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Shred-Tech driven by people power

Formed four decades ago, Canada-based Shred-Tech has maintained a trajectory of constant evolution and innovation in order to keep pace with the changes in materials coming forward for recycling. And the key to the company’s success has been the experience of its sales and engineering teams.

Almost every industry has some legal or government-mandated responsibility when it comes to recycling of waste and destruction of confidential materials. Companies must pay tyre recycling fees, adhere to local laws governing the disposal of electronic equipment or face hefty penalties if they fail to protect data.

‘In a wide range of applications, there is some form of government intervention either driving recycling, safeguarding information or safeguarding the environment,’ says Joe Roberto, vice president of sales and marketing at Shred-Tech. ‘In North America, recycling really got started in a big way in the early 1980s and has just continued to evolve. Very few businesses now are not recycling in one way or another.

The advancements in recycling are never-ending. Our business and technology are constantly evolving to keep up with all the changes in materials that need to be recycled.’

Investing in capabilities

Shred-Tech started out in the late 1970s by producing stationary two-shaft shredders for a wide range of manufacturing plant-based applications. The company then developed one of the world’s first mobile shredding trucks, designed to shred confidential office paper and documents on site. The mobile trucks quickly became popular and have long been the largest revenue-generating segment of Shred-Tech’s business. Although mobile shredding trucks are the company’s primary product, Shred-Tech continues to see growth in its stationary industrial shredding equipment.

It offers a wide array of plant-based shredding and recycling systems, including two-shaft shredders, four-shaft screened shredders, single-rotor screened shredders and granulators, as well as large primary shredders. Since its inception, the company has installed more than 6000 shredding and recycling systems worldwide for customers as diverse as Fortune 500 manufacturers, hospitals and military facilities.

Multiple production facilities

‘On an annual basis, we sell shredders to almost every industry category you can imagine – whether it’s construction and demolition, automotive, metals, paper, wood or plastics,’ Roberto says. In the automotive industry, for example, Shred-Tech machines are used to shred by-products produced by Tier I suppliers, including metals, plastics and materials used inside vehicles.

Additionally, used tyres can be shredded and recycled by third parties to be consumed as fuel in cement kilns. Most of Shred-Tech’s mobile shredding vehicles are manufactured at its headquarters in Cambridge, Ontario, but the company also has production facilities in the USA, the UK, Thailand, Japan and Australia. Its latest manufacturing plant at Raleigh in North Carolina was opened in June 2017. The 20 000-square-foot facility is designed to offload the mobile truck refurbishment work that was being completed at the Cambridge facility.

‘We were doing a lot of refurbishing work at the head office,’ Roberto explains. ‘It just got to the point where there was too much of that work to fit into our new truck assembly line.’

Customised solutions

 Shredding requirements change depending on the application; a company that breaks down dirt at a rare earth metals mining operation requires a vastly different shredder to one that is destroying mountains of paper documents. Shred-Tech works to accommodate all possible shredding applications by offering a range of options on every machine. ‘Almost every order that we receive is customised to a certain extent,’ Roberto says. ‘Very rarely are two systems identical.’ The customisation process begins with sales representatives gathering information on a customer’s requirements, the nature of the material and the volume that needs to be shredded. Even the reason for shredding can influence final equipment design.

The system is configured with the correct knife size, horsepower, number of hooks and feed/ discharge rate for the application. Shred-Tech has a large and highly-skilled engineering team that works very closely with the sales department and the customer to find a solution. In many cases, customers approach Shred-Tech with a problem that many of their competitors have been unable to solve. ‘A lot of our success is directly connected to the tenure of our senior sales and engineering staff, many of whom have been with us for over 20 years,’ Roberto states. When paired with a strong quality control process, that experience results in reliable, long-lasting shredding machines, he insists.

The company’s service department is capable of handling all of the installation work, including connecting all control devices and various components. Spread throughout North America, Shred-Tech’s technicians are fully equipped and qualified to install new systems or repair equipment. They can be dispatched directly to a customer’s location and have access to all of Shred-Tech’s engineering drawings and technical data. Replacement parts can be ordered directly from the company.

Evolving technology

As more companies seek to reduce their carbon footprint and adopt environmentally conscious corporate responsibility policies, demand for shredding machines has intensified. Shred-Tech is constantly investigating new designs and materials to improve the performance of its machines. ‘As waste streams and recycling changes, that eventually changes how we have to build shredders to process that material,’ Roberto points out. Computers and mainframes used to be large, bulky pieces of equipment made of strong materials that were difficult to shred; the miniaturisation of electronic components such as processors has shrunk a desktop computer tower from the size of a file box to a coffee cup.

The metals and plastics in modern computers and electronic devices are easier to break down, but components such as solid-state hard drives are already small and can potentially avoid the knives in traditional shredders, thus posing a different challenge. Ensuring the destruction of confidential data stored on small digital devices requires a shredding machine that can process equipment into even smaller particles than was standard in the past. Shred-Tech is developing those technologies internally, but it also seeks out other companies that complement its product line up.

In August 2016, the company acquired AXO Shredders – a manufacturer of mobile and stationary shredders and recycling systems in the USA, the UK and Thailand. ‘We’re interested in growing through acquisition if the right opportunity arises as demonstrated by acquiring our competitor AXO,’ Roberto says. Shred-Tech is also the exclusive dealer in North America for German-made HAAS primary shredders. The HAAS TYRON Series Shredders feature independently-driven shafts, radio remote control and a hydraulic system that can shred as much as 100 tons per hour, depending on the material. Construction and demolition wastes are a popular application for these HAAS shredders.

The equipment can be configured for stationary, trailer or track-mounted use. Shred-Tech established an exclusive North American strategic partnership with Italian firm Camec at the end of 2018. Camec, which operates an 80 000 sq/ft facility in Cittadella, designs and manufactures recycling systems and material handling solutions. Shred-Tech is now the exclusive distributor for Camec’s GL, GR, GS and GRR-Line of Single Shaft Shredders and the MG-Line of Granulators in the United States as well as Canada.

Driving force

Looking to the future, Roberto believes the true driving force behind Shred-Tech will remain its people. ‘To be a top-notch company and to deliver excellent products and services to your customers starts with having the right culture in our company, having the right people and treating those people well and fairly,’ he explains. ‘And that is what Shred-Tech has done.’

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