How does a paper shredder work?
Prior to the invention of paper shredders, there were mainly two options for destroying sensitive documents: ripping them up by hand or setting them on fire. With the vast amount of information that must be kept private today, shredding documents by hand is impractical, slow, and inefficient.
A paper shredder is an electronic device that shreds paper documents into unreadable particles. The shredder destroys the documents using a rotating set of cutting blades powered by an electric motor. The size of the paper particles depends on the type of paper shredder used.
Types of shredders
Shredder products are classified as strip-cut, cross-cut, or micro-cut, depending on the kind of cut it makes. The smaller the cut the higher the security level of the shredder.
Strip cuts are produced when the shredder slices the paper into thin strips. These shredders use rotating knives to cut the paper into strips as long as the sheet of paper is being shredded. They also generate a large amount of waste because the strips are not compressed.
Cross-cut shredders shred paper into tiny, chopped-up pieces. They have two opposing rotating drums that shred the paper into rectangular, diamond-shaped, or triangular shreds.
With micro-cuts, the paper is reduced to confetti. It’s impossible to recover anything off the document afterward.
How to use a paper shredder?
Strip cutting shredder
The action of several sharp, saw-like, circular wheels determines the effectiveness of strip-cutting. The wheels are arranged in such a way that their notches do not line up from wheel to wheel. The serrations are important because they pull on the paper when the rollers feed the paper.
Without the sharp points, the unit wheels would spin indefinitely with no real grip on the paper. The serrations also aid in the movement of the paper through the shredder. The wheels are positioned within the shredder so that at every step of the way, at least one serration grabs hold of the paper, making sure there is continuous movement.
However, not all strip-cut shredders work in this manner. A different mechanism is used in heavier-duty strip cutters. Instead of serrated wheels to cut the paper, these shredders have toothed blades that move up and down the frame to which the blades are attached.
You can increase the cutting power by adjusting the angle of the blades or increasing the horizontal movement of the frame.
A cross-cut shredder shreds paper side to side from both corners into short, barely readable particles. They have two sets of jagged blades that are set at opposing angles. To cut in opposite directions, opposite sets of blades are used in sequence. As a result, small, snipped bits of paper are produced.
They also have electrical or mechanical timing processes to keep the blades moving at the appropriate speed and tempo. These timers are connected to and controlled by, the motor that drives the rollers. They ensure that all of the machine’s parts function properly together.
These can produce a paper that is even smaller cut up than the output of cross-cut shredders. Their output is as fine as confetti and impossible to put back together. They operate similarly to cross-cut shredders. The only distinction is that they produce smaller pieces, which is very effective when you need to shred highly sensitive documents.
Documents to be destroyed are fed into a shredder through a thin slit the size of a piece of paper, and then the shreds are collected in a container. Most shredders have sensors that can tell when the bin lid is securely fastened to the shredder and when papers are inserted into the bin. When paper comes into contact with the cutting head, the sensor is activated, and the serrations or knives rotate and pull the paper into their jaws
Shredders are designed to work with one or three-phase power. The industrial Kobra 430T shredder for instance works with three-phase power and has motor thermal protection that allows the unit to run for 24 hours. It does not need any cool-down period and so boosts productivity and output.
The ability of a shredder to grab the material and pull it down into the cutters is referred to as grabbing. Grabbing is determined by the size and shape of the cutter’s hook, as well as the weight and texture of the material entering the shredder.
A shredder should only pick up what it can shred at once. Some compressible materials, such as carpeting or paper, are too easily grabbed and can clog the shredder if too much is grabbed at once. In such a case, the hook height on the cutter could be reduced so that the shredder only grabs as much as it is designed for.