ASME-Landmark:Newell Shredder


The shredder machine designed by Alton S. Newell in 1969 efficiently reduced automobile bodies into scrap metal for recycling. An automobile's body was fed into the shredder at a controlled rate, and rotating hammers, driven by a 500-hp motor, shredded it into small pieces that were easily shipped. The process took about 10 minutes a car and used less energy than other shredding and crushing machines.

A one-time junkyard manager, Newell learned how to scrap cars by hand (10 hours a car). By the late 1950s, he was operating scrap processing plants across the southeast United States. Seeing an opportunity for shredded tin cans for sale to copper mines for use in chemical processes, Newell began to design a shredding machine. His machine was a success, and eventually, the quality of the shredded material was such that steel mills became interested in using the material in the steel-making process. As soon as a market for heavier shredded material was recognized, Newell—with his experience scrapping cars—decided to build a shredder that would be able to handle a complete automobile.

The system that he developed by 1965 avoided pollution caused by previous methods that burned nonmetallic parts to remove them from processing. It allowed the system to reject unshreadable scrap, had a smaller affordable motor, and discharged scrap in a way that eliminated the need for large, expensive foundations. His patent was granted in 1969. The second Newell shredder, called a 36104 top-discharge shredder. The company's modern incarnation is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. See ASME website for more information