Shredall Ltd., based in Nottingham, U.K., is one of the country’s largest privately owned document storage and destruction firms.
The company was established in 1997 by Lloyd Williams, managing director, and specializes in confidential on-site and off-site shredding; IT, media and productdestruction; and office recycling.
In 2005, Williams expanded into document storage with the launch of sister company SDS, which also offers off-site media backup, deed storage, vault storage and document scanning in state-of-the-art archive facilities across the U.K.
Today, Shredall serves its 5,000 U.K. clients with a staff of 44 employees and realizes annual sales of more than $3.96 million (£2.5 million). The company has three locations: a mobile shredding business in Scotland, a sales office in London and the headquarters facility in Nottingham, which also offers both on-site and off-site shredding and is the site of the company’s records storage, stationary shredding and baling, vaulting and paper recycling operations. Together, Shredall and SDS work to offer a comprehensive suite of services for the confidential management of records and information.
When it comes to paper recycling, the company processes around 4,409 tons (4,000 metric tons) of fiber per annum, or about 367 tons per month, Williams says. Everything, except for cardboard, gets shredded, he adds.
All that shredded paper is baled using the company’s fully automatic, continuously fed single-ram horizontal style baler that Williams purchased about five years ago. It is currently operated for one shift each day.
We recently talked with Williams to find out more about the particulars of baling shredded paper and how companies can choose baling technology that can grow with their organizations.
Recycling Today (RT): How should a paper recycler baling shredded paper choose a baler that allows for growth?
Lloyd Williams (LW): You always buy a machine that’s bigger than you need at the time, and you anticipate where you are going to be two or three years down the line to meet the capacity requirement on it. Most people, when ordering a baler, would request a baler to cope with expected growth, or the doubling of shifts to add capacity. For example, when we purchased our baler, we might have been doing around half the volume that we are doing now. We anticipated that we would grow into the volume capacity that it’s got to offer. Our baler could even cope with double our current output simply by increasing the working day. In some cases all you’ve got to do is add more labor.
RT: Are certain types or models of balers more suitable for baling shredded paper?
LW: No, although the industry norm is to use balers that are vertically fed. We use a fully automatic horizontal style baler for shredded paper that is fed vertically, and we also have a vertical style baler—which could be used for shredded paper—but we are using that for waste reduction of cardboard. Bales produced from a vertical style baler usually must be hand-wired.
RT: Are there any other advantages to using an automatic tie, horizontal style baler?
LW: You may get higher compression force and a more consistent bale weight with the automatic, horizontal style balers.
RT: What style of baler can help exporters maximize the density of their bales?
LW: Most European mills prefer 500 kilogram (0.5 metric ton) or 1,000 kilogram (1 metric ton or 1.1 short tons) bales.
RT: Are there any guidelines with regard to compression force when baling shredded paper?
LW: Our baler is manufactured to cope with different pressures required for, say, paper, as compared to cardboard or aluminum cans. The machine is geared up to alter the different pressures for different materials. It’s not really an issue for us because we are using it for that one standard.
RT: Are most of your bales sold domestically or for export, and does that factor affect the size of the bale you produce?
Shredall and SDS Honored with Awards
In November 2012, sister companies Shredall and SDS honored SDS Director Lucy Shipley, who won the “Outstanding Contribution” award in the 2012 Midlands (U.K.) Family Business Awards. Shipley, who is the daughter of Shredall founder Lloyd Williams, joined the company’s board of directors in 2010 along with her brother, Nik Williams, who is sales director of Shredall.
Shipley has grown SDS, the document storage side of the group, from its infancy to what it is today, reaching a 61 percent increase in sales in the last year. Shipley began her career in sales for Shredall and gained experience in marketing, compliance, operations and accounts before setting up SDS.
Today, SDS has some 60,000 square feet of secure storage space and the next stage of expansion is underway.
“To win ‘Outstanding Contribution’ at the Midlands Family Business Awards is just fantastic,” says Shipley. “I am extremely proud of SDS and to be recognized in this capacity is very rewarding.”
LW: Most of the bales we produce are sold in our home market. We do send some abroad, but it depends on the value of the pound against the euro at the time. The bale size for either doesn’t make a difference; all the bales we produce are the same size.
RT: I understand your previous baler was a semi-automatic model and bales had to be hand-wired. Are those types of machines still appropriate for some paper recycling companies depending on their volume?
LW: Yes, although when you’re hand-wiring, it slows the operation down. Say if we were doing less than 1,000 metric tons a year, you could hand-wire the bales. The breakpoint might be somewhere around a load and a half a month or so.
RT: How do you know if the weight of your bales is at an ideal level?
LW: We do occasionally weigh the bales using a pallet scale. However, we know and expect that our bales weigh approximately 400 kilograms (882 pounds).
The mills generally have a minimum requirement of 22.5 metric tons (24.75 short tons) per load, so we load up to 25 metric tons (27.5 short tons) on average, which normally works out to about 60 bales. Some recycling operations, however, may make larger bales weighing around 1 metric ton (1.1 short tons) or 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds) each.
RT: What other considerations played a role when you selected your current baler?
LW: We selected the system we use because the manufacturer’s yard is located a half-hour away from me; so, if I get a breakdown, one of their engineers can readily travel here and keep me running. We also have our baler on a maintenance contract with the manufacturer, so they come in on a predetermined schedule and keep it up to speed.
RT: In your experience, how often do balers tend to go out of service and what are some of the typical reasons for breakdowns?
LW: Balers don’t break down very often, maybe once or twice a year, and it’s usually not due to a true mechanical problem. In most cases, the outage has to do with the PLC (programmable logic controller) of the machine, so it’s often an electrical fault as opposed to a mechanical breakdown. For example, if the machine is making a short bale, you can call an engineer in and in most cases they will reset the PLC, which would then reconfigure all the settings on the machine, and that often takes care of the issue.
Shredall is online at www.shredall.co.uk.