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Specially secure shredding

The waste and recycling industry has successfully managed the safe destruction of confidential materials for a number of decades. But political, economic, social and technological trends and developments worldwide have meant that, more recently, controlled destruction systems have been sought for an even greater range of items.

There is growing concern surrounding corporate fraud and personal identity theft, for example, meaning an increasing amount of documentation is considered confidential. The threat of terrorism has presented a greater need to shred pilot and police officer uniforms; marijuana must be destroyed when cannabis factories are uncovered; and sadly we have even been asked to shred teddy bears so that they don’t end up in car boot sales.

Shredding machinery must therefore be flexible, reliable and foolproof, so that clients know their materials are in safe hands. But the sophistication of available technologies means we can offer solutions for incredibly varied confidential waste scenarios – slow speed, high torque engineering is ideal for the shredding of adhesive labels for instance which may initially appear  problematic.

Waste management companies often have very specific requirements for the technologies they procure, and confidential waste handlers are no exception. Organisations that hold individuals’ personal data have a legal responsibility to safeguard that information, not only while it is in their possession but when it comes to disposal too.

Sita UK Secure Shredding Services, the specialist division of the recycling and resource management company, has recently installed the latest Untha RS100 shredder at its East London facility.

This robust machine will shred materials that Sita UK collects from a diverse range of private and public organisations. While it will predominantly handle paper documents and files, the RS100 offers Sita UK the opportunity to shred other types of materials too.

Sita UK’s head of secure shredding services Jerome Mingaz explains the procurement process the team went through. “We especially sought a reliable shredder that could produce a small yet consistent particle size,” says Mingaz. “Thankfully the design and functionality of the RS100 met our specification entirely. It also creates great scope for Sita UK going forward due to its ability to handle other confidential waste materials such as USB cards, computer hard drives and even uniforms.”

With a number of screens that can be fitted according to fraction size requirements, every single robust RS100 machine is individually configurable to client-specific scenarios. Once material is drawn into the shredder’s main cutters, it is both pre-shredded and re-shredded in a single pass. Material that does not fall through the screen is transferred to the secondary cutters before it moves back up to be fed into the cutting chamber for re-shredding. An engineer (or the client themselves) simply adjusts the screen according to the desired fraction size. Screens with holes of 25mm diameter, for example, guarantee small confetti-like particles that – especially when combined with the machine’s mixing action – ensure a greater DIN security level and consequently increased confidentiality.

Quality of the end product is without a doubt the prime focus for Sita UK, but the capabilities of Untha’s patented four-shaft technology will achieve many other benefits for the recycling experts too.

Single shaft confidential waste shredders in the marketplace must operate at higher speeds to achieve the throughput volume required, but a faster RPM and a tip speed of one metre per second or more equates to a greater level of vibration, dust and even the risk of fire if metal enters the shredder and creates a spark.

On the other hand, the slower RS100 has a tip speed of only 0.5 metres per second, which significantly reduces the amount of vibration and dust. The slower RPM also means that materials such as paper are shredded without the fibre being destroyed, which is especially important for SITA UK as all materials shredded within their East London facility will be sent for recycling.

Hard-wearing cutting systems and self-cleaning contra shears also heighten the machine’s reliability and reduce the amount of necessary ongoing maintenance, so that SITA UK’s staff can concentrate on the core responsibilities of their role.

Chris Oldfield is managing director of Untha UK

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