What is mobile shelving?

high density mobile storage compact shelvingMobile shelving is storage cabinets or racks mounted to carriages on wheels that slide across a floor track to eliminate fixed aisles that waste space, giving you more filing capacity within the same footprint. Mobile shelving units provide a space-saving storage solution that enables better utilization of office space to obtain twice the storage of documents and files in an existing area. Opening and closing the compactable shelves is easy to do with controls that facilitate aisle movement. Using a push-button or turn handle, you can eliminate wasted space and store more in a footprint half the size to improve efficiency.

The solution is a more optimal choice than traditional alternatives. It can solve paperwork storage problems that plague offices with space shortage concerns. This article discusses various topics to help you understand space-efficient shelving concepts.

  • Principle behind mobile shelving.
  • Advantages of using the mobile shelving.
  • Costs associated with mobile shelving.

How mobile shelving systems works

high density mobile box shelvingMobile shelving systems have rows that move along floor rails until compacted into a smaller-size footprint, giving you more space to store extra paperwork. During non-use, press the rows together until closed while leaving a few aisles open. It helps keep stored contents confidential without sacrificing users’ accessibility. If you need fast aisle access, use the ergonomic handles or push-button controls to move up to six aisles simultaneously. It requires little physical effort, helping save you time whenever you’re busy.

With fewer aisles to maintain, you will avoid wasting valuable floor space and use the full footprint to meet growing production needs. The easy-to-use controls facilitate carriage movement, so you can double capacity or save half the space in an instant. Mobile shelving helps avoid wasting viable storage and can also consolidate paper documents in one convenient location. Everything is more organized and easily accessible,  eliminating employee frustration during retrieval.

To help you further comprehend the novel space-saving concept of mobile shelving, experts provide the following statistics through simple comparisons.

  • Moving shelves that stand seven-tiers high can provide 42 linear filing storage inches in 11.5 square-foot meters.
  • Sliding (Bi-file) shelving with the same tier height can generate 29.6 inches of space in 8.1 square-foot meters.
  • Open shelves that measure as high allows access to 24.7 inches of space in 6.8 square-foot meters.

Advantages of mobile shelving

The advantages of mobile shelving extend far beyond the space-saving benefits you will attain. To help you decide if it fits with your office document needs, we’ll discuss some.

Efficient use of space

  •  If using mobile shelves rather than traditional alternatives, you have the potential to reduce your footprint in half.

It is customizable

  • Companies have the flexibility to customize the solution to fit their specific business needs. Systems can fit shelves deep enough to protect large archive boxes or have pre-configured measurements to accommodate essential files.

Improves organization

  • Mobile shelves help keep documents organized, so employees can easily retrieve stored items and enhance productivity.

Increases security

  •  Available with an electric locking device, remote access, or regular locking mechanisms to help reduce potential theft.


  • Systems can provide more storage in less space while occupying the same area as traditional options promoting more profitable and productive floor use.

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Cost-effective high-density mobile shelving

To help optimize space, reduce costs, and stay within budget, experts can mount existing shelves and cabinets right to the high-density carriages. This is helpful if you are a small, medium, or large corporation with funding constraints. Here are a few reasons why:

  • You’ll save on material construction and equipment costs while reusing what you have on hand and increase its lifespan
  • It allows higher capability to simplify storage accessory integration and configuration while letting you have full design flexibility.

Estimated budget costs range from $36 to $46 per linear storage foot, but the actual investment depends on the model chosen and accessory use. To determine a more exact cost, consult with storage experts. You can talk to a specialist over the phone or fill out an online contact form to request assistance. We will send a sales engineer who can measure your facility space for free.

High-density mobile shelving safety features

High-density mobile shelving can also have features to address workplace safety concerns. Options to pick from can depend on your specific needs and the chosen configuration, but a few include:

Zero-Force Sensor (ZFS)®: Available with all programmable electric systems to prevent carriage movement whenever people or objects occupy the aisles.

Mechanical Sweep: If you are in an aisle and the carriage begins to move, you can stop it by depressing the metal sweep plate with your foot.

Anti-Tip Protection: Devices approved for use in most earthquake-prone zones provide built-in stability to keep carriages upright during seismic conditions.

Aisle Lighting: To ensure user safety and convenience, you can integrate overhead lighting. It can interface with any system to self-activate whenever someone enters an aisle. The benefits of high-density mobile shelving aisle lighting include: Improved energy efficiency while using less electricity, saving money, and providing employees with proper visibility. Offices and more can also have lighting interface with the building’s security system if desired.

Fire Code Compliance: Experts can even design units with extra clearance to fit sprinkler heads and smoke alarms that meet fire and building code regulations.

ADA-compliant mobile shelving

Here are a few things to consider if you want to ensure systems have an ADA-compliant design.

  • Access aisles must measure 32 inches minimum at a point and 36 inches to accommodate continuous clearance so a wheelchair can fit.
  • Wheelchair turning up to 180 degrees requires a clear floor space of 60 inches or a T-shaped space that includes 36-inch wide aisles.
  • Floor surfaces such as ramps and more must have a stable, firm, and slip-resistant design. Rails should remain flush with the system floor surface to ensure no hazards exist to anyone walking or operating wheelchairs in the aisles.
  • Use ramps anywhere with a change in levels higher than 1/2 an inch.
  • Opening force must not exceed five pounds to ensure wheelchair users find operating it more natural.
  • Control height must fall 15 to 48 inches from the floor to accommodate disabled users’ unobstructed reach ranges.
  • Signage should include operating instructions and a list of stored contents. Furthermore, everyone should participate in an orientation on its use and safety features. To simplify access, experts also recommend that you position signs adjacent to the controls.

Mobile shelving storage types

Mobile shelving selections available to meet your office document filing needs include:

  • Standard high-density options that can have manual, mechanical-assist, or electronic controls to simplify use. The welded steel carriage constructed units can accommodate safety features to ensure safe, reliable operation.
  • Low-profile alternatives provide cost-effective, compact storage flexible enough to relocate if your business expands or moves.
  • Lateral systems which have front shelves that you can move side-to-side to fit more items in the same space and maximize the available capacity.
  • Suspended shelves that compact while hanging from an overhead trolley system. This is affordable, easy-to-assemble, and will not disturb existing floors or walls.

High-density low-profile mobile shelving

high density lateral mobile shelvingUse these high-density low-profile mobile shelving to store everything from office side-tab file folders, end tab pockets, three-ring notebook binders, and more. They have front shelves that slide side-to-side to create an access aisle wide enough to allow you safe passage to the rear static rack. Move the units back into position to eliminate it and save space. It is instant and can ensure full filing capacity as you maximize the storage footprint.

You can pick from standard designs or have experts tailor the more modern stack filing shelves to fit specific requirements. Standard options include fixed dividers that separate space to maximize use while improving file organization. All have a modular design, so you can add extra storage modules to accommodate increases in paperwork. Furthermore, the fixed thin profile shelves reduce the overall height to allow users easier file folder access. Additionally, most models have two-inches leveling bases that enable safe use on uneven surfaces.

Sliding letter file shelves

sliding office letter file shelvesOrganize letter-size documents with these double-deep four-post sliding mobile file shelves. They are easy to assemble and maximize office paperwork storage while moving back and forth on tracks. Therefore, you have more capacity to use and can store everything in the smallest floor space. Some other benefits that can result from system use include:

  • Improved organization
  • Increased convenience
  • Enhanced appearance

Furthermore, you have the option to add security doors to keep contents safe from theft and tampering. Units also have adjustable shelves that allow flexible placement to give you full access to the available space. They can also have optional adjustable dividers to help prevent damage. Furthermore, systems are also a viable option if you have office archive boxes to store and organize.

High-density suspended compact mobile shelves

high density suspended mobile shelvingAlternative high-density suspended compact shelves save space, improve organization, and enhance efficiency while maximizing storage density. Slide the overhead trolley mounted shelving open to access stored documents. Then, repeat the action to close aisles and consolidate them into a smaller footprint. As a result, you have more efficient space to store and organize office paperwork all in one convenient location. Systems also hang off the floor, providing ample space underneath to sweep up dust.

Unlike other systems with a similar space-saving design, these have easy-to-use pull handles to facilitate ergonomic access aisle movement. It allows you to widen or narrow aisles in an instant to save space or ensure safe passage. Employees avoid injury while entering the area to retrieve stored materials while facilities maximize footprint efficiency. It’s configurable, too, so you can add onto, relocate, or customize units with accessories. A few available options include:

  • Backstops designed to assist with dividers and prevent items from falling.
  • Wire dividers that ensure office personnel has open-shelf access to file folders.
  • File dividers that easily slide into backstops to organize materials on the shelves.
  • Adhesive label holders to help you keep everything organized.

High-density mobile file storage cabinets

high density mobile file storage cabinetsReduce your storage footprint while increasing capacity and maximizing floor space with these sliding binder cabinets. They are perfect for storing office files and more that you want to keep safe and organized. The high-density sideways sliding systems have a modular design that allows easy expansion and relocation if needed. Its front units move back and forth while mounted on tracks to eliminate wasted aisle space. It enables you to have more active storage capacity without sacrificing item access.

The mobile file storage cabinets’ flip-top doors retract when open to save space and ensure users have easy item access. Each door features handles and rubber pads to ensure quiet operation. The components also include gang locks to secure stored contents. Furthermore, the storage compartments contain adjustable dividers that you can adapt to optimize space. Stored contents avoid damage while presenting a more professional and organized look. Therefore, users have an easier time finding and retrieving materials.

Contact us for mobile shelving

Now you have a good idea about what mobile shelving units are, how it works, and more. Southwest Solutions Group® provides design and installation services for mobile shelving. Free consultations are available to determine you and your business’s exact needs before the design process begins. To learn more or to speak with a storage specialist, call us at 1-800-803-1083 or send us a message today.


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