ISRI2022 turned out to be valuable to the design and marketing of a new metal baler that involved ISRI members on the seller and buyer sides.

Allen Mercer, vice president of sales and marketing at heavy steel custom design and fabrication company Columbia Industries, says more than 70 people expressed interest in the company’s new Kodiak KX9600 mobile baler at the March convention and exposition in Las Vegas. Feedback from attendees who saw the prototype will be incorporated into production of new machines later this year.

“I describe what happened as a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to win the World Series,” Mercer says. “We ended up having about 15 changes [to the design] based on what we heard at ISRI2022. We try to make a machine easy to operate and maintain, working with recyclers, and that partnership has been there from the get-go.”

Hillsboro, Ore.-based Columbia has pioneered, crafted, and honed several industry-revolutionizing technologies over the years, such as the first landfill Trailer Tippers, the first Wheeled Rig Moving Systems, and one of the first truly reliable Rig Walking Systems. Three years ago, an ISRI member that owns a recycling yard in Oregon approached Columbia to repair his baler. He wanted the firm to use the same engineering and skillsets for making tippers to fix the baler. “That was an a-ha moment,” Mercer recalls. “We [repaired the baler], and that got us thinking that perhaps we could manufacture a baler ourselves.”

Contacting the owners and operators of metal yards, Mercer and the design team had several key ISRI members that consulted for free because they wanted to be part of a project that reacted to the wants of baler users. Columbia joined ISRI in August 2021.

At ISRI2022—Columbia’s first time displaying at the exposition—engineers sought information from ISRI members as a cornerstone to building a better product. “We gathered a lot of stories about shared experiences with machinery,” Mercer explains. “We focused on the owner-operators, for example, to get their perspective on how to eliminate stress or flex points of failure.”

Powered by a Perkins six-cylinder Diesel producing 173 horsepower (an electric motor option is available), the Kodiak KX9600 is made of American parts to AISC and ISO quality standards. Bale size is 40 inches wide, 26 inches high, and variable length. Throughput is 20-25 cars per hour or 1216 tons per hour. Curb weight is 43.75 tons.

The loader has a C-door orientation, right or left loading option; and capacity of 6,425 pounds with a 20-foot reach or 4,795 pounds with a 25-foot reach. The standard grapple is a clamshell type with 25-inch jaw size and a 73.5-inch span fully open. With independent loader and baling pumps, each baler is cycle tested at full rated load for more than 250,000 cycles.

This summer, Columbia plans to send two balers to separate yards to build upon its extensive product testing with field experience. Pricing is still being determined. For more information, visit

Photo courtesy of Columbia Industries. Caption: Columbia Industries brought the prototype of its Kodiak KX9600 baler to ISRI2022 in Las Vegas.



Dan Hockensmith

Dan Hockensmith

I'm a native Ohioan who since 2014 has called Maryland home. My background includes print, broadcast, and digital journalism; government contracting; and marketing communications.