A comment about the value of Auto Feed Shredders from Harry at Shredder Sales

Recently I was confronted with the task of shredding a large pile of paper, about 30cm high. We were preparing a high-capacity cross-cut office shredder for sale as part of our pre-delivery/QA processes prior to shipping. While preparing this extra-large office shredder which is designed for shredding very large volumes quickly in busy offices with many users, I was given the job of shredding this large stack of paper from our administration department. This was a great opportunity to destroy our own confidential documents while putting this high-capacity shredder through its paces. At first, I really enjoyed feeding many sheets of paper through and feeling the powerful and swift destruction, crunching through thick piles of documents as they quickly passed into this machine which clearly has a huge appetite for paper.

However, after the first half a dozen passes of paper (approximately 200 sheets), I suddenly realised my time was better spent elsewhere. The novelty of using a powerful shredder had suddenly worn off as I refocussed on the many competing priorities I needed to deal with that day. Having used many manual feed shredders of various sizes large and small during my professional career, I can honestly say this prompted me for the first time to really appreciate the value of owning a professional load and go auto-feed paper shredder. FYI some auto feed shredder manufacturers also name these machines Stack n Shred and Walk Away.

To be honest, that day I was astonished how long it took to shred this large pile of paper, even though I was using a very powerful office shredder, the largest single phase INFOSTOP office model available. After reflecting, however, I concluded that now days, office labour resources are often stretched, with workloads often exceeding the available time to complete tasks. These time poor workplaces further adds pressure to staff when deadlines need to be met. In this case, tasks like shredding documents become neglected, which is a risk for any office and the potential to encounter an information security breach, a risk that could have been easily avoided by using an auto feed shredder. No longer is there a girl Friday to perform the office duties which no one else has time to complete which is all the more reason to automate tasks at the office where possible.

With little time to get things done, so does impatience surface and this where I clearly realised the immense value of automating office tasks, in this case with an automatic feeding paper shredder

There is a wide variety of automatic office shredders of various capacities that cross cut & micro cut paper to P-4 and P-5 security levels, depending on the shredder brand and model. Fortunately, here in Australia and New Zealand, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to self-feeding paper shredders. With many sizes on offer ranging from 50-1000 sheet capacities, it’s usually easy to find a well suited auto feeding shredder model. And with high-capacity auto feed paper shredders, nowadays bigger is not necessarily better. Now we have the ability to more than halve shredded waste volumes, effectively saving time emptying with greater efficiency by using smaller sized, quieter machines that also save on office floor space.

With each auto feed shredder brand, these are marketed with great ideas and innovations that set them apart from the rest. It is important not to lose sight of the fact, which is the better brand for your requirements, and taking some time to research what’s best for your needs is a good starting point.

Rexel  Fellowes  INFOSTOP
There are three professional shredder brands that also offer auto feed shredders. All offer a complete range of machines covering from home use and working from home needs to small, medium and large office sizes. These brands include REXEL FELLOWES and INFOSTOP.

For most requirements, auto feed paper shredders are the perfect addition for most offices, however, to avoid disappointment it is important to be aware of automatic feeding paper shredders limitations which include:

Auto feed shredders are unable to reliably auto feed A3 paper, even if folded in half. Single A3 pages folded in half to 2 sheets thickness may auto feed with limited success however the greater the thickness of folded sheets, the greater the chance of the auto feed fouling and jamming the shredder

Paper smaller than A4 such as A5 may not auto feed due to incorrect placement in the auto feed tray, not covering the auto feeder area. This problem will be more likely to happen on auto feed shredders that draw the paper into the cutters from one end. In comparison, auto feed shredders that draw the paper towards the cutters from both ends towards the centre are less likely to cause auto feed problems, however, are not immune to the possibility for even smaller paper sizes.

Paper sizes smaller or larger than A4 can also be shredded via the manual feed entry, this possibly the better option to avoid disappointment auto feeding.

Paper thickness and finish can contribute to the auto feed performance of your shredder. Generally, it is not recommended to shred in excess of 200gsm paper stock (paper weight). Glossy paper can also be a contributing factor that causes slippage of traction due to the smoother shiny surfaces of these documents.

Laminated pages, plastic sheets, folders, magazines, lables and documents bound along the edge, are not designed to be auto feed shredded. Manufactures commonly advise shredding of plastics is not recommended for auto and manual feed shredding.

Staple Position -
When auto feed shredding stapled sets of paper, the auto feed system functions best only when the staple is positioned at the corner of the page.
Staple Depth - A largely unspoken topic is staple depth in the context of jamming auto feed shredders. Documents that are stapled in excess of 25mm from the edge of the page, have the potential to cause jamming when auto feeding. This is because the strength of attachment exceeds the ability for the page to peel away one by one from the stapled pile. Eventually, the entire stapled pile could be drawn into the shredder causing a jam. The rule of thumb is not to staple in excess of 25mm into the page. Staple depth is never normally a problem, however is the first possibility to consider if jamming when auto feeding documents.

Staple Orientation – For some auto feed shredder brands, the orientation of staples is important to know to get the best auto feed shredding result. It is best to refer to your user manual for clarification.

No more than 20 stapled sheets are recommended for auto feeding, as often fasteners of a heavier gauge are used to penetrate through greater thickness, these are not recommended as outlined under “FASTENER SIZE”.

Staples and paper clips need to function as they were designed to keep documents together and organised, however can impact in auto feed shredding if too large. As a guide, recommended fastener sizes include:

  • Staple - No larger than 26mm = 26gauge wire and 6mm shank length
  • Paper Clip - No larger than 31mm x 9mm = Light gauge

Auto feed capacities stated by manufacturers are generally based on the number of flat sheets that have no fasteners that will fit into the auto feed tray. These maximum auto feed capacities stated by manufacturers however do not reflect real world operating conditions, for instance, the auto feed tray capacity may vary due to some factors such as:

  • Paper condition
  • Paper weight (gsm)
  • Fastened sheets (staples/paper clips)

Once documents are stapled together, the staple height either side of the document can add the equivalent of up to 5 sheets thickness. If you are using a 200 sheet auto feed shredder and shredding a pile that also includes 10 x stapled sets, suddenly your auto feed paper tray capacity could be reduced by up to 50 sheets.

For the vast majority of printing requirements, A4 continues to be the paper size of choice. This means for most requirements having an auto feed shredder at the office or at home will for the majority of users be a great time saving choice.

For your own auto feed shredder, your user manual is the best resource to get the best result from your automatic feeding paper shredder. Take advantage shredding with these handy machines and save the time which they are primarily designed to do.