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Last updated: January 30, 2017

High Density Mobile Shelving Compacts Your Space

high density shelvingHave you ever considered how much space you use just for storage? High density mobile shelving is a novel but simple concept that focuses on condensing your stored materials into less space while improving accessibility, organization, and ergonomics. How does it do all of this? With just the turn of a handle or the push of a button, the aisles compact together when not in use—which can offer you the same amount of storage as traditional shelves in about 50% less space.

The Problem with Static Storage

What’s wrong with the shelves you already have? First of all, you’re probably using a lot more space that would be better suited for other, more important tasks. Consider how much extra space you’re using just because of the aisles between the shelving. In almost every case, there is not someone in every aisle at all times. All of the aisles just aren't needed.high density mobile shelving storing law books

These unnecessary aisles waste valuable real estate, lighting, and HVAC, not to mention time spent walking through a maze of shelving units find and retrieve what you need. Many employees also get frustrated with how much time and effort it takes to find what they need in disorganized cluttered storage rooms. And if your employees are loathe to search for the needed items, they’ll probably take a lot longer to find them. This means wasted time, energy, and resources that would be better utilized in more productive tasks.

Some companies resort to offsite storage, which results in more costs and time to transfer items to and from the facility. In most cases, only 20% of your aisles are being used at any given time. Reducing your storage space by half, as high density shelving can do, will allow more room for revenue-generating activities. In addition, we have helped many companies avoid costly building expansions by doubling their storage in the same space.

How High Density Mobile Shelving Works

high density shelves with drawersSo how would you get rid of these access aisles without sacrificing accessibility?

New or existing shelves are placed on mobile carriages, which are attached to floor tracks. This allows the shelves to compact together, removing all but one or two access aisles depending on your activity level. When you need to access a specific aisle (which are clearly labeled), just turn the handle or push a button to move up to six aisles at once. It’s a fast, easy, and surprisingly simple solution that saves a ton of space with just a few installations. In fact, the shelves can either reduce your storage footprint by half or double your capacity in the same amount of space as traditional storage options. Read


The benefits of high density mobile shelving are numerous and go father beyond what is listed here, but just to give you an idea of what high density can do for you, it can:

  • Reduce your storage floorspace by half or double your storage in the same footprint as static shelves
  • Mobile shelving can be relocated and modified
  • Creates extra space for revenue-driven activities, such as production lines or work stations for employees
  • Allows you to bring items stored offsite back onsite where they are usedhigh density mobile shelving powered
  • Mobile shelving can store anything from microchips to aircraft engines
  • Reduces energy operating costs to cool, heat, light,and maintain your building or lease space
  • Can reduce or eliminate new construction, as well as the costs and down time associated with construction projects
  • Allows you centralize storage in one place to improve the flow of materials and make it easier and faster for employees to retrieve and store goods
  • Helps to reduce pilferage by unauthorized workers
  • Promotes organization of materials, increasing employee morale and productivity
  • Available in a wide selection of colors and finishes to provide an aesthetically pleasing solution. End panels are available in laminate, veneer, steel, metallic, acrylic, and more

Modes of Operation

high density mobile healthcare hospital shelvingThe high density mobile shelving comes in two modes of operation: mechanical-assist (hand-crank) or powered (push button). Both have their own benefits depending on the type of storage you need for your application.

Mechanical-assist or hand crank high density shelving is moved by a three-spoke, ergonomically designed handle. Moving multiple rows of shelving is easy and requires only about one pound of force on the control handle to move six aisles of shelving (even if you’re storing heavy, bulky items). Safety locks on the control handles ensure users are safe while working in an open aisles. Mechanical-assist high density shelving is the most appropriate for applications with a few users and lower activity levels.

Powered high density shelving controls are the easiest to use, and it’s the easiest system to keep stored materials safe and secure—as well as the people using them. The powered shelving push button controls not only offers ease of use, but is specifically designed for the protection of people accessing the system and materials that are being stored. Motion sensors and safety sweeps stop the motion of the carriages when someone or something is in the aisle, preventing injuries and possible damages to materials. Once the safety system senses that the aisle is clear, the shelves can move again. This also means that users aren't required to set a safety feature every time they enter an access aisle—it automatically does it for them. They can also be integrated with automatic features like security, lighting, sprinkler systems, and dust control. The powered shelves are especially ideal for applications with a lot of users or when you’re storing high value items.

What Can High Density Mobile Shelving Store?

You might be surprised at how versatile high density mobile shelving is. Since they come in so many configurations and sizes of shelving, cabinets, and racks, they’re capable of storing almost anything.high density shelf cabinet system on tracks

  • Electronics (cleanrooms, burn-in racks)
  • Freezer & cooler storage
  • Healthcare (medical supplies, pharmacies, surgical supplies, linens storage, HIM, record boxes)
  • Maintenance parts
  • Military & law enforcement weapons and gear
  • Large and bulky industrial pallets that can weigh thousands of pounds
  • Police property and evidence
  • Museum cabinets, archival boxes, historical book, specimens, framed art racks
  • Football helmets, shoulder pads, jerseys, and other athletic equipment
  • Hanging garments such as costumes, uniforms, lab coats, and jerseys
  • File folders, notebook binders, office supplies, and file boxes
  • Library books
  • And much more! The possibilities are virtually endless.

Industrial High Density Mobile Shelving

For more heavy-duty applications, compact pallet racks are basically a larger form of high density mobile shelving and are generally used in large warehouses with a lot of heavy and bulky storage needs. Since they are designed for industrial use, the mobilized racks create aisles that are large enough for forklifts and other equipment to maneuver through safely and easily. Click here to learn more about industrial high density mobile shelving systems.

Costs & Sizes

mechanical assist floating aisle high density shelvingBudget costs for a high density mobile shelving system ranges between $36-$46 per linear storage foot. These figures are guidelines only; actual investment can be affected by model type and accessories. For a more exact cost, call us at 1-800-803-1083 and we will have one of our sales engineers come out and measure you area for free.

Mobile shelving systems are very flexible and can be installed within the following criteria:

  • System width within a 1/8” increment
  • System depth or length dimension within a 6” increment up to 80' long
  • System height dimension within a 1 ½” increment up to 45' high
  • Individual mobile carriages can be constructed to any width; you can also mix and match sizes within the same unit

Floor Loading Considerations

When purchasing a high density mobile shelving system it is always important to consider the impact of compacting weight on the building structure. Some facilities don’t think they can install high density shelves because of the floor load capacity, but this isn’t necessarily true. There are many creative alternatives to distributing the weight load of a high density mobile shelving system. We offer over ten rails to choose from, including several structural rails specifically designed to eliminate the need to reinforce floor structures. If you are not sure whether a high density mobile shelving system can be installed in your building, give us a call and one of our sales engineers can assist you. Click here to learn more about high density floor loading.

ADA Compliant Design Consideration

When designing high density mobile shelving for individuals with disabilities, it is important to consider the turning radius, safety features, and the ease of access to control. Click here for more information on ADA Compliance for high density shelving.

Contact Us for High Density Mobile Shelving

Southwest Solutions Group provides design and installation services for high density mobile shelving to a wide variety of businesses and applications from healthcare to industrial. We will also provide you with a free consultation to determine your exact needs and specifications before the design process begins. To learn more or to speak with a specialist, call us at 1-800-803-1083 or send us a message today.



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