Why does one company’s shredder for shredding papers, credit cards, or CDs last a maximum of one year, while another company’s shredder lasts more than 10 years? Is it really just a matter of following the rules of operation? In this article, we will share our years of experience in shredder maintenance and uncover the secrets of extending the life of an expensive device.
A shredder’s long lifespan really does depend on following the rules in the user manual. But unfortunately, users simply do not read the instructions and do not know even the basic rules of using the shredder. And this leads to frequent jams, overloads, and shredder breakdowns.
We have compiled the most effective shredder operation rules, which will significantly increase the device’s service life.
1. Lubricate the cutting blades regularly
Most of the time users forget to lubricate the blades. If this is not done in time, the shredding speed decreases, extraneous noise appears, and the possibility of paper jams increases. Only crosscut shredders need regular lubrication. Shredders with longitudinal cutting into strips may not be lubricated.
Lubricating the cutting blades is simple: apply oil in a wave-like motion to an A4 sheet of paper and shred it in the usual manner. Use the oil recommended by the manufacturer. Manufacturers recommend lubricating the shredder after each emptying of the garbage can, but at least once a month.
2. Do not shred more sheets than stated in the specifications
As practice shows, users do not look at the specifications and try to shred as many documents as they can fit into the shredder’s receiving slot. This is a direct way to jams, overheating, and increased wear and tear on the knives and gears in the drive. In this case, the maximum load of the shredder does not guarantee the maximum performance of the shredder at all, rather, on the contrary, the shredding speed of a large pile of papers will be slower.
Maximum shredding speed and optimal shredding performance are achieved when approximately 70-80% of the maximum shredding capacity is destroyed. If the shredder is designed for 10 sheets, you can shred a large pile of paper faster if you shred 7-8 sheets (70-80% of the maximum) in 1 go. In this case, the shredding speed will be maximum and the load on the blades and drive and motor will be optimal.
3. Shredding stapled documents
The most affordable shredder models are usually designed for shredding paper only. Destroying sheets stapled with paperclips or staples, in this case, may cause the machine to break down.
How do you know without a manual what you can shred in a shredder? Just pay attention to the pictures on the shredder. Usually, there are recommendations there about what you can destroy in the shredder and what you can’t.
And, of course, the total number of stapled sheets should not be more than what is stated in the specifications of the device. Do not shred documents in files, laminated sheets, cardboard, or documents with glued labels or containing an adhesive layer. These materials quickly clog the shredder blades and are not always easy to clean.
4. Shredding plastic cards or CDs
Many office shredders have an option to destroy cards or disks. But this option does not mean that the shredders can shred cards and disks in large quantities. Shredding cards, discs, and paper documents should be alternated for a stable operation. The optimal number of cards and disks should not exceed 5-10% of the volume of paper documents. For example, if the shredder is designed for shredding 500 sheets per day, the number of CDs and cards should not exceed 25-50 pcs, even if a separate cutting unit is provided for them.
If you need to shred cards and disks in considerable volumes, it is better to buy a shredder that is originally designed for shredding plastic. To choose the right shredder, we recommend checking our list of the best shredders.
And perhaps one of the most important points, always purchase your shredder based on the volume of documents to be shredded or the number of employees in your office. The rule of thumb is simple: large document volumes require larger shredders. Even small personal shredders are likely to be able to shred entire archives as well, but the wear and tear on all components of the equipment will be dozens of times higher.