1. What is a Storage Compactor?

A storage compactor (or mobile shelving unit) is often referred to as a compactor storage system. It provides a very space-efficient and high-density means for filing and storage. Instead of many aisles between rows of shelving, this clever design requires only one aisle space to service all of the mobile shelving bays. In summary, it is just shelving on wheels that runs along tracks. Space Rescue can provide storage compactors for sale in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth, plus regional areas and country towns.

Mobile shelving is essentially a shelving unit that is designed to be moved across the ground on wheels or using runners and a guide track.

We also have storage compactors for sale in second-hand condition.

Light grey coloured six bay Compactor Shelving unit

2. Overview

Space Rescue offers a quality selection of new or used compactor mobile shelving systems for sale with either a handle or wheel drive to fit into any space. It is undoubtedly a fantastic option to increase your filing and storage potential!

3. Storage Compactor: Dimensions and Sizes

Several different heights, bay widths, and shelf depths are available.

a) File Compactor Height

Typically, the height is between 1800mm and 2400mm, with 2175mm being the most common. In saying that, we are able to supply frames at almost any height.

Standard Heights:

  • 1950mm
  • 2250mm
  • 2450mm

It is necessary to fix the top and bottom shelves in place with a nut and bolt. This provides rigidity for the bay. Supporting the intermediate shelves on clips provides the necessary means for shelf adjustment on a slotted side frame.

After the number of shelves per bay has been chosen, the average clear vertical shelf height can be calculated.

b) Compactor Storage Width

The length of the shelf determines the depth of the unit (from the front to the rear), with 900mm and 1200mm being the most common, plus 750mm and 1000mm are also available. Achieving a greater unit depth is possible by connecting shelves end-to-end through a common side panel. For example, a unit depth of 1800mm is made up of 900mm plus 900mm shelves joined end to end.

Standard Shelf Lengths:

  • 750mm
  • 900mm (very common)
  • 1000mm
  • 1200mm (common)

c) Compactor Storage Length

The compactor storage length is determined by combining the single-sided and double-sided stack lengths plus the aisle space. In principle, the sum of these lengths is equal to the track length. The depth of the shelves, typically between 300 and 600mm, determines the width of each stack. An aisle of at least 600mm to 700mm is most common.

Standard Shelf Depths:

  • 300mm
  • 400mm
  • 450mm
  • 600mm

4. Drive Type: Handle or Wheel?

A simple handle is the most common means for moving smaller mobile shelving units of single bay depth. For larger and heavier storage compactors, a wheel-drive (i.e., a mechanically assisted drive) is used.

a) Limitations with Handle Drive

The limitation with long or deep bay configurations is the movement of the resulting weight of the multiple bay stacks. Deeper and heavier units often require some form of mechanical advantage to make them practicable.

A sketch of a six-bay storage compactor with six storage levels shown per bay.

Here is a 6-bay mobile shelving system with a handle drive. The open bay shown has six storage levels, or five adjustable shelves. The top and bottom shelves are bolted into place.

b) Wheel Drive Workings

The ”mechanically assisted drive” consists of a ”drive wheel” (that is turned by hand), a pair of “drive sprockets,” and a “drive chain” (connecting the drive wheel to the drive sprocket). A more expensive alternative to the manual handle and wheel drive systems is the electric drive (or e-drive). The E-drive consists of an electric motor with keypad controls.

c) Conversion from Handle Drive to Wheel Drive

It is relatively easy to convert your ‘handle’-driven compactor to ‘wheel’-drive. We simply need to change the front track that the unit runs on and add the wheel-drive consoles. Alternatively, we can supply this front ‘wheel drive’ track with your ‘handle drive’ unit to make it less expensive to convert at a later date if you choose to do so.

5. Why are storage compactors efficient with space?


The comparison of the two examples below provides a good visual explanation for this question. The first picture shows nine double-sided runs of steel shelving with ten access aisles. The second picture shows a large storage compactor with an equivalent amount of storage and only one access aisle. The removal of nine access aisles frees up a huge amount of space.

A visual comparison shows the space required with steel shelving versus a storage compactor.

Pictorial Explanation

In detail, the steel shelving picture (upper) shows nine (9) double-sided shelving runs, each seven (7) bays long. This equates to 14 bays per double-sided shelving run, or 126 bays in total.

To explain, the storage compactor picture (lower) shows two (2) single-sided stacks at each end and eight (8) double-sided shelving stacks. This also amounts to a total of 126 bays.

The Analysis

Let us assume that the footprint taken up by a double-sided shelving static run (or mobile stack) has the same ‘footprint area’ as the aisle space. Therefore, in the steel shelving picture, there are 9 x shelving ‘footprint areas’ and 10 x aisle ‘footprint areas’. This means there are a total of 19 x ‘footprint areas’ in the steel shelving.

On the other hand, the storage compactor has 9 x shelving ‘footprint areas’ (= 2 x single-sided + 8 x double-sided) and 1 x aisle ‘footprint area’. Thus, there is a total of 10 x ‘footprint areas’ in the storage compactor.

Impressive Result

Comparing the two, we can see that we have gone from 19 x ‘footprint areas’ to 10 x ‘footprint areas’. This represents a saving in space of 47.4%. This is quite dramatic!

6. Accessories for Storage Compactors

a) Cover panels

Cover panels are an aesthetic accessory. They are a panel that is fitted to the outside of the uprights on the aisle side of the storage compactor for sale. The upright has a series of holes within it that run vertically. The holes are used for accepting the shelf support clips. Cover panels provide the option of concealing the perforated upright behind a clean, flat panel. To illustrate this, here are some pictures showing storage compactors for sale without cover panels.

b) Pull-Out Filing Shelf

The pull-out filing shelf is a handy accessory that enables you to rest and review files on it while still within the storage compactor for sale. They save you from taking files outside of the unit to a desk to review.

7. Summary of the space-saving explanation

a) Benefits of this style of shelving

The benefits of this style of shelving are that you are able to fit more shelving into a space than if you were to use a conventional static shelving system. Compactor shelving is a dense storage system that enables you to do more with the space you have. Ideal in most environments where space is at a premium.

b) It’s to do with the aisle space saved.

You may ask, How is it possible to save so much space? With a static shelving system, if you lined up static shelving stacks with an aisle between each, the overall system length would include all of the individual shelving stack depths plus all of the aisle widths between each shelving stack.

c) Here is how you rescue the space.

Now, if the shelving stacks were mobile, you could essentially place each stack directly adjacent to the others, and when you needed to access a particular stack, you would simply create an aisle opening between the two stacks you needed to access. In essence, this saves a number of aisle spaces, as this dense storage system only requires one aisle space.

8. Configuring a Compactor Storage Unit

Firstly, the most common configuration is to have two single bays at either end, with one being static and the other mobile.

In between these bays, you will commonly find a combination of mobile double-sided and mobile single-sided bays. You may choose to have the end single-sided static bay on the left or right-hand side, depending upon the floor layout.

Closing the compactor will expose floor tracks at one end. Hence, the exposed floor tracks will be at the end that has the single-sided end mobile bay.

Generally, it is wise to have the mobile end away from a high-foot traffic area so the tracks do not pose a trip hazard.

9. Explanation of Other Terms

a) RUT Shelving

To explain, traditional compactor shelving is simply RUT shelving (or steel shelving) with runners and tracks. That is why there is an increase in the overall height from a standard RUT shelving frame height as an additional 75mm is gained due to the runner and track.

b) Mobile Shelving

A mobile shelving system is exactly what its name suggests. Its shelving is mobile. Similarly, static shelving is fixed in place or stationary. Interestingly, the term storage compactor is used to describe a steel shelving system that has a combination of both mobile and static shelving bays.

c) Lateral Mobile Shelving Unit

Another style of shelving system exists for very narrow spaces where security is not such an issue. By comparison, open bays of shelving face outwards towards the aisle. It consists of a line of mobile shelving bays that sit in front of a line of stationary shelves.

Moving the front mobile bays from side to side is necessary to create a clear space and provide access to the rear line of static shelving units. Another term given to this style of shelving is lateral storage compactor, or side-to-side compactor.

d) Longspan Mobile Shelving System

It is also possible to create mobile shelving out of long-span shelving by attaching the frames to runners. Unlike traditional storage compactors for sale, long-span mobile shelving systems do not require double-sided bays for the internal mobile stacks. These stacks can simply be made wider (i.e., with deeper shelves) so that the single wide shelf depth is accessed by reaching in up to half the depth on either side. As a result, this provides a significant saving on materials.

A longspan mobile shelving system with wire shelves.

e) Coolroom mobile shelving units

In wet, cool, and sterile environments, such as coolrooms and medical storage rooms, where the floors are often hosed down or cleaned, the standard runner and track system will struggle. Furthermore, the standard steel shelves will not be ideal. In these applications, it is more practical to use a purpose-designed Coolroom mobile shelving unit that is suitable for cold and/or wet conditions.

A three bay long coolroom mobile shelving system fitted with heavy duty plastic washable shelves.

10. Thoughts on Storage Compactor Mobile Shelving

a) Why is compactor shelving still the ultimate in space-saving?

When you have a bookcase, you need one aisle space in front of it to enable you to gain access to it. On the other hand, with a compactor, you can access multiple bookcases with just one aisle, meaning you can fit more bookcases in one area. There is no limit to the number of bookcases if you have a large area, as long as you leave space for just one aisle. The trick behind this is to put these bookcases on wheels so that you can move the aisle to the bookcase you need access to.

b) Why are compactor shelving systems so versatile?

Compactor shelving systems are particularly versatile as they are modular in design. As a result, filling the available footprint is as easy as using different-sized modules. You will be able to fill up an area as the modularity of the compactor design enables it to replicate in both length and depth. There are a number of standard heights, lengths, and widths for each module (or bay) to enable you to maximise the space that you have available.

Compactors may be used for a variety of applications.

11. Availability and Popularity

Space Rescue supplies storage compactors for sale all over Australia to cities, including both regional areas and country towns. From our capital city locations, we are also able to supply and install anywhere within New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, the Northern Territory, Tasmania, and Western Australia. Alternatively, you may also collect from us.

12. Similar Products to Compactor Shelving

Finally, please also refer to the Steel Shelving section for more information on Space Rescue’s shelving range. You may also be interested in our second-hand shelving, used compactus, pallet rack workbenches, cantilever racking, mezzanine floors, and pallet racking.