Once upon a time paper shredders were simple mechanical devices- a motor turning cranking a belt or chain to move a pair of rotating shafts with cutters/teeth. The controls consisted of on/off and forward and reverse for the cutters. Modern shredders have far more to them in terms of electronic features and controls, and for good reasons.
Old fashioned shredders suffered many problems as a result of their overly simple design. Heavy feeding and jamming could strain the mechanism enough to damage the drive system components (gears, belts, chains) resulting in expensive repairs. Operators had to learn how many sheets of paper they could feed solely by trial and error. The feed slot was an ever present danger that could accept small fingers, jewelry, clothing, and more. Older style shredders, when not in use, would draw constant power, day after day for the life of the unit.
Flash forward to the shredder of today. The wide open feed slot on quality paper shredders has been replaced with features that block the introduction of fingers, jewelry, and clothing. One example is the Safety Protection System (SPS) featured on nearly every SEM model. The SPS utilizes a safety flap over the feed opening that is electronically interlocked with the shredder. Try to slip something in other than slim sheets of paper and the bar lifts and cuts off the shredder instantly.
Also on its way to obsolescence are shredders that draw ghost power 24 hours a day. A good example of a “new way” is the SEM Energy Savings Model (ESM), a feature that shuts the shredder down when it is not in use for prolonged periods.
The guessing game on how much material to feed a shredder has been eliminated on some shredders. A good example of that is SEM’s Electronic Capacity Control (ECC), which is a direct visual gauge of the load on the shredder motor. Direct feedback on the load allows operators to get full use of a shredder’s capacity with much less risk of jamming. Less jamming means more productivity and less wear and tear on the shredder drive system. Systems like the ECC combined with modern electronic shaft rotation sensors make damage to drive systems less likely than ever.
New technology has made the simple shredder smarter, safer, and a better tool than ever.