Security Shredding and Storage - a shredding industry publication


By P.J. Heller

There’s more than meets the eye when shopping for a mobile shredding truck. Manufacturers tend to agree, as Mike Oden of Alpine Shredders notes with a chuckle, that all mobile shred trucks built in North America are good, they’re all white and they all shred paper extremely well.

But beyond what Oden calls this obvious “sea of sameness” lurks numerous differences, with features designed by manufacturers of mobile shred truck and collection vehicles to meet the wide ranging needs of their customers.

“A customer in Nebraska with a fairly rural route in all likelihood may want a different truck from us than a customer in downtown New York or Chicago, so we have equipment to suit different customer needs,” notes Joe Roberto, vice president of sales and marketing for Shred-Tech.

Much like shopping for a personal vehicle, mobile shred and collection trucks come with a wide array of choices, ranging from costs, the chassis they are built on, size, payloads and throughput to the types of shredding mechanism, such as hammermills, grinders or pierce-and-tear, employed. Also important to potential buyers — especially since the trucks are the lifeblood of any mobile document destruction business — are reliability, safety, ease of use/maintenance and service.

“Many new truck buyers simply look at vehicle pricing assuming all trucks are the same,” note the UltraShred web site. “They are not.”

To help sort through the hype and hyperbole, Security Shredding and Storage News interviewed document destruction companies that utilize mobile shredding and collection trucks from some of the leading manufacturers in North America. Profiles of each of the companies, along with contact information, follow.

A Shred Ahead

From a startup in 2003 in North Carolina, A Shred Ahead has shredded the competition, expanding to eight states from Virginia to Florida.

Started by John Chapman and Tom Hanlon, they have parlayed their company, through organic growth, acquisitions and word of mouth, into what they describe as the largest independent shredding company in the South. “We offer better service,” Chapman says.

“We hire really great employees who take extra service to a new level. We have a lot of repeat customers.”

The North Carolina-headquartered company provides only on-site mobile shredding services for a wide variety of clients, recycling up to 13 million pounds of paper a year. It employs about 50 people.

Just as the company has evolved over the last eight years, so, too, have the Shred-Tech mobile shred trucks it utilizes.

“In the last eight years, we’ve really seen the evolution of how trucks have grown,” Chapman says. “They tend to get better and better. The technology breakthroughs and the engineering breakthroughs are kind of astonishing.

“It’s really amazing how over the last eight years technology has changed not just the way we do business but the type of equipment we do business on,” he says. “Had this technology been around when we started, we might have been able to grow faster.”

The majority of shred trucks used by the company are Shred-Tech MDS-35GTRs, which have a throughput rate of up to 8,000 pounds per hour. Shred-Tech MDS-26GTX vehicles are also utilized. Additional trucks are expected to be purchased this year, Chapman says.

Chapman says the initial purchase of vehicles from Shred-Tech was prompted by recommendations from other people. Among factors that Chapman and Hanlon considered were the longevity of the company, wanting to ensure it be around in the future for parts, service and additional truck purchases.

“One thing that we know is that the Shred-Tech equipment is very solid. It doesn’t seem to fail us,” Chapman says. “These trucks are essentially mobile factories. They just do a great job for us. I don’t see anybody else coming close to the technology and engineering.”(More information about A Shred Ahead is available at

Gateway Products

Customer concerns over privacy issues pushed Gateway Products to expand its paper recycling business into the document destruction industry.

Gateway, which was founded in 1994, made the move into document destruction in 2002. This addition to Gateway's business helped to grow the tonnage serviced from 7,000 to 10,000 tons per month.

Gateway, which serves the Midwest, has plants in both Cleveland (Gateway Products Recycling) and Toledo (Gateway Recycling and Waste Reduction).

Gateway’s Cleveland operation, which employs 45 people, provides in-plant document destruction. Two Shredfast Master Vault trucks are used to transport sensitive documents to the facility, where the material is shredded, then shipped off for pulping.

The Toledo operation, which employs 22 people, utilizes an on-site document destruction truck, also from Shredfast.

Gateway President and Owner, Tom Sustersic, realized an opportunity in the document destruction business and saw a strong synergy with the paper recycling services his company already offered. Once he made the trip to Spokane, Washington to view the Shredfast trucks, he knew he found a good partner for Gateway.

“We looked at all the trucks in the industry and talked to a lot of people who had various trucks,” recalls Tom Sustersic, company president and owner. “We found the Shredfast name continued to come up with people who were satisfied with the vehicles as well as with their reliability and throughput.”

The on-site truck that Gateway purchased over three years ago continues to run strong and handle their workload.

“It was our first on-site machine,” Sustersic says. “We’re still running it and it’s producing like the day we bought it.”

Sustersic says the security provided by the collection trucks is unprecedented. They feature a hard drive system that monitors the loading of all documents, as well as vehicle stops and the voice recording of conversations behind the truck. That information can be downloaded to the company’s computers, providing it with another layer of security.

Gateway’s customers come primarily from the industrial, commercial, legal, healthcare, insurance and financial industries. It also teams up with a local organization about 10 times a year to offer community shredding events.

Sustersic says the company may add another on-site truck to its fleet which will come from Shredfast. “We’re very satisfied with their product,” he says. “We think they’re tops in the industry.”(More information about Gateway can be found at www.

Shred A Way

David Ward can easily tick off the reasons for the success of Shred A Way, the company he started nine years ago.

“What differentiates us from the competition is, number one, the security that we provide,” he says. “Then there’s the service that we offer, the fact that our price is good and we’re local.”

Those factors — especially the security issue — have helped Ward grow his business serving South Carolina, western North Carolina and eastern Georgia. He averages slightly over 400,000 pounds a month in shredded paper, processed through a fleet of seven of them UltraShred Predator G3 mobile shredding trucks.

In addition to its on-site shredding service, Shred A Way offers in-plant shredding, operates a document storage facility, shreds computers and e-waste, scans and images documents and has a recycling program. The company, based in Piedmont, S.C., employs 12 people.

Wanting to offer the ultimate in document destruction prompted Ward to go with the UltraShred vehicles with hammermills that pulverize documents.

“They’re secure, fast and easy to use,” he says. “UltraShred can meet Department of Defense standards.

“We got into the document destruction industry for security, not just for shredding,” he adds.

An added selling point for potential customers is that fact that the trucks have a small window where they can view their pulverized documents.

“Watching it on a computer go through the shred truck is one thing, but seeing the final outcome is another,” Ward says.

Shred A Way customers include banks and financial institutions, hospitals and medical facilities, schools, businesses and residences. The company also participates in several community shredding events in partnership with a local television station. “Anybody and everybody has confidential information,” Ward notes, adding that when it comes to destruction of those documents, security is paramount.

He says the public has numerous choices when it comes to choosing a document destruction company “but the meat and potatoes of it is how your information is destroyed. That’s the key. Do you really know how your information is being destroyed? Are you receiving the most secure destruction that is out there?

“The whole name of the game is if somebody wants something destroyed and shredded, you’ve got to destroy it the most secure way,” Ward says. “That’s the whole reason we chose UltraShred.”(More details about Shred A Way are available on its web site at

ffordable Shred

When existing or potential customers call Affordable Shred, chances are the person who answers the telephone is one of the owners of the company.

That personal touch, coupled with the fact that the Springfield, Ill., business is locally owned and operated, has contributed to its success since it was spun off seven years ago from F&W Resources, the family-owned recycling company.

At the time of the spin-off, Affordable Shred was begun as a plant-based company. After about a year, it transitioned to an on-site mobile shredding operation, which proved more economical and less labor intensive.

Today, the four-person company, including owner Rick Weekly, processes between 80,000 and 200,000 pounds of paper a month.

In addition to on-site shredding, the company offers a “Drop & Watch” location in Springfield. There, a shredding technician assists customers, who can watch the entire shredding process from start to finish.

The company serves customers throughout central Illinois, from Lincoln to Effingham and from Indiana to Missouri. It is also active in community shredding events, participating in some 40 to 50 events a year in partnership with local charities.

Just as Affordable Shred customers like the personal service they receive from the company, Weekly says that same type of service from Alpine Shredders convinced him to purchase their mobile shred trucks.

He recalls conversations with one truck manufacturer who “was trying to tell me what I needed rather than what I wanted.” That prompted him to look elsewhere, with the search eventually ending at Alpine.

“They were down to earth and they took time to meet with me,” he recalls. “Everything was relatively simple on their truck.” Weekly ended up purchasing the Alpine Pro Series 720 STAK. He was particularly sold on its high throughput (6,500 pounds per hour); the first shred truck he purchased from another company was inexpensive and turned out to be too slow.

Earlier this year, he purchased a second truck from Alpine, this one a Pro Series 720 V-MAX that can shred more than 9,000 pounds per hour. Weekly says service from Alpine has been stellar. “I like their personal service,” he says. “They make us feel like we’re important instead of just a number.” (For more information about Affordable Shred, visit their web site at

DataChambers Records Management

Recognizing the growing need to destroy clients’ boxed records that were being stored at its facilities was the impetus for DataChambers Records Management to launch its own document destruction services.

“We had grown our box storage to the point where we had so many boxes coming off our shelves to be destroyed for our clients that it didn’t make any sense for us to continue giving that away for someone else to shred,” recalls, Chris Kelley, chief operations officer of the North Carolina-based company.

Today, the company services a wide base of customers, providing mobile shredding services throughout the state. It has two locations, including its headquarters in Winston-Salem, and also has operations in Greensboro, High Point, Charlotte and Raleigh.

The mobile shredding business is part of DataChambers Records Management, which provides services including paper storage and management, tape vaulting and document imaging to more than 1,000 clients. The technical side of the business, DataChambers, provides customers with business continuity, information management and disaster recovery services. Since offering its mobile shred services, the company typically recycles 180 tons of paper monthly.

The company was started in 1974 as Twin City Warehouses, a public warehouse and distribution company, and branched into records management in 1983. It initially operated a small plant-based shredding operation in the 90s, but eventually shut it down. It got into on-site shredding in 2003 with the purchase of a Vecoplan VST-32 mobile shred truck; it subsequently upgraded to a Vecoplan VST-42e which offered greater throughput. It also operates a smaller non-CDL shred truck.

Kelley says two factors prompted the purchase of the Vecoplan mobile shred truck: the fact that it produced particle size superior to many other shredders and that the company has a service center, if needed, only a few minutes away. Kelley says the both the VST-32 and current VST-42e have been highly reliable. “If I had to go to a third truck, I would have no hesitancy whatsoever to go back to Vecoplan,” he says. (More information about DataChambers can be found at

The following are profiles of some of the leading North American manufacturers of mobile shred and collection trucks.

Alpine Shredders

Founded in 2004, Alpine Shredders has always followed a simple concept: manufacture mobile shred trucks that are extremely simple to maintain.

“We have tried to stay focused on simplicity, reliability and performance,” says Peter Viveen, chief operating officer and a founding partner.

Other than following regular industry lubrication standards, the company’s solid cutter shaft shredders require no maintenance, according to Mike Oden, director of sales and marketing.

“What makes our shredder different is the combination of metallurgy and surface treatment and simplicity,” Oden explains, noting that the shredder system has only six major parts.

That simplicity is responsible for keeping in operation one of the first shred trucks the company shipped in January 2005. That vehicle just had its shredder replaced after some 4,000 hours and processing millions of pounds of paper.

Alpine, based in Kitchener, Ontario, offers a total of six models in its V Series and Pro Series line of shred trucks. The vehicles range in throughput from 4,500 pounds per hour to 9,000 pounds per hour. Payloads range all the way up to 17,500 pounds. Alpine has been building trucks on a variety of truck chassis — including Kenworth, Freightliner, International, Peterbilt, Hino and even a Mitsubishi — since the company was started.

“We have a long history of building on multiple chassis platforms,” Oden says. “We offer all of them because we’re really interested in serving our customers’ needs. Being the only complete manufacturing facility in the industry, we have also provided many custom features on demand. . .”

The company has designed its shred trucks to be easy for owners and operators to maintain.

“We truly believe that an operator of any shred truck should not have to wait days for a service technician to arrive, or should an operator pay mileage fees at any time,” Viveen says. “Our commitment to self service, in concert with local service, means that any operator has service and parts close by. . . usually in their town or city.”

Alpine Shredders, 30 Alpine Court Kitchener, ON, N2E 2M7, Toll free: (866) 246-5634,


Shredfast boasts an entirely new concept in document shredding with its sawtooth shear, designed to produce a small consistent shred size that guarantees a completely shredded end product without incorporating a screen.

In addition to its Master Vault Sawtooth Shear (SF-MVSTS) line of mobile shredding trucks, the company also offers its workhorse SF300-PTS series of pierce-and-tear mobile shredders, which operates at a throughput of about 6,000 pounds per hour. That level is achieved by direct drive and Patented metering feed system.

“We guarantee it will do 4,500 pounds an hour. Out in the field it’s generally going to do 6,000 pounds an hour. To date, we have never had to make an excuse because the PTS throughput is a disappointment, says sales manager Brian Drew. “That’s how serious we are about our throughput.”

According to Shredfast, the sawtooth shear shredders are lighter than pierce-and-tear units resulting in a higher legal payload and will provide a more consistent shred. Throughput is rated at 3,500 pounds per hour and the paper is shredded smaller then the industry average.

Also offered is a line of secure collection equipment with full automation, incorporating options like transmission lockout if all doors are not secured. The collection trucks offer legal payload capacities ranging from 9,000 pounds to more than 20,000 pounds.

Unless specified, all of the vehicles incorporate Shredfast’s patented Mastervault van body, constructed of double-walled interlocking panels.

“This van body is the strongest available to the industry, offering assurance that even in an accident, confidential information is held securely,” Drew says.

Shredfast, founded in 1998, is focused on its customers’ needs, offering to fly a qualified customer to prove how Shredfast equipment outperforms in the document destruction industry.

“Our sales approach is based on education,” Drew says. If that is done correctly, “We trust prospective customers to make the right decision when they are ready”. That’s how much confidence we have in our product line.

“Initially, we developed our customer base because of our higher throughput,” he says. “We’ve retained our customer base with very strong service, parts and low equipment failure — much of the operating system is simple enough, if immediate field repair is crucial 24/7 technical support assistance can talk an operator through it over the telephone.”

Shredfast, 13026 W. McFarlane Road, Airway Heights, WA 99001, Toll-free: (800) 299-8437, Phone: (509) 244-7076,


For nearly four decades, Shred-Tech has custom designed and manufactured engineered reduction systems and shredding machinery for a variety of security, waste reduction and recycling applications. Materials handled range from e-waste, metals, tires, confidential documents and medical waste to plastics, wood and packaged products.

Shred-Tech designed its first mobile document shredding truck in the early 1980s and today, according to company officials, has grown to the largest document shredding truck manufacture in the world. Currently they offer seven different document shredding truck models and two models of mobile collection trucks.

“We have the broadest model offering with a wide array of features and benefits to suit a multitude of customer needs,” says Joe Roberto, vice president of sales and marketing.

The latest addition to its mobile document shredder line is the MDX-1, which the company says “offers ultra-high security, performance and payload.” The vehicle has a 13,000 pound payload and features a dual-mode system that can easily and quickly switch between standard and high-security modes at the touch of a button. When operating in standard mode, the ST-15H shredder achieves up to 6,500 pounds per hour of throughput. Activating the high-security mode produces a small shred size while maintaining a throughput of up to 2,500 pounds per hour.

The MDX-1 does not rely on screens or moving additional shredders in and out of position, which makes the system user friendly, reliable, easy to service and cost-effective, the company says.

Another feature from Shred-Tech is the Plus-1 micro-control system, which provides real-time video of the shredding process. This allows the operator to monitor the entire process and the customer peace of mind while watching the destruction of sensitive information.

Shred-Tech is headquartered in a 67,000-square-foot plant in Cambridge, Ontario. The plant includes in-house engineering and design services which can customize standard shredders to meet specific customer requirements. A fully equipped parts and service center recently opened in Apex, N.C.

Shred-Tech, 295 Pinebush Road, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada N1T 1B2, Toll-Free: (800) 465-3214, Phone: (519) 621-3560,


High-volume throughput and high security — with a screen as small as three-eighths of an inch — are among the hallmarks of UltraShred, a Spokane, Wash.-based company offering both shred and collection trucks for the document destruction industry.

The company, started in 1979, utilizes pulverizing hammermill technology in its Predator G3 shred trucks, which it touts as the most secure destruction method in the industry. Its trucks are the only vehicles that provide “pulverized” output that many new government contracts require, the company says.

“Other forms of shredding, such as strip shredding, cross shredding and pierce-and-tear, have been reassembled,” it notes. “The shredding technology employed by the Predator G3 reduces all manner of paper to the most secure size in the industry, providing customers with maximum security.”

Operators can change the particle size in about 10 minutes with the company’s quick change sizing screens.

An additional security feature is that the shredder unit partially de-inks heat-set inks commonly used in printers, copiers and fax machines.

The company offers two transfer trucks and three Predator G3 shred trucks which vary in payload from 5,000 pounds to more than 19,000 pounds. Throughput on each is up to 7,000 pounds per hours.

“High speed shredding will cut your labor expense and will cut your shredding time fuel expense in half,” says Doug Ferrante, western regional sales manager for UltraShred.

He notes that hammermills do not require sharpening, helping to reduce operating costs. Up to 3.5 million pounds of paper can be processed before the hammers need to be replaced, he says.

UltraShred’s proprietary grabber lift, standard on its trucks, allows any type of bin to be lifted, up to a 98 gallon container.

Shred trucks available on the market today may appear similar, Ferrante says, but buyers should carefully examine features.

“Secure destruction suppliers owe it to their customers to make sure the documents they shred are safely destroyed,” he says.

UltraShred Sales & Service, LLC, 409 N. Thierman Road, Suite A, Spokane Valley, WA 99212, Toll-free: (877) 468-5872, Phone: (509) 244-1894,


Vecoplan brings more than 40 years of shredder manufacturing experience to the design, engineering and manufacture of its mobile shred trucks.

“One word describes Vecoplan mobile shred trucks — versatility,” says sales manager Mike Campbell.

That versatility is reflected in the fact that the single shaft patented grinder can shred everything from documents to e-scrap to bowling balls in what the company calls a “dump and run” fashion.

“The versatility of the vehicles is in their ability to do not just paper, but everything from wood to rubber to mobile phones to apparel,” Campbell says. This technology can do it all.”

Operators can determine the shred size, utilizing inexpensive screens that can be quickly and easily changed. It can produce a particle size as small or smaller than a pierce-and-tear shredder, Campbell notes.

Vecoplan manufactures the VST-32, the VST-42e and is developing a third, non-CDL truck.

The VST-32 shred truck features a single-shaft rotary shredder that cross-shreds in one pass. With its high-torque, auto-reversing (low speed, low noise) Torsion Point cutting rotor and precision integral feed ProcessRam, the shredder provides high shredding efficiency, shock load and impact.

The electric VST-42e is designed for high throughput and dual-use service — on-site mobile or plant-based stationary. The vehicle employs a PTO driven, 180kVA generator to power its shredding system. With the engine running, the vehicle can be used like any other shred truck. If the engine is turned off, the system can run on a plant’s power as a plant-based system, thanks to the company’s QuickLink plug and play docking technology.

The VST-42e also features a touch screen control panel, with five program settings: high-volumes of paper; tapes, pill bottles, credit cards and other plastics; books, file stock and banker’s boxes; uniforms and textiles; and hard drives and other e-scrap.

Vecoplan’s latest development, code named VST-32 “Shorty,” was unveiled at the 2011 National Association for Information Destruction conference. The vehicle will feature a new shredder utilizing two Torsion Point cutting rotors to achieve twice the shredding performance, the company says.

The truck is expected to be available in the fall of this year.

Vecoplan was started in 1969 in Germany as a manufacturer of wood chippers. It entered the recycling market in the early 1980s. The company, with its U.S. headquarters in High Point, N.C., has been operating in North America markets since 1989.

Vecoplan, P.O. Box 7224, High Point, NC 27264, Phone: (336) 861-6070,

Manufacturers of mobile shred and collection trucks, much like the auto industry, offer numerous makes and models to meet the specific needs of document destruction companies. The vehicle manufacturers are constantly on a roll, adding features, improvements and incorporating the latest technologies into their trucks to help fuel the growth of the document destruction industry.

If you would like to receive additional information about one or more of the manufacturers featured in this article, please refer to the reader service card located between pages 10 and 11 of this issue. By completing and faxing this form to us, we can notify the manufacturer(s) that you would like to receive more information about their shred trucks.


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