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Whether shredding paper for document destruction or for volume reduction, choosing the right shredder to handle your material is important.

John Bartel, president of Ameri-Shred Corporation explained that confidential shredding is big business right now. He indicated that several laws have passed that require the destruction of personal information to protect individuals from identity theft.

A recycler needs to consider their end market. Lou Grossi, design engineer at Gruendler Crusher, explained that different markets accept different size shred.

"To manufacture new paper for the repulp market, the shredded material needs to be taken down to minus one-half inch. For simple volume reduction, to keep it out of the landfill, a six-inch shred will do, Mr. Grossi said. "You really need to know your end market before purchasing a shredder."

The amount and type of materials you shred also will factor into the shredder required.

Ken Lewis, export sales manager for Shred-Tech said, "You need to know the throughput— the tons per hour you will be processing. The density of the material needs to be taken into account. Bales have a higher density, as well as different types of paper. You want to make sure you are getting the correct horsepower to handle that."

Mr. Grossi added, "Some material is just easier to handle. Magazines are a little easier because of their size, while corrugated can be tough to shred because some of it is very large. Some corrugated may need to be sheared to get it down to a manageable size for feeding into the machine, especially items such as appliance boxes."

Mike Hinsey, director of operations, Granutech-Saturn, said, "The manufacturer should be able to guide you. They should be able to tell you that if you want to do two tons per hour, you need this machine, or if you need to do five tons per hour, you need this machine."

Mr. Bartel added, "You should also take into account the amount of growth you expect in the next three to five years so you have a shredder that can handle that growth."

Depending on your end market, a recycler may decide to keep white office paper separate from other fibers. Currently white office paper to mill brings in the best price over mixed paper. Separating other paper, such as dyed paper or newspaper is important for this market.

Mr. Bartel said, "Mixed paper or contaminated white office paper will bring in considerably less money than white office paper."

Mr. Lewis added, "Once the mill sees a piece of pink paper or carbon paper in a bale of white, than that bundle is worth what that piece of carbon paper is worth."

"Metals such as staples or paper clips are not a problem for paper mills. Large pieces of metal can be taken out with magnets or metal detectors that stop the conveyors," said Mr. Grossi. "It's impossible to get out all the contaminates and the mills realize this."

Mr. Hinsey said that it is better to remove very large contaminates to make sure they do not damage the shredder, especially if a recycler is using a single shaft shredder. "Double shaft and four-shaft shredders are a little more tolerable of contaminates than the single shaft."

Maintenance consists of basic cleaning and lubricating of the shredder knives; lubricating the motor, and greasing the bearings. Depending on throughput, lubricating gears and bearings can be done once a day, once a week or monthly. They should be examined daily.

Cutter heads should be inspected daily. Mr. Bartel said that if a business is using the shredder eight hours a day, the cutter heads may need to be lubricated two or three times a day.

Mr. Lewis said, "Maintenance is just common sense. If it is performed, it will keep a catastrophe from happening."

Replacement parts and service available from the manufacturer need to be considered before committing to purchase.

Mr. Hinsey said, "Check to make sure the company has a full inventory of parts that are available. If you were to lose something such as a gear box, that could take 8 to 10 weeks to be manufactured. That would be a long time for a shredder business to be down."

Knife replacement is necessary eventually. It varies depending on the amount of use. Some shredders have knives that can be rotated to extend use. Other knives just need to be replaced when worn.

Mr. Lewis said, "Normal life wear is around 18 to 24 months, though I've seen machines that haven't needed replacements in 3 to 4 years. Sometimes on large machines the knives are rebuilt."

Mr. Hinsey added, "It will be obvious when it is time to rotate and replace the knives. The shred will come out larger and will not be as good of a shred."

Service from a manufacturer is very important. Companies offer set-up of the shredders and training, both for operation of the shredder and for maintenance of the shredder. Many will come out to your plant and help design the entire system from conveyors and balers, to where the material should be stacked after it goes through the process.

The standard warranty on an industrial paper shredder is one year or 2,000 hours.


Paper Shredder Manufacturers
Company Name
Contact Person
Phone Number
AEC Size Reduction
John Wojcik
508-399-6400
Allegheny Paper Shredders Robert Wagner
800-245-2497
Ameri-Shred Corp. John Bartel
800-634-8981
Artech Reduction Technologies Gary Klowak
866-440-6599
Balemaster Mike Connell
219-663-4525
Ball & Jewell Division Jack Salvia
508-399-3100
Banner Welder, Inc. Ron Seeger
262-253-2900
Blower Application Company Rick Johnson
800-959-0880
Compact Specialties Mike Schutt
616-786-9100
Corru-Shred, Inc. Norman Levine
954-788-7711
Cumberland John Farney
508-399-6400
F & S Diversified Products, Inc. Henry Fair
248-364-2810
Franklin Miller, Inc. Sondra Somer
973-535-9200
EconoGrind Bill Desrosiers
508-399-3118
Granutech-Saturn Mike Hinsey
877-582-7800
Gruendler Lou Grossi
989-288-9236
Hammel North America, Inc. Gert Semler
219-929-5824
Industrial Paper Shredders Dee Dee Thomas
888-637-4733
Intimus Schleicher & Co of America Libbey Nelson
800-775-7570
Miller Manufacturing Company Richard Veeck
209-632-3846
Montgomery Industries International, Inc. Case Herring
904-355-5671
MRS-Marathon Reduction Solutions Michelle Lackey
800-269-7237
Schutte Buffalo Hammermill Tom Warne
716-855-1202
Shred Pax, Inc. Carol Cassata
800-962-7888
Shred-Tech Ken Lewis
519-621-3560
Tryco Untha International Kent West
217-864-4541
Van Dyk Baler Pieter Van Dijk
203-967-1100
Vecoplan, LLC Chris Hawn
336-861-6070