Some manufacturers do not differentiate between their high- volume and their industrial shredders. Whitaker Bros., for instance, who sell Destroyit and Intimus equipment, include both the 140-page-feed capacity machines and the truly big-mouthed ones in the same listing. But for the purposes of this article, a shredder must have at least a 200-sheet capacity feed throat.
In either case, the feed throat is no longer a slot but is a gaping maw, rectangular or square, in which you can throw a whole untidy pile of paper at once. The feed mechanism imposes some sort of order on the pile so that it will go through the cutting channel properly, and then feeds the lot in, a few at a time (few in comparison to the total load, that is. 500 sheets make a wad some inches in thickness and it's doubtful that a cutting mechanism to handle such a thickness would work well). The feed width may be up to 24"; six or seven hundred sheets at a time can be thrown in. The output hoppers are as big as needed: up to 200 gallons. These are big, man-sized machines; weighing up to 3,000lbs., they all require 220volt power supplies. All the parts are top-of-the-line, allowing for pretty well continuous operation for days at a time. They may or may not come with a baler. You pay big money for these machines, too: up to $40,000.
All these machines will handle plastic, computer media, VCR tapes and metal; some go so far as to explicitly include 3 1/2" diskettes and 3-ring binders.
Some of the top-end models deserve a quick mention here. The Intimus 16.50S strip cut shredder will do 550 sheets at 50' per minute; the Clary 5000X crosscut does 650 sheets at 50' per minute; the Offis Life 7749 crosscut shredder information indicates a maximum feed capacity of 2,000 sheets, as does the Destroyit 5009. But the champion for size and general awesomeness at the moment is the Kobra Cyclone (crosscut). This brute, which looks like an iceberg, is over 7' tall by 32" x 85" (but weighs only half a ton); it has a variable, selectable output particle size, to conform with any security specification; it claims to employ the very last word in shredder technology - it has a high-volume turbine which causes the airflow to rotate through the five sets of high-speed rotating cutting blades, causing the paper to be held firmly against the blades for maximum efficiency. All the supplies and accessories come in the same scale!