that is compressed quickly. Once the tires are compressed, metal wires are usually secured around them before the hydraulic arm of the horizontal baler is released. This prevents the tires from decompressing once the arm retracts.
These machines can be quite large or exceptionally small, depending on the jobs for which they are intended. Recycling centers and waste processing centers often feature horizontal baler units that are quite large to handle the high capacity of materials being processed through the plant. This is advantageous because it increases the plant's capacity, but it can also be a disadvantage because the finished bale will be exceptionally heavy. Heavy machinery such as a forklift will usually be required to move the bale.