Shredder Maintenance – Keeping a Shredder Operating at Peak Performance

Aleratec DVD CD Shredder Plus DS18Paper shredders do a good job of cutting paper into strips or, in the case of cross cut shredders, cutting those strips into small square or rectangular pieces.  This process produces a considerable amount of paper dust.   The tiny microparticles of paper pulp can build up inside a shredder and, eventually, have the potential for clogging the cutting blades and, in extreme cases, making the shredder inoperable.

It’s therefore important to perform regular maintenance in order to assure continuous peak performance of the shredder and to prevent premature failure.  (One of the performance factors that usually goes unmentioned is the importance of getting the right shredder for the job at hand.  A low end shredder isn’t designed to do continuous shredding for long periods of time.  Too much continuous use could, conceivably, cause the motor to overheat.  For organizations that plan to do a considerable amount of shredding, investing in shredders with stronger motors, designed for high shred volumes, is another good preventive against shredder failure).

In general, there are a few steps required to adequately maintain your shredder.  The first step is to review the owner’s manual that comes with the shredder.  It will have useful information such as diagrams for access to the cutting mechanism in order to clear jams or remove dust.

It’s important to keep the bin that collects the shredded paper from getting too full.  If the shredded paper contacts the cutters, they can get clogged and the performance of the shredder will be impaired.

In some cases, it may be impossible to get access to the cutters.  If so, a blast of air from a can of compressed air can help to dislodge paper dust that may be jammed in the cutting mechanism.  This dust can get everywhere, so be sure to do the spraying in an area where flying dust won’t become a problem.

It is also very important to regularly lubricate the shredder with ‘shredder oil.’  This oil is applied to the “teeth” of the shredder, in the paper feed area.  Then, sheets of paper are fed through the shredder, in an attempt to absorb the extra oil.

Aleratec Shredder Lubricant Sheets
Aleratec is now offering a way to lubricate shredders without the mess and hassle of sprayed or dripped oils – the Aleratec Shredder Lubricant Sheets – Part 240165.   These sheets are specially designed to simplify the maintenance of paper shredders in an eco-friendly manner.  The 8 ½” x 6” sheets are made of sugar cane pulp, recycled paper, and a vegetable oil lubricant and are designed to apply the right amount of lubricant to the shredder’s cutters every time they are used.

The Lubricant Sheets are fed into the shredder once a month, exactly as you would shred any sheet of paper.  As they pass through the shredder, they are cut, and the lubricant is deposited onto the cutting blades of the shredder.  As a result, the blade friction is reduced, and the performance of the shredder is optimized.  Plus, the mess and trouble related to manually applying oil to the shredder, and the required shredding of sheets of paper to absorb the extra oil, are eliminated.

Mark Brownstein is a technology journalist and technology consultant who specializes in explaining and interpreting new technologies, and clarifying how to integrate these new products into current systems. He has been Editor-In-Chief at computer technology and networking publications, has held significant editorial positions at major technology magazines, and is a frequent contributor to various technology magazines. He has written seven books. He is Microsoft Certified, and spends much of his time testing hardware and software products, running his own networks, and learning the best ways to get computer systems running and to keep them running.

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