We talk a lot about shredding and often make references to avoiding strip cut shredders like the plague. Frankly we’re not sure why they are still made, as they have been proven to be the least effective method of destroying a document, shortly behind scribbling on it with pen. But instead of using strip cut, what should you be using? The answer is a bit longer than you would think. There are actually 8 types of shredder out there, only 3 of which are available for home and domestic use. They differ based on how thoroughly you want your document to be destroyed, and this post should give you some idea of which type would be right for you.
Home Shredding Units
Strip Cut Shredders
Strip cut, as we may have mentioned, is the least secure method of shredding, and as such has widely fallen out of favour. It works by feeding single pieces of paper through a cycle of rotating blades, slicing the paper into strips and feeding it into the collection bin. It does not mix the strips up in any way, so you could easily pick up the page and tape it back together, revealing the information.
Cross-cut shredders are currently the most popular style of shredder for both home and small business use. This is because they are relatively inexpensive and provide a secure method of destroying documents. Cross cut shredders use 2 small blade coated drums rotating in opposite directions to cut the paper into small rectangular or diamond shaped pieces. Because these pieces are small and randomised as they fall into the collection bin, it prevents reassembly and produces a much smaller volume of waste.
Micro cut shredders are the most secure of the freely available to purchase shredding units. They are also known as particle cutters due to the size of the pieces they produce. These machines work on the same principle as the cross cut with bladed drums, but feature many more blades of a higher quality. These blades render a piece of A4 paper into squares and circles roughly the size of confetti that are the completely randomised as they fall. In short, you are never putting that document back together.
Industrial Shredding Units
When you get past the domestic needs, industrial shredders are used to handle and destroy highly sensitive data completely. Think of the security level of police, army, and medical documentation – that’s what these shredders deal with.
Ok so we started on an odd one. Cardboard shredders are more of a specialist tool than a high security shredder. They have been designed to handle large amounts of cardboard and corrugated material, either cutting them into strips of reducing it to a mulch like substance, which is then pushed through a wire mesh screen. This mulch is then recycled into new cardboard or used for compost.
A disintegrator, which not being a cool laser gun (sorry folks) pretty much does what it says on the tin. These shredders are also known as granulators because the pieces they produce are smaller than grains of rice. They work by pushing the paper through a series of blade coated barrels that gradually get finer and finer until the paper is almost microscopic. It is then pressed through a fine mesh screen to ensure it is small enough.
A hammermill shredder offers a similar level of security and results to the disintegrator, but it goes about in the a different and much more violent way. Materials are fed into the hammermills grinding chamber through a feed chute (no hands near this one). It is the fed through a conveyer belt where it is repeatedly hit by several ganged hammers, attached to a shaft within the mill chamber and turning at a high rate. The result is a cloud of dust like particles with no paper to be seen.
Pierce And Tear
Pierce and tear shredders are usually reserved for materials that are big, bulky or ungainly in some way. Instead of attempting to shred the material in a conventional way they have multiple sets of rotating narrow blades the resemble pins. These blades pierce and tear at the material as it passes through (hence the name), pulling it apart. This is a very randomised method of destruction, and the smaller pieces of material are usually then fed into a disintegrator or a hammermill for final destruction.
The final type of industrial shredding unit is known affectionately as ‘the grinder’. Grinders have long, rotating shafts coated in fine cutting blades that tear and grind the material until it is small enough to fall through the mesh screen below the shafts. Any material that is not small enough is pulled back through the process. The resulting particles can barely be recognised as paper.
At Hungry Shredder we utilise many of these shredders to provide a wide variety of shredding security levels to our customers. We also have trucks and lorries that are equipped with special containers that have shredders built in, so we can offer a mobile shredding service without sacrificing security. For more information on the type of shredder we use or to book your consultation, get in touch today.