Case Study

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PLC-Enabled Compactor Saves Up to 70% in Waste Handling Costs

Harmony Enterprises delivers hi-tech indoor solution in affordable package

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  • Provide a scalable, attractive solution to make indoor waste handling more efficient



  • Achieves 4:1 compaction ratio and 21-second cycle time
  • Decreases waste handling costs
  • Reduces employee pilferage
  • Enhances property appearance

No matter what the industry – and wherever people work, live or gather – solid waste disposal is part of the equation. And while most aspects of waste handling are done behind the scenes, unsightly refuse containers are a bane to organizations ranging from restaurants and airports to hospitals and nursing homes.

Waste disposal is also a significant expenditure. Employee time dedicated to waste bin monitoring plus hauling and recycling costs add up quickly for establishments of all sizes.

“Also, waste that is not well managed can pose a significant fire and safety risk,” said Lane Powell, new business development manager, Harmony Enterprises. “And depending on the organization, open waste containers encourage employee pilferage as well.”

Scalable Good Looks

Harmony Enterprises, a third-generation family business headquartered in Harmony, Minnesota, aims to improve recycling and waste disposal efficiency for its global customer base. The company’s product line includes PLC-enabled waste balers and compactors – plus innovations like SmartPack automatic trash compactors, Insite wireless monitoring and SunPak solar options.

“Keep in mind, our portfolio is also scalable,” Powell explained. “We focus on delivering viable, affordable options for a diverse range of requirements.”

For example, Indoor Power Packer waste compactors are available in three sizes to address various capacity and footprint requirements. The mid-size 450SS Power Packer is particularly versatile, meeting the needs of casual dining restaurants, hospitality firms, healthcare organizations and more.

Sporting a stainless steel cabinet, the 450SS Power Packer is an attractive replacement for open waste containers – and is built for both good looks and durability. But the easy-to-operate system packs impressive performance into its streamlined design.

The Magic Inside

The 450SS Indoor Power Packer is built on a Rockwell Automation® control platform featuring an Allen-Bradley® Micro820™ controller and Allen-Bradley push buttons, relayscontactors and other industrial components.

Simple and efficient operation is key,” Powell said. “The Power Packer is designed for indoor use and back-end waste. And most of the ‘magic’ happens inside the equipment – shielded from accidental view by patrons, visitors or residents.”

To begin operation, the employee opens the front loading door and inserts the waste material. After closing the door, the operator selects “compaction” via push button. Waste accumulates and is compacted within a cube each time an employee adds material.

The “cube full” indicator light and buzzer are activated when the container has reached capacity. Then, the operator opens the waste cube door, removes the cube using a hydraulic lift cart, and deposits the bagged waste in a dumpster. The cube is replaced, a bag is inserted and the process repeats.

Less Waste. Less Cost.

The 450SS Power Packer achieves a 4:1 compaction ratio and 16-second cycle time.

“In other words, waste is compacted up to 1/25th of the original volume, which impacts hauling costs,” Powell said. “And four trips to the dumpster are reduced to one, which frees-up employees for other tasks.” 

According to Harmony Enterprises, the Power Packer decreases waste handling costs by 40 to 70 percent.

“One of our customers saved $900 per month on waste hauling costs alone after installing a 450SS Power Packer at their adult nursing facility,” Powell said. “They have reduced trash pick-up from twice a week to once a week.”

Equally important for most customers are other less tangible benefits that result from waste that is kept out of view – including minimizing employee pilferage and improving the overall appearance of the property. 

Streamlined Delivery

To help streamline delivery of the Power Packer system, Harmony Enterprises relies on the local Allen-Bradley distributor, Werner Electric Supply Company.

“Werner Electric provides the controller and industrial components as a kitted solution we order with one purchase order,” Powell said. “The control system is essentially plug and play when it arrives at our shop.”

“We have customers in more than 80 countries and do all of our manufacturing here in Harmony,” Powell continued. “To produce our products efficiently and cost-effectively, we rely on Rockwell Automation for off-the-shelf availability – and a good price point.”   

Allen-Bradley, Micro820, Listen.Think.Solve, Rockwell Automation and Rockwell Software are trademarks of Rockwell Automation, Inc.

Other trademarks are the property of their respective companies.


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