If you’re looking for a way to increase your storage capacity and save space in your warehouse or industrial facility, compact movable shelving is a great solution.

Compact movable shelving systems, also known as mobile shelving or high-density shelving, are a popular storage solution for organizations that need to maximize their storage space. These systems consist of rows of shelves mounted on carriages that move on floor rails. This carriage and rail system allows for more efficient use of floor space by eliminating the need for fixed aisles between shelves.

A compact shelving storage system benefits a wide range of industries. Typical industrial applications for compact shelving include manufacturing facilities, warehouses, distribution centers, and supply rooms.

Read on to learn about the benefits, features, and types of compact movable shelving. To see more industrial storage solutions, view our market page.

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Benefits of Compact Movable Shelving

Increased Storage Capacity

compact movable shelving

Industrial facilities often have a lot of equipment, tools and supplies to store. Compact mobile shelving systems help maximize storage capacity by eliminating stationary access aisles between shelves. Efficient space utilization allows organizations to store more in less space. A high-density mobile shelving system can double your storage capacity in your existing space.

Space Savings

Compact mobile shelving is ideal for facilities with a lack of storage space. A compact, high-density mobile storage system converts stationary aisles into one or more moveable aisles based on your activity level. Converting to a moveable aisle storage system can reduce your storage floor space or increase your storage capacity in the same space. Compact movable shelving helps your company be more space efficient and productive.

Improved Efficiency

Compact shelving systems improve efficiency by allowing you to store all your essential materials at the point of use rather than in a separate storage area. Thanks to the system’s compact footprint, movable storage shelves can be decentralized into small storage systems throughout your facility. Essential supplies such as packaging materials, service parts, product samples, tooling, fixtures, and maintenance equipment can be stored at the point of use for quick access, increasing productivity and saving time.

Ease of Access

heavy duty mobile pallet rack

Compact mobile shelving systems allow workers to access the items they need quickly and easily. Employees can open aisles at the push of a button or by turning an ergonomic handle. Frequently accessed systems can be designed with multiple aisles to allow multiple people to access the same compact shelving unit simultaneously, increasing productivity and efficiency.

Increased Security

Industrial facilities often have valuable equipment and supplies that need security. Mobile shelving units are more secure than traditional shelving because they can be locked together when not in use. Preventing unauthorized access helps ensure that valuable items are protected.

Cost Savings

Compact movable shelving reduces storage costs and provides a quick return on investment. Compact shelving systems reduce energy costs by maximizing your storage capacity in a reduced footprint, which is especially crucial for temperature-controlled storage areas. Compactable shelving for facilities with insufficient space can eliminate the costs of new construction or offsite storage. This efficient storage system can also consolidate your storage into a smaller footprint, creating more space for productive areas to increase revenue.


compact mobile shelving systemsIndustrial facilities often have unique storage needs that require customized solutions. Compact mobile shelving systems are configurable to accommodate a variety of items, including tools, equipment and parts. Additionally, they fit into existing spaces, ensuring that organizations can maximize their storage capacity. Compact shelving systems are modular and can be scaled and adapted as your needs change.

Reduced Environmental Impact

Industrial facilities often have a significant environmental impact. Compact shelving systems help minimize this impact by allowing organizations to store more items in a smaller space. This reduces the need for additional storage facilities, reducing the environmental impact of construction and maintenance.

Features of Compact Movable Shelving

high density compact shelvingCompact shelving systems come with two possible modes of operation. With the mechanical-assist option, a user opens the system manually by turning an ergonomic three-spoke handle. With the powered option, the shelves open automatically at the push of a button. Both types of systems come with unique safety and security features.

Mechanical-Assist Shelving Features

Mechanical-assist compact shelving systems come equipped with safety locks to protect users in the aisles. The manually activated lock prevents the movable storage shelves from rolling while a person is in the aisle. An optional automatic lock is also available.

Another optional safety feature for mechanical-assist movable shelving is the safety sweep, a pressure-activated plate that runs along the base of each carriage. When pressure is applied to the plate, the moving carriage stops immediately. This feature prevents the movable shelves from closing on a person or object in an aisle.

For security, key locks prevent unauthorized access to any or all aisles. The locks will keep the system in a closed-aisle position to protect the items stored within. Additionally, the movable shelving system has built-in anti-tip protection to comply with seismic requirements for guaranteed stability, even in earthquake-prone areas.

Mechanical-assist systems can be designed to upgrade to electric operation, with the ability to add programmable features to accommodate your future needs.

Powered Shelving Features

movable aisle storage systemPowered shelving systems have more sophisticated safety and security features than mechanical-assist units. Standard powered safety features use infrared photoelectric technology to protect people and objects in open aisles.

The standard photo sweep feature consists of an infrared photo beam that runs the length of the carriage just above floor level. When the beam detects an object or person in the aisle, it automatically prevents the aisle from closing. The control panel indicator at the end of the shelving row must be reset before the system resumes operation, ensuring a visual check of the aisle.

In addition to the photo sweep, an aisle entry sensor consisting of an invisible beam transmitted across an open aisle is available. When the beam is broken by a user entering the aisle, the sensor prevents the aisle from closing until the lock control panel at the end of the shelving row is reset. And if a user is detected entering a closing aisle, all carriage movement automatically halts.

The most sophisticated safety option is the Zero Force Sensor, a microprocessor-controlled system that is entirely automatic. This system detects people and objects on the aisle floor with a network of infrared beams. It immediately stops carriage movement if a user enters a closing aisle and automatically resets when the person exits. This light status indicator on the aisle’s control panel blinks red when a person occupies an aisle and turns green when the aisle is clear.

Regarding security features, powered shelving systems have the option of PIN or badge access, with keypad controls restricting access to the system. The system also maintains an audit trail to view everyone who has accessed the storage system.

movable storage shelvesThe powered movable shelving system also includes remote access with a radio frequency remote, which can save time when accessing heavy-duty mobile pallet rack systems. In addition, an automatic battery backup maintains full system functionality during a power outage.

Types of Compact Movable Shelving


While steel shelving is the most common choice for compact movable shelving, the systems can accommodate all types of storage cabinets and wire racks. For example, one drug manufacturing company used nickel-plated, epoxy-coated wire racks on stainless steel carriages to double their freezer storage capacity for housing antibiotics.

Compact shelving is customizable for the optimal organization of all items. For example, you can incorporate modular drawers into shelving units for convenient small parts storage and store bulkier items on lower shelves.

Stainless Steel Shelving

compact bulk racks

Stainless steel compact shelving is ideal for harsh and corrosive environments such as coastal warehouses, oil and gas rigs, shipboard storage, pharmaceutical, food manufacturing and freezer applications. This durable mechanical-assist system improves corrosion resistance in wet environments and stands up to chemicals, including most acids, alkaline solutions and chlorine. It is easy to clean, making it the best option for environments with strict hygiene requirements, such as food handling and cleanroom applications. Stainless steel shelving systems accommodate up to 7,000 pounds per carriage.

Bulk Racks

Hand-loaded bulk racks can incorporate into a high-density compact shelving system to save space while storing large, bulky items. Compact bulk rack systems are operated with a mechanical-assist handle and have a capacity of up to 3,000 pounds per carriage. 

Pallet Racks

Compact pallet racking is an industrial-grade high-density compact shelving system For warehouses and heavy-duty storage applications. These powered systems can hold up to 30,000 pounds per carriage and have aisles large enough for forklifts and other equipment to enter.

Hanging Shelving

compact lateral sliding shelvingHanging compact shelving systems is another industrial storage system in which shelves hang from pallet racks to maximize storage efficiency. The movable shelves are securely attached to an overhead track and levitate just above the floor. Users manually slide the shelves back and forth with the pull handles to access a storage aisle.

This innovative storage system provides additional shelving without occupying additional floor space. It provides employees easy access to specialized tools, equipment and parts for quick repair and maintenance. The pallet rack storage above the system allows you to utilize your facility’s entire vertical space while keeping essential parts easily accessible.

Lateral Sliding Shelving

Sliding shelving is another compact storage option. This mobile storage system configures shelves two, three, or four rows deep that move side to side. Users slide the front shelves aside to access items in the back rows. For more information on lateral sliding shelving, visit our online store.

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See specifications and pricing for open & closed shelving, sliding bin shelving, shelving with drawers, and bulk rack.

Contact Us for Compact Movable Shelving

Southwest Solutions Group® provides design and installation services for Spacesaver compact shelving systems for a wide range of industries. We will also provide a free consultation to determine your needs and specifications before the design begins. To learn more or to speak with a specialist, call us at 1-800-803-1083 or send us a message today.



Industrial Testimonials


“Working with Southwest Solutions including Matt, Susan, and especially Brad was great. They provide amazing customer service. Brad and the install team were especially great. Very professional, easy to work with, and did the work quickly and very well with very little input from us. If we need help with carousel storage moves, parts, or new equipment we will start with Southwest Solutions. ”

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“The team at Southwest Solutions were nothing short of fantastic. First meeting with Craig, I received a customized design, in person, based on my office needs while still maintaining an efficient layout and being cost effective. Craig explained everything clearly, allowing me to understand that as modular mill-work, I would be able to move it if I ever changed offices, but without the added sales pressure to immediately make a decision. Once I had decided, I worked with Chris who assisted in picking out the finishes and scheduling the delivery and installation. The professionalism of Craig and Chris spoke volumes and I would highly recommend anyone looking to transform or fit-out an office to contact Southwest Solutions.”

Etihad Airways
Harvey-Cleary Builders

“I want to let you know that we all really appreciated your team mentality, professionalism and dedication shown on this project. It was a pleasure working with you and your office and we look forward to many more. Please pass along my gratitude to everyone who worked on this project. Thanks! ”

Harvey-Cleary Builders
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“I just want to take a minute to let you know how good of a job your install crew did yesterday. They were quick, fast, courteous and very consensus during the install. They were awesome to say the least. Being in the service business ourselves, we know that you can never hear the words “Good Job” often enough. Please pass this along to your crew.”
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