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.

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 available in 2nd Hand.

Light grey coloured six bay Compactor Shelving unit

2. Overview

Space Rescue offer a quality selection of  Compactor Mobile Shelving systems … in new or used  for sale with either handle or wheel drive … to fit into any space. 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 nut and bolt. This provides rigidity to 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. Greater unit depths can be created by using tandem or multiple bay depth configurations.  This is achieved by connecting shelves end to end through a common side panel to achieve a greater unit depth. 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

This is determined by a combination of single sided and double-sided stacks plus an aisle space. In principle, the sum of these lengths is equal to the track length. The depth of the shelves, typically between 300mm and 600mm, determine 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 (or mechanically assisted) drive is ues.

a) Limitation 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.

Sketch of a 6 bay Storage Compactor with 6 storage levels shown in the open bay.

Here is a 6 bay long Mobile Shelving system with Handle Drive. The open bay shown has 6 storage levels or 5 adjustable shelves. We bolt the top and bottom shelves into place.

b) Wheel Drive workings

The mechanically assisted drive takes the form of a drive wheel connected by chain or belt via a pulley to the drive wheels. 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 key pad 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 to 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.

Comparison showing space required with Steel Shelving and a Storage Compactor.

Pictorial Explanation

In detail, the Steel Shelving picture (upper) shows nine (9) x 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) x single sided stacks at each end and eight (8) x 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 is 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 0.5 + 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. 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 without Cover Panels.

b) Pull-Out Filing Shelf

The Pull-out Filing Shelf iis a handy accessory that enables you to rest and review files on it whilst still within the Storage Compactor. They save you from taking files outside of the unit to a desk to rebiew.

7. Summary of the space saving explanation

a) Benefits of this style of shelving

The benefits of this style of shelving is that you are able to fit more shelving in to 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 the 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 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 the 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) Compactus

There is some confusion with the use of the word Compactus. It is actually a brand name. The most common generic terms are Storage Compactor and Mobile Shelving.

b) 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.

c) Mobile Shelving

A Mobile Shelving system is exactly as it’s name suggests. Its shelving is mobile. Similarly, Static Shelving is fixed in place or stationary. Interestingly, the term Compactor is used to describe a Steel Shelving system that has a combination of both mobile and static shelving bays.

d) 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 shelving bays that are mobile that sit in front of a line of shelves that are stationery.

Moving the front mobile bays from side to side is necessary to create a clear space provides 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.

e) Longspan Mobile Shelving system

It is also possible to create Mobile Shelving out of Longspan Shelving by attaching the frames to runners. Unlike traditional Storage Compactors, Longspan Mobile Shelving systems do not require double-sided bays for the internal mobile stacks. These stacks can simply be made wider (ie. 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.

Longspan Mobile Shelving system with Wire Shelves

f) Coolroom Mobile Shelving units

In wet, cool & sterile environments, such as in 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.

3 bay long Coolroom Mobile Shelving 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 the 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 replicated 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 & Popularity

Space Rescue have Storage Compactors for sale in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. From these capital city locations, we are able to supply & install anywhere within New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, 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, Pallet Rack Workbenches, Pallet Racking ?

Return to top of page