Square bale vs round bale: how they differ?

Square bale vs round bale: how they differ?

CW 2200 bale wrapper at Herambiente Italy_1


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Cross Wrap has over 27 years of experience in providing square bale wrapping solutions for the Waste-to-Energy sector. The company´s crosswrapping method for square bale wrapping has gained a position as the industry standard among the vast majority of WtE professionals, and business sector leaders. This blog will dive deep into the square bale wrapping method and clarify the benefits of square vs. round bale wrapping.

Bale form affects operation efficiency

The most obvious difference between a square and a round bale is the bale shape, which is determined by baling action and by the used baler. This difference affects the baling process capacity, which is more efficient when using square baling. The shape of the bale also defines its handling characteristics and affects the required bale handling machinery throughout the process.

Square bales are the most popular choice among industrial operators who need more capacity and density from their bales. This is the reason why square bales have become the leading choice among waste and recycling industries. There are many examples globally where square bales are used. These include the alternative fuel sector, plastic recycling, and paper fiber recycling.

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wrapped bales storage

Bale storing is also more efficient when square bales are used. The square bale stacks have a smaller footprint, are denser, and can be safely stacked higher compared to round bales. The heavier and denser square bales also withstand storing better and can hold up their form better when stacked or piled. Square bale storage has lowered fire risk, as there are much fewer air gaps between the bales. Square bales can be stacked even 10 bales high depending on the local regulations.

Square vs. round bales: what difference does density make?

The bale density difference is logically explained. A round bale is less dense overall when compared to a square bale and round bales are usually softer in the middle due to the baling method. The square bales have even density throughout the bale and can holp up approximately 700-1000 KG per m³. The round bales are rated lighter, holding up much less material, approximately 500-700 KG per m³.

square bale truck transport

Square bales are a good choice for flexible operations, as their size can easily be adjusted with the baler. All these properties benefit square bale users with higher capacities, more economical bale handling operation, operational flexibility, and rugged industry-proven technology with balers that use high pressures and compacting solutions.

Still, there are some operations, where the benefits of round bale form can bring more benefits than the square bale form. These circumstances are mostly in agricultural operations, where there is a need for lighter machinery, and where the less dense bale structure is a benefit. One example is the baling of pre-dried hay, where the round bale allows the hay to dry out when stored.
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Industry-leading square bale wrapping solution comes from Cross Wrap

Cross Wrap offers solutions that provide clear benefits to customers. One of these innovations is the unique cross wrapping solution, which allows gentle but fast square bale wrapping. The square bale cross wrapping solution benefits the bale handling operations in Waste-to-Energy and recycling in many ways. These benefits can be listed as follows:

  • The square bales are easy to handle in the operating line due to the optimal, strong, and stable bale shape.
  • The wrapping film layers can be optimized regarding the operation, material, and bale handling needs.
  • The Cross Wrap method places the film where it counts the most – to the bale’s handling sides.
  • The bale is moved on its bottom side during the whole wrapping process, which strains the bale much less when compared to any other bale wrapping operation.
  • The baler and Cross Wrap bale wrapper combination can be chosen regarding the operation and material requirements.
  • The bales can also be wrapped without the need for any wire tying when a 2-ram baler and Cross Wrap Direct wrapper are used.
  • The cross wrapping line is simpler and litters much less when compared to the round bale wrapping line due to the stable bale movement and belt conveyors.
  • The Cross Wrap solution requires very little space due to its modular and compact structure.
  • Cross Wrap solution helps to bring down maintenance costs when compared to round bale wrapping due to the CW wrapper´s robust and simple structure.
  • The Cross Wrap method is easily scalable for changing operational needs.
  • Cross Wrap solution is a safe and effective way to wrap square bales.
  • Cross Wrap machines are also available for mobile solutions.

square bale handling

Heavier square bales equal improved logistics

Using square bales helps the material handling operation efficiency in many ways. This is mainly due to the fact that square bales can hold more material and can be baled tighter and heavier when compared to round bales. This benefits the logistics and brings down transport and handling costs.

Square vs. round bales in transportation: denser square bales are easy to handle, stack, and store, and the bales are denser, meaning that more waste fuel can be transported in one go.

square bale shipping

Square bale cross wrapping benefits summed up:

  • Improved logistics.
  • Saves space in production, transport, and storing, giving more tonnage and less costs.
  • Makes storing bales possible with very little environmental impacts – no leakage, no odors, no loose material, and no insects or birds to worry about.
  • Clean wrapping process.
  • Automatic and simple operation.
  • Helps to maintain material calorific value in WtE applications.
  • Cross Wrap operation is gentle to bales.
  • Bale shape maintains in form during the wrapping.
  • Wrapped bales are easy to store.

An automatic CW solution is available for bale opening regardless of the bale shape

Over 20 years ago, Cross Wrap´s clients requested a solution for bale opening after cross wrapping. For this operation, Cross Wrap developed a CW Bale Opener machine, which opens both rectangular and round bales. It opens the bales and removes the wrapping film and the bale ties from the baled material.
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BO 3600 opening round bales

The CW Bale Opener uses less energy than any other method available. The CW Bale Opener´s process makes less dust, is fire safe, faster, and quieter compared to any competitors’ machines on the market. Also, the CW Bale Opener´s maintenance is simple and cost-effective.

CW Bale Openers have been delivered to Waste-to-Energy plants and cement mills, where they are used 24/7. This experience in both wrapping and opening baled material gives us a good insight into the best practices, which can really make a difference in RDF, SRF, and waste material handling.

The best overall bale handling solution

Whether you are wondering how to maximize your operational material handling capacity or how to bring down the operational-, logistics- or maintenance costs, the answer is to start using Cross Wrap solutions with square bales. This way you achieve the best results in your operation.

Cross Wrap helps you to incorporate the smartest methods in baled material handling throughout the whole logistical chain, all the way up to the bale opening automation. By opting for square bales and square bale cross wrapping, you incorporate the most proven industry-standard method and increase your operational efficiency. Cross Wrap helps you to work smarter.

Two CW 2200 wrapper wrapping waste

Want to learn more about the benefits of square vs. round bales? Cross Wrap professionals are always ready to help you to find the best material handling solutions for your specific needs. We are at your disposal at</strong


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