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Fit for duty: document destruction firms face choices including truck and shred sizes.

Many paper recyclers who enter the document destruction business are familiar with aspects of plant layout and matching production equipment (balers and screens) to anticipated volume.

But the information destruction industry also brings new considerations, such as choosing the right mobile shredding truck for on-site customers and shredding equipment that provides optimal particle size.

Among the things they learn are that trucks equipped with a high-production shredder will offer fewer advantages if they don't also have considerable storage capacity. And in terms of shred size, a smaller particle can be a security selling point and a paper value stumbling block at the same time.

TRUCKING. Paper recyclers entering the secure shredding sector may have some familiarity with selecting equipment for on-site customer use if they have ever placed balers in warehouses or store rooms.

But buying a truck that is also outfitted with a critical piece of production equipment will probably prompt new and unique considerations.

Mark McKenna of Shred-Tech, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, has helped that company develop a sales and marketing program specifically targeting new and prospective customers considering entering the secure shredding business.

McKenna, who works from an office in Durham, N.C., says among the first questions those new to the secure destruction industry should ask is whether to buy a new or used truck and whether they are buying "enough" truck to service anticipated future business.

"The benefits of a new truck are higher throughput and the reliability of the chassis," McKenna says. "Shredding equipment is fairly reliable whether it is used or new, but warranty coverage [on the truck] eliminates a lot of your maintenance costs over the first couple of years."

Used equipment offers a lower barrier to entry, but if buyers can afford an upgraded truck, it can pay off in several ways, McKenna contends. "We have tracked it, and it is astounding how high the resale value of our residual trucks is," he says, adding that the trucks are "selling at 75 or 80 percent of their value after three years."

The industry and its suppliers have generally found that a truck is limited in its trailer size and capacity because a semi-sized truck and trailer combination is too cumbersome and fuel-inefficient for most routes, and qualified drivers become even harder to find.

What makers and buyers are finding is that even though shredder outputs have increased, a high-powered shredder loses its efficiency if the driver is always heading to the recycling plant to empty the storage compartment.

"Operators want to have both a capacity and a throughput edge," says McKenna.

In a feature in Secure Destruction Business magazine (www.SDBmagazine.com) earlier this year, Evelyn Jefferson of Allegheny Paper Shredders Corp., Delmont., Pa., says, "The industry standard is to get as much payload as you can."

A new, larger model offered by one manufacturer lists a payload capacity of 10,000 pounds if mounted on a single axle and 19,000 pounds if mounted on a tandem-axle chassis.

While wrestling with truck size on one front, mobile shredding truck buyers also have to determine the shred size they wish to produce once their truck is on the road.

BITS AND PIECES. When secure destruction companies shop for document shredders, security may be prompting them to consider the smallest possible particle size, but productivity and recycling markets can be reasons to consider the other options.

According to equipment manufacturers, the considerations of customers and of the National Association for Information Destruction (NMD) play a role in what customers request. "A lot of our customers consider what the NAID specifications are to meet AAA certification," remarks Chris Hawn, director of business sevelopment for waste systems at Vecoplan LLC, High Point, N.C.

Hawn says that other customers, particularly those with recycling roots who can be more aware of the value that paper mills place on better fiber quality, may gear their units toward producing larger shreds.

On the other end of the spectrum, customers who serve clients that have to meet Department of Defense (DOD) specifications of 3/32nd of an inch shreds must use screens that will meet this tight specification.

Mike Spiger, CEO of Ultrashred, Spokane, Wash., says his company's mobile shredding trucks contain hammermill-style shredders usually outfitted with 2-inch screens. "Because of the way our feed system works, there is nothing that is not shredded by the hammers before it goes through the screen," says Spiger. "The hammers continue to pulverize the paper until it will fall through that screen, and once it does, it is not possible for that document to be reconstructed," he says.

An option Vecoplan keeps open to buyers is the availability of screens in many sizes to suit different customers. "Our machines are flexible," says Hawn. "If they want to go small, they can do that, but then if they want to go larger they can change the screen."

Spiger says hammermills will operate faster, perhaps chewing through 5,000 pounds per hour on a setting where a grinder can only handle 1,500 pounds. He notes, though, that the Ultrashred hammermill is designed for paper rather than a variety of products. "It's a paper destruction product that isn't necessarily designed to handle X-rays or other items."

ATTRACTING ATTENTION

Mobile shredding trucks are the workhorses for many startup secure shredding companies, most of which are probably working with thin marketing budgets.

One technique companies might be able to use is taking maximum advantage of the "moving billboard" space on the sides of their shredding trucks.

When Bob Leventhal and Don Adriaansen started Titan Mobile Shredding in Doylestown, Pa., last year, they did not hesitate to put their marketing dollars into truck signage. "We felt that that was the top thing we could do," says Leventhal. "Once the truck is rolling, everywhere we go we want people to notice it," he remarks.

Leventhal says he and Adriaansen wanted their trucks to produce both direct results (phone calls) as well as build the kind of brand identity that yields subtle, long-term results. "For us, we're trying to develop brand recognition," he notes.

The author is editor of Recycling Today and can be contacted via e-mail at btaylor@gie.net.
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Title Annotation:SHREDDING EQUIPMENT FOCUS
Comment:Fit for duty: document destruction firms face choices including truck and shred sizes.(SHREDDING EQUIPMENT FOCUS)
Author:Taylor, Brian
Publication:Recycling Today
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2006
Words:1032
Previous Article:Second time around: with enough know-how, a shredding plant can be re-built to last.
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