Auger Compactor vs. Hydraulic Ram Compactor

If your operation generates a lot of trash, you know that disposal is expensive. Even if the waste is recyclable, few, if any, organizations come close to covering the heavy labor and transportation costs by selling it. An industrial compactor will provide a solution to alleviate these costs. It is important to compare hydraulic ram compactors and auger compactors in order to decide which industrial compactor will meet your operations needs.

Hydraulic Ram Compactors

The ram compactor has been one way to reduce these costs, by flattening waste and pushing it into a roll-off container. This cuts down on the use of open-top containers and trucks to haul away unprocessed waste, which can really get expensive. But ram units are by no means the perfect industrial compactor solution.

Good–not great–container payloads
Ram compactors push trash forward into a receiving container. Only when the container begins to fill up does the compactor actually flatten and compress the material, which does not significantly reduce the volume. Generally speaking, the trash at the front of the container is hardly compacted at all. Ram units can typically load 2 to 4 tons of waste into a 40-yard container. While this is certainly better than open-top hauling, it is far short of Komars industrial compactor capability.

Ram Compactor Drag-backMaterial drag-back reduces efficiency and creates unnecessary labor costs. The ram operates reciprocally, with a back-and-forth action. This means it is compacting only half the time. When the ram retracts, it often drags debris back into the charge area which sometimes gets permanently trapped under the ram. This creates smelly, unsanitary, unhealthy buildup, requiring periodic manual removal - an extra labor cost that can be avoided with the right industrial compactor.

As the container approaches full capacity in the hydraulic ram industrial compactor, compacted material (particularly corrugated) can spring back into the compactor when the pressure on it is released by ram retraction. Not only does this limit the capacity of the charge area, but also youre processing the same material two or three times, maybe more. How efficient is that?

Chute jamming
Chute jamming in an industrial compactor occurs when the flow of materials builds up on top of the reciprocating ram during the penetration phase of the ram cycle. This causes waste to be forced up into the oncoming material, jamming and bridging the waste across the chute and allowing the ram to tunnel under the material. Energy is wasted while the compactor continues to cycle, and often requires shut down of the line for personnel to clear the chute manually, which is dangerous and labor intensive. There is a better solution.

Oil leaks - a familiar problem
Ram Compactor Oil LeaksHydraulics are high maintenance. Pumps, cylinders, hoses and fittings under high pressure will eventually leak. Disconnections will spray fluid. Messy, environmentally hazardous oil spills take valuable labor time to clean up and pose a risk of injury to employees. Wouldn't a clean, all-electric system in an industrial compactor make better sense?

Energy intensive
Ram compactors, with their comparatively slow operation and low throughput, soak up a good deal of power per ton of processed material. With electric rates on the rise, you certainly need better energy efficiency wherever you can find it.

The Komar Auger Compactor

Komar auger industrial compactors are widely used to process waste generated by manufacturing, distribution centers, municipalities, retail malls, hospitals and many other operations. They have also successfully handled some of the toughest applications in the field of waste and reclamation, including hazardous, nuclear, bio-medical, steel casting trees, telephone poles, cable spools, and steel drums (empty or full). By combining shredding with high-powered compaction, container load densities are substantially increased, which dramatically reduces transportation costs.

You may have heard this story
Waste haulers are no fans of the auger industrial compactor. This is understandable since their income depends largely on the number of pickups they make. When the auger can cut pickups by 60 to 80%, its little wonder that haulers will urge you to stick with your ram units. In fact, a few of the larger hauling companies actually sell hydraulic compactors. But please remember that its your bottom line that you need to be concerned about - no one elses. The economic benefits of the Komar auger industrial compactor speak for themselves, and should be considered in their own right when making equipment decisions. We have plenty of customers who will never go back to ram compactors, no matter what their waste haulers tell them.

Here’s why customers around the globe have chosen the auger industrial compactor over ram industrial compactors:

Superior load density
Auger Compactor - Superior Load DensityThe auger does more than just compress waste. Its 3-dimensional shredding action reduces volume significantly, packing 3 to 5 times more material into a 40 yd. container than a conventional ram compactor. By increasing load density, you can save big by eliminating unnecessary transportation by waste haulers. Many of our auger industrial compactor customers have gone from one pull per day to one per week. Open top container loads of pallets and crates can be reduced by up to 85%; conventional ram industrial compactor loads of cardboard and general plant waste by up to 75%; and ram style pre-crusher loads by up to 60%. In addition, the shredded waste in the receiving containers, despite the heavier load, empties easily, without the need to manually pull the material out.

No drag-back
Auger Compactor has no drag-backThe Komar auger industrial compactor utilizes a single large-pitch compression screw that, unlike the back-and-forth action of ram units, is continually moving forward, reducing processing time and energy costs, and leaving no drag-back residue in the processing chamber.

No spring-back
The auger’s one-way material flow also eliminates spring-back by applying constant pressure against the compacted material in the receiving container.

Forget about chute jamming
The continuous forward motion of the auger processes waste up to 5 times faster than a ram compactor. Auger Compactor has no chute jammingSo even in high-volume conveyor-fed operations, material flows smoothly and never backs up into the feed chute with the auger industrial compactor.

No hydraulic mess
Komar EM models are clean, green compacting machines, powered solely by electromechanical drives. Theres no pressurized oil to leak, no extra labor to clean it up. Auger industrial compactor units can also operate in all weather conditions, even in the coldest climates.

Cut your electric bills
The fast and efficient operation of the auger industrial compactor requires 50% fewer kilowatt hours per cubic yard of throughput as compared to conventional compactors. And it does not require an electric heater to prevent freezing up in cold weather, as can be the case with any kind of hydraulic equipment.

Plus these added benefits:


  • Auger Compactors reduce spillage by up to 80% over ram compactors when the standard roll-off receiving container is disconnected from the compactor, and 95% with the matched auger receiving container. This provides for a cleaner, safer work area, and saves energy and time when replacing the full container with the empty replacement container
  • Broken pallets, crates and other unsightly wood waste do not have to be stored on your lot. Material processed through the auger industrial compactor can be shredded and recycled as boiler fuel or sent to a mulch producer for final processing.
  • The speed and efficiency of the auger reduces the time an operator needs to wait when feeding materials. Increased container capacity means less stacking of material and re-handling of the same material by personnel.
  • The auger industrial compactor has a smaller footprint than a traditional industrial compactor, which require additional space for the hydraulic cylinder and power unit. In dock installations, the auger compactor can be placed closer to the dock, doing away with personnel needing to walk or drive on the back of the compactor to feed the unit and creating a much safer working environment. In chute-fed installations, the compactor can be closer to the building, increasing the angle of the chute and allowing for better infeed. In yard applications, the Komar industrial compactor can be accessed from three sides, reducing loading time.

The bottom line
With all these advantages, the auger industrial compactor naturally requires a higher initial investment than a hydraulic ram unit. But each of these advantages has associated cost savings which lower the lifetime cost of the machine, providing a hefty return on investment. Depending on your current system and the materials being processed, the savings on hauling costs alone can offset the purchase price of the auger in 2 to 3 years. Add in the reductions in labor and energy, plus any recycling revenue, and the payback is even faster. A fair number of Komar customers have reported that their auger industrial compactor has paid for itself in 6 to 18 months.

Comparative Industrial Compactor Specs
Here’s how the two types of compactors stack up against each other. Published performance and dimensional data are shown for typical ram compactors and Komar’s smallest and largest models.


  Ram Compactors Auger Compactors
  Standard 2 Yd Model Largest Pre-Crusher Komar EM-15 Komar EM-75
Cycle time 56 sec. 51.sec. Continuous Continuous
Max. Compression Force 55,100 lbs. 96,200 lbs. 76,900 lbs. 219,00 lbs.
Throughput per hour* 100 cu. yd. 125 cu. yd. (est) 400 cu. yd. 600 cu. yd.
Infeed Opening 41" x 60'" 97" x 60" 53" x 60" 96" x 76"
Charge Capacity 2.0 cu. yd. 5.5 cu. yd. 2.25 cu. yd. 9.0 cu. yd.
Machine Weight 5,150 lbs. 22,269 lbs. 4,200 lbs. 27,000 lbs.

 *Estimated Based on processing light industrial trash and bagged waste