As you investigate the mobile document destruction business one of your challenges will be to decipher the claims of the equipment manufacturers
The good news is that this is an established industry with reputable manufacturers. Keep in mind that you are not simply buying equipment or choosing a supplier, but you are in fact, choosing a business coach, a mentor and parts and supply partner. Take the time to select a team that has the history, knowledge, reputation, character and longevity to support your growth for years to come.
Benefit from the experiences of others and avoid making costly equipment selection mistakes. Obviously you will rely heavily on references and relationships, but here are some things to consider when selecting your primary suppliers.
Should you use Hammermill technology, single rotor or Pierce and Tear technology? Industry terminology can be confusing at best, but we can help you weed out the worst and end up with the best when it comes to your budget and abilities. There are technologies to avoid at all costs, and this is information you need to know from the start.
What type of containers should you buy? Which services should you offer? Would it be more economical for you to have a mobile shredder or an off-site shredding business? We can help you make these critical decisions for your start-up business, ensuring that you avoid costly mistakes in the process.
Here is a list of questions you should ask any manufacturer before buying a
Mobile Document Shredding System:
1. How long have you been in business?
Shred-Tech is the only manufacturer serving the document destruction industry to have engineered and serviced mobile and stationary shredding equipment for over 25 years.
2. How long have you manufactured Mobile Document Shredding Systems?
In 1985, Shred-Tech designed and manufactured the world’s first mobile document shredding system. It is not equipment you are buying, it is expertise. With thousands of shredding systems operating around the world, Shred-Tech understands the importance of designing a system to last. Most first generation mobile shredding systems, put into service in the mid eighties, are still in operation today. Many plant-based systems commissioned in the mid-seventies are still in operation, as well.
In order to remain profitable, your MDS equipment must be reliable and durable. It generates zero dollars in revenue when it is in the shop for repairs. Ensure the equipment you purchase has a proven track record concerning reliability. Your business cannot afford to be a guinea pig for someone else’s “flavor of the month”.
3. How many trucks have you sold?
Shred-Tech delivers hundreds of trucks a year and has thousands of shredders in operation worldwide. Every employee involved, from Engineering to Manufacturing, and Sales to Shipping, as well as Administration, garners more knowledge and understanding with every sale. We recognize that this kind of experience is priceless. Many of our committed and experienced employees have been with us for more than 15 years and we are even seeing a growing number of second-generation employees.
4. Do you provide references?
As the leading manufacturer of mobile shredding systems, Shred-Tech has the greatest number of loyal customers — customers and friends who understand the benefits of dealing with the most reputable company in this industry.
5. Do you have an in-house engineering team?
Secure document destruction is a fast-growing and ever-changing industry. Shred-Tech continues to set the industry standard for technological advancement that newcomers race to copy. Our dedicated, in-house Engineering Team (including electrical, mechanical, and hydraulics engineers) has over 100 years of combined experience and has designed many innovative patents. A reputable MDS equipment manufacturer should also have an Engineering Team, like Shred-Tech, that can select and apply replacement components best suited for the application.
1. What type of shredding system do you manufacture?
Many new catch phrases have emerged lately to confuse the customer, “Dump and Run,” “Pierce and Tear,” and “Lock and Load”. All of these phrases are designed by newcomers to distract buyers and as an attempt to “differentiate” innovations that have been built into every Shred-Tech mobile document destruction system for years.
Shred-Tech pioneered the mobile shredding business over twenty years ago. Shred-Tech is the most diverse and experienced manufacturer of low-speed high-torque shear shredders. In addition, Shred-Tech manufactures STS (single-shaft), STQ (four-shaft) and STG (granulators) for a variety of high-volume reduction applications.
2. Is the shredder designed and manufactured by the MDS supplier (OEM)?
An area that tends to be completely overlooked is the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). It may be important to check that the heart of the system — the shredder — is actually designed and manufactured by the MDS equipment supplier.
Shred-Tech engineers and manufactures the shredder specifically for this application. Shred-Tech then installs the shredder on a custom-built body designed exclusively for this application. It’s called Single Source Responsibility. No excuses — just peace of mind.
3. When and why is it necessary to put a fire suppression system on a mobile shredding truck?
When investigating a system with a fire suppression system installed, you should ask if the fire system is engineered by an NFPA approved supplier for this application, or if it is a homemade system. Vehicles that require fire suppression equipment more than likely will be more expensive to insure. Fire suppressions systems require annual tests (NFPA and Factory Mutual rules) and inspections which can be costly. A vehicle that has a suppression system and catches fire may not be covered by the insurer if the system has not been inspected within the previous twelve months. The truck will be deemed to need the fire suppression system and insurers will use any and all excuses to avoid a claim. Therefore the simple fact that a system has a fire-suppression system installed increases the liabilities and risks to the owner and operator.
Shred-Tech does not offer or require fire suppression systems on our trucks because there is no risk of fire. Hammermill systems, by design, produce an enormous amount of paper dust, which can be as combustible as liquid propane.
Is smaller particle size and lower throughput worth the risk of fire? Check the equipment supplier’s records of fires (if they will share that information with you). The faster the shredder is turning, the more heat created, and the best chance of fire. Bottom line: Don’t take chances — paper dust and fire do not mix.
4. How important is shred size?
Shred size is often a topic of concern and confusion, but it should be taken into consideration as part of the selection process.
The shred particle size argument is driven by manufacturing newcomers to the document destruction industry. Although there is a lot of terminology in the industry describing shred types, generally there are only three types of shreds:
- The first type is a shred that tends to be long, slender strips the full length of the document being shredded. This type of shred tends to be easily reconstructed, especially with document reconstruction software.
- The second type is smaller and has been smashed, ripped and torn. Although difficult to reconstruct, it is very dusty and has a poor recycling value in light of paper fiber damage. Paper from a disintegrator is often too small to be baled properly.
- The third, and most accepted type is the 5⁄8 inch-wide, random-length shred. This type of shred, when commingled with tons of other shredded paper, is virtually impossible to reconstruct. The recycling value is not reduced and baling is not a problem.
The MDS-35GTi lines feature the option of high-security Variable Shred Size (VSS) technology, which produces high-security shred sizes at the push of a button, as well as a cast aluminum body engineered to provide extremely high strength to weight ratio, and a long lasting corrosion-resistant finish. The cutting chamber design improves particle consistency and can be combined with VSS technology for further shred size reduction.
5. Is the feeding method an important feature to consider? What are the benefits of a
fully-enclosed bin tipper?
The safety, security and method of feeding the paper into the shredder are important points to consider when buying mobile document shredding equipment. Traditionally, paper was fed by hand into the shredder hopper.
Today, there are other options that create a much more secure company image, because the operator does not see or touch the paper being shredded. A ground-tip system increases security and efficiency by allowing the operator to empty cabinet bags directly into a two wheel cart, eliminating handling and any opportunity for eye contact.
Operator safety and efficiency is enhanced as well, by curb-side loading and Shred-Tech engineered and patented retractable bin tunnels. When feeding a shredder from ground level, it is important to consider safety and environmental factors. A fully-enclosed bin tipper will contain a bin in the event of bin failure (usually caused by over-filling), thus protecting the operator from injury. An enclosed bin tipper also keeps paper from being exposed to the weather elements and blown away by the wind.
6. How important is the container-size capability of the bin tipper?
There is a long list of types and sizes of two-wheeled bins available on the market today.
In the shredding industry, there are basically two types and two sizes that have been widely adopted: the North American two-bar and the European single-bar, both in the 64- and 96-gallon sizes. It is beneficial to be able to tip both styles in 64- and 95-gallon sizes.
It is important to review the capabilities of the bin tipper before selecting the equipment. Shred-Tech offers options for both bin designs, and some MDS systems also feature the double, or 174-gallon, bin tipper option.
7. What is your legal payload capacity?
GVRW, or Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, is the legal operating weight of a vehicle, or the maximum weight in pounds that can be carried on a group of two or more axles. Frame and axle ratings and formulas determine the GVWR. Frame dimensions and load distribution affect the legal weight.
Shred-Tech engineers complete diagnostic testing to ensure every MDS system is compliant with legal GVRW requirements.
8. Can my equipment be upgraded?
Again, Shred-Tech has been manufacturing mobile document shredding systems since 1977. Many of the original systems manufactured are still in operation today.
Shred-Tech shredders are so durable they almost always outlast the trucks that carry them. With this in mind, the engineers at Shred-Tech design our shredders with ease of upgrading as one of the main criteria. Operators may upgrade their existing MDS-20 and MDS-25 units to the latest design standards with the following benefits:
- Increased system efficiency
- Decreased maintenance costs
- Maximized throughput
- In-truck bin tippers
When an upgrade is combined with the replacement of the truck and chassis, the end result to the operator is like-new equipment and capability without the expense of replacing the shredder.
9. Is your equipment environmentally friendly and does it offer fuel savings?
Shred-Tech has introduced the Predictive Idle, which features auto shutdown and remote panel start/stop. The shredder automatically shuts off when it is left unattended and the hopper is empty.
Shred-Tech’s R&D department has developed and launched many product improvements and features that have resulted in lower fuel consumption and emissions. For example, by increasing shredder throughput by 600% over the last ten years with a minimal increase in power requirements a Shred-Tech MDS-35GTi requires approximately 2.1 gallons of fuel per ton of paper shredder versus 9 gallons per ton of paper shredded in the original MDS-20. This also means greatly reduced emissions per ton of paper shredded.
1. Will OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) replacement parts be available years after the sale?
All Shred-Tech parts conform to OEM tolerances and are subject to a 90-day warranty.
2. How will replacement parts be affected if the shredder manufacturing is contracted out to another OEM?
In some cases, the other MDS equipment suppliers will subcontract the shredder portion to another OEM. A buyer should ask if the future supply of replacement parts and service support will be compromised, for instance, if the shredder manufacturer stops selling shredders to the system manufacturer. If the provider of the shredder was to be sold or go bankrupt, there may not be a short-term supply of equipment and/or parts. A company that uses another manufacturer’s shredder has no control over product development or long-term parts availability.
Because the risk of misapplication also becomes a concern, it is also advisable to get a letter from the OEM endorsing the application of the shredder with the truck chassis.
3. Do you provide 24/7 service capabilities?
Serviceability is a key factor when selecting MDS equipment. Equipment selection should include a review of daily, weekly, monthly and yearly maintenance, along with an estimated time for each task. Availability of OEM parts and professional round-the-clock service support must also be considered.
Shred-Tech offers a 24/7 hotline service (877-566-2345) and strategically-located service centers across the U.S. to ensure prompt, precise service.
4. Do you offer maintenance contracts?
Shred-Tech’s MDS Service Team provides monthly, quarterly or annual maintenance contracts which ensure your Shred-Tech system is operating at maximum efficiency. A maintenance contract helps to:
- Minimize and stabilize operating costs
- Maximize system efficiency and production
- Document maintenance records for equipment resale
5. Are there financing options?
Shred-Tech can provide a list of knowledgeable and experienced leasing companies familiar with Shred-Tech equipment to educate you on your options and help expedite your purchase.
6. Do you have a trade-in program?
To enable existing operators to move up to the latest in mobile document shredding technology, Shred-Tech now offers a trade-in program.