If you are in the market for new or used Mobile Document Shredding (MDS) equipment, you need to understand your options. In the last decade, the MDS industry has gone through some major advancements. This alone makes it very important to consider all the features and capabilities of today’s MDS equipment.
REACHING CAPACITY. The most common mistake made by consumers when selecting MDS equipment is putting too much emphasis on the rate at which paper can be shredded, better known in the industry as capacity. Although capacity is very important, many manufacturers attempt to equate shredder capacity directly to revenue generation.
This line of argument is in fact misleading and hurtful to your business success. For example, MDS equipment that can shred 6,000 pounds per hour does not generate twice the revenue stream as equipment that can shred 3,000 pounds per hour. Shredding productivity, and hence revenue generation, is offset, or equalized, in light of driving time, the collection process, payload capacity restraints, payload unloading time, etc.
To further add to the capacity dilemma, or the 'More is not necessarily better' argument, equipment operating costs need to be evaluated. Keep in mind, that higher capacity MDS equipment is more costly to operate because of increased wear and tear on the shredder and other system components. Fuel consumption also increases significantly, as does noise and dust generation.
The net effect of all these factors may in fact be different then what you were initially led to believe. As a buyer, be diligent in drilling down past the capacity argument. As an operator, you need capacity, but you should also expect a whole lot more from your MDS equipment.
GENUINELY DESTROYED. Shred size is often a topic of concern and confusion, but it should also be part of the selection process. 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. 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. The third and most accepted type is a 5/8-inch-wide, random- length shred. This type of shred is difficult to reconstruct, but still has good recycling value.
The safety, security and method of introducing the paper into the shredder are also important. Traditionally, paper was feed by hand into the shredding equipment. Today there are other options, such as feeding the shredder with an enclosed, two-wheeled bin from ground level or from within the unit. Today’s methods create a much more secure image because the operator does not see the paper being shredded.
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 a bin failure, thus protecting the operator from injury. An enclosed bin tipper also protects paper from being blown away by the wind.
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 to 96-gallon size range. It is important to review the capabilities of the bin tipper before selecting the equipment.
RELIABILITY. Another 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.
In some cases, the MDS equipment supplier will subcontract the shredder portion to another OEM. A buyer should ask if the future supply of replacement parts and service support will be at risk. The risk of the misapplication of product also becomes a concern. The MDS equipment supplier should also have an engineering staff that can select and apply components best suited for the application.
Serviceability is a key factor when selecting MDS equipment. The old rule of K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid) still applies today. Less moving parts generally mean the less maintenance and repair required.
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.
And last, but certainly not least, your MDS equipment must be reliable and durable. Your equipment generates zero dollars in revenue when 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!'