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How Office Shredders Work and 4 Reliable Options

By Randy Green July 12, 2022 0 comments

Organizations typically produce large volumes of paperwork. It could be documents containing your clients’ personal information or confidential business memos and reports.

There reaches a point, however, when some documentation is no longer needed. Since most office paperwork contains confidential information, use an office shredder to shred your documents so you can:

  • Prevent identity theft
  • Stay legally complaint
  • Protect customers’ data
  • Protect employees’ data

Shredders work by cutting papers into either square-shaped pieces or strips. Basic paper shredders typically tear papers down into strips, while more advanced machines cut papers into tiny pieces that are nearly impossible to assemble.

If you’re only getting rid of non-confidential documents such as junk mail, a basic shredder will do. However, it’s not advised for paperwork that contains sensitive or confidential information.

To understand how office shredders work, it’s necessary to drill down into what their different components do.

The Basic Components of an Office Shredder

Formax FD 8730HS Office Shredder

Your typical office shredder will have the following basic components:

  • Bin
  • Motor
  • Blades
  • Sensors
  • Filter

The device that pulls documents into the machine and begins the shredding process is known as the cutting head.

The cutting head has a sensor that allows the shredder to turn on automatically when papers are placed in the narrow, paper-sized intake slit. Most office shredders also have a second sensor for detecting that the cutting head is secured to the bin. The two sensors also:

  • Ensure the shredder is both stationary and stable before shredding begins
  • Help conserve energy by activating the shredder only when paper is placed in it

The primary component in an office shredder is its set of blades or teeth. Once the cutting head pulls paper into the machine, it’s the teeth that tear the paper. There are two shredding options available:

  • Strip-cut shredders have one set of blades that cut in the same direction, producing paper strips.
  • Crosscut shredders have two sets of blades or more that spin in opposite directions, producing small, square-shaped pieces.

An office shredder’s efficiency is determined by its electric-powered motor. The stronger the motor’s torsion force, the faster the shredder’s blades will spin and the more efficient it is.

As the shredder turns paper into either strips or tiny pieces, they end up in the bin, located at the bottom part of the paper shredder. The bin, therefore, stores the shredded paper and material and can be emptied into the trash, as needed.

High-security level shredders include a filter between the blades and the bin. Their blades continuously cut the paper fed into the machine until they become small enough to pass through the filter and fall into the bin. When the shredded paper is filtered data can’t be recovered from it.

Now that you know how office shredders work, there are several reliable options you could choose from, depending on your needs.

1 - Deskside Shredders

Formax FD 8302CC Deskside Cross-Cut Shredder

Deskside shredders are great for professionals without a lot of office space because they combine a space-saving design with commercial-grade components such as:

  • All-metal cabinets
  • Heat-treated steel blades
  • Heavy-duty AC geared-motors
  • Rugged lifetime guaranteed waste bins

For instance, the Formax FD 8302 Deskside Cross-Cut Shredder is as compact as a wastebasket.

Despite its size, this machine can shred up to 8 sheets of paper at once, at a speed of up to 27 feet per minute. Meanwhile, its Strip-Cut (SC) counterpart (Formax FD 8302SC) can shred up to 23 sheets at once, at a speed of up to 21 feet per minute.

Like the Cross-Cut (CC) model, the Formax FD 8302SC can shred paper clips and staples. Additionally, the Formax FD 8302SC model has a dedicated compact disc (CD) infeed and wastebin that allows it to shred CDs and credit cards.

The table below compares some of the features you’ll find in a selection of deskside shredders.

Formax FD 8206CC Formax FD 8302CC Formax FD 8300HS
Shred Size 5/32” x 1-7/16” 1/16” x 5/8” 1/32” x 3/16”
Feed Opening 9” 10” 9.5”
Bin Capacity 6.9 gal. 9.5 gal. 15 gal.
Speed (up to) 8.8 feet per minute 27 feet per minute 23 feet per minute
Weight 28.7 lbs. 88 lbs. 149 lbs.

2 - OnSite Office Shredders

Formax FD 8402CC Office Shredder

OnSite Office Shredders are bigger, heavier, and more powerful than deskside shredders. They also come in a sleek, compact design that nonetheless packs commercial-grade components such as:

  • Steel cabinets
  • Heat-treated steel blades
  • A powerful AC geared-motor
  • Lifetime guaranteed waste bin

The Formax FD 8502 Office Shredder (FD 8502CC) and the Formax FD 8402CC OnSite Office Shredder are examples of OnSite Office Shredders.

The two shredders come with an energy-saving ECO Mode. When activated, the ECO Mode helps save energy by automatically switching them into standby mode after 5 minutes of inactivity.

Additionally, OnSite Office Shredders come with an LED control panel that has a load indicator. This easy-to-use control panel lets you keep an eye on your machine’s status so jamming is avoided.

While the EvenFlow™ Automatic Oiling System is optional for both FD 8502CC and FD 8402CC, it’s standard on the Formax FD 8400HS-1 OnSite Office Shredder. The EvenFlow™ system periodically lubricates the shredder’s cutting blades based on motor run time, thus keeping your machine in peak operating condition.

The table below compares some of the features you’ll find in a selection of OnSite Office Shredders.

Formax FD 8402CC Formax FD 8502CC Formax FD 8400HS-1
Shred Size 5/32” x 1-1/5” 5/32” x 1-1/5” 1/32” x 3/16”
Feed Opening 12.2” 16” 10.25”
Bin Capacity 28 gal. 33 gal. 20 gal.
Speed (up to) 33 feet per minute 35 feet per minute 23 feet per minute
Weight 176 lbs. 242 lbs. 176 lbs.

3 - Industrial Shredders 

Formax FD 8906B Industrial Conveyor Shredder and Baler

If you’re interested in a large volume shredding solution, an industrial conveyor shredder is the way to go. These shredders are designed to shred:

  • CDs
  • Tapes
  • Ribbons
  • Entire files
  • Cardboard
  • Magnetic disks
  • Piles of computer forms

In addition to the rugged, industrial strength that high volume Industrial Shredders pack, the Formax FD 8806CC and the Formax FD 8806SC shredders have front waste bin access.

A front cabinet door makes it possible for these shredders to be placed against a wall to maximize space. The Formax FD 8906CC Cross-Cut Industrial Shredder, too, has this feature.

The FD 8806CC and FD 8806SC shredders have a large infeed table with a conveyor belt. Meanwhile, the FD 8906CC can be outfitted with an Output Conveyor Belt System, if you like.

photo-snippet-how-office-shredders-work

This system automates the transfer of material out of the shredder into an external waste bin in a process that:

  • Increases the capacity you can shred
  • Decreases downtime whenever the waste bin is emptied and replaced

If you’d prefer to improve your throughput capacity by minimizing the frequency of unloading your shredder, go for the Formax FD 8906B Industrial Conveyor Shredder and Baler.

While it has similar features as the Formax FD 8906CC, it also has an additional high-capacity Output Baler. Shredded material is continually compacted into a bale, and sensors automatically stop the shredding when the baler is full.

Industrial Shredders all come with a safety key and lock system to ensure only authorized staff operates them.

The table below compares some of the features you’ll find in a selection of Industrial Shredders. 

Formax FD 8806CC Formax FD 8906CC Formax FD 8906B
Shred Size 1/4” x 1.57” 5/16” x 1 1/2” - 3” 5/16” x 1 1/2” - 3”
Feed Opening 16” 21” 21”
Bin Capacity 36 gal. 102 gal. 154 gal. (compressed bale size)
Speed (up to) 43 feet per minute 35 feet per minute 35 feet per minute
Weight 1,008 lbs. 1,984 lbs. 3,495 lbs.

4 - High Security Shredders 

Formax FD 8730HS Office Shredder and Optical Media Cross-Cut

High Security Shredders are those shredders that meet the latest NSA/CSS specifications for the destruction of high-security paperwork.

As explained in the 2022 Evaluated Products List for Paper Shredders, the National Security Agency (NSA) only approves devices that can reduce paper documents to shards that measure 1 millimeter by 5 millimeters, or less.

NSA-approved devices can be used to sanitize Top Secret and Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI) and below. That’s because they meet the stringent security and durability demands of the NSA and the Department of Defense.

Therefore, you can rest assured you’ll be minimizing the risk of information loss by using these shredders, which include:

Whether you’re looking to get a Deskside Shredder or an OnSite Office Shredder, getting one with a high-security classification will put your mind at ease.

If you also need to destroy sensitive optical media like CDs and DVDs, shredders like the Formax FD 8730HS will shred up to 2,000 CDs per hour into 1/16” by 5/32” particles.

The table below compares some of the features you’ll find in a selection of High Security Shredders.

Formax FD 8300HS Formax FD 8500HS Formax FD 8730HS
Shred Size 1/32” x 3/16” 1/32” x 3/16” 1/32” x 3/16”
Feed Opening 9.5” 16” 9 3/8”
Bin Capacity 15 gal. 26 gal. 31 gal.
Speed (up to) 23 feet per minute 35 feet per minute 23 feet per minute
Application Deskside Shredder Office Shredder Office Shredder

Choosing the Right Office Shredder 

Choosing the right office shredder comes down to the number of sheets you’ll be shredding daily, their size, as well as the confidentiality of your data. It’ll also depend on the types of media you need to destroy and your budget.

Whether you’re looking for a Deskside Shredder, an Onsite Office Shredder, or an Industrial Shredder, we’ve got a selection of shredders that’ll suit your needs.

As a supervisor at a D.C. medical organization discovered:

The shred is fabulous and there’s no telling what was on the paper. I tell my staff that whatever’s shredded is gone for good. They'll never be able to put the pieces back together!

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