SEM High Security Disintegrators – Do They Ever Die?

December 11, 2014 at 9:01 am by SEM

An average car lasts for around 13 years.

Microwave ovens, coffee pots, and many other electrical appliances last in the vicinity of 10 years. In the data destruction industry, high security paper shredders, as well as other destruction shredders, can last for 10 years. But what about an SEM disintegrator?

At SEM, we still don’t know. After over half a century of supplying disintegrators, we still can’t give a good answer to the question. They keep outlasting every application. These machines are the champions of sticking around.

Consider a Reconditioned Unit

In my travels, I have visited many SEM customers with disintegrators that have
been in continuous use for over 25 years. The record that I’ve seen thus far is 28 years. After those 28 years, when that customer finally decided to purchase a new disintegrator, SEM took the old one as a trade-in and that machine was still able to be used.

The disintegrator was refurbished and purchased by another customer as a reconditioned unit at a significant reduced price. The refurbished unit included all NEW “wearable” parts (knives, v-belts, starter, limit switches, belt guards, etc.) as well as a brand new paint job. When it left our facility, it looked and performed like a brand new unit that will last for yet another 25 years.

None of these long lived examples were for machines that were babied. More commonly they were used on a regular basis for central destruction applications. In addition to destroying paper, these machines were used to destroy paper clips, staples, optical disks, plastic based media as well as SSD devices like thumb drives, cell phones, PDAs, etc. These machines will work hard for decades!


When looking at the total cost of ownership (TCO) and the overall value of SEM disintegrators, the exceptionally long life span should be part of the evaluation. If you’re looking for a real deal, consider a refurbished system. There are a few options to destroy large quantities of documents, optical media, and more. But, with 25 to “who knows how many” years of potential service, an SEM disintegrator can easily come out far ahead of any alternative for overall value.