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What Is a Portable Compactor?

By Lori Kilchermann
Updated May 17, 2024
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A portable compactor is a machine used to crush and compact waste materials, and is often placed outside, behind a retail store or office building. The portable compactor is designed to operate as a two-piece design, with the smaller section being the actual motorized component and the large receptacle being removed from the motorized component and loaded onto a truck. Consisting of a large, hydraulic pump that powers a large ram, the portable compactor is able to pack a large amount of refuse into the receptacle unit. The motorized components of the portable compactor are electrically-powered.

Once the receptacle is full of compacted boxes, crates and other packaging materials, it is removed from the motorized section by releasing several large, turnbuckle-like devices. The large section is then pulled away from the motorized compactor unit and a door is closed to seal the refuse inside. The large component is hoisted onto a waiting truck and hauled to a dumping site, and an empty unit is left in its place to be reconnected to the portable compactor power unit. Due to the total enclosure of the portable compactor, tarps are not required to seal the unit to prevent rubbish from falling out as it is transferred by truck to the dumping area.

Being a two-piece design, the compactor uses the resistance provided from coupling the compaction unit to the receptacle to gain leverage and supply the required smashing force. In doing so in this manner, the unit does not require mounting to a solid surface in order to work properly. If the two units were not connected together by the turnbuckle-like devices, the ram would simply push the receptacle container away from it as it applied compacting power. Likewise, the power unit might also push itself away from the larger component if not for the fastening of the two components.

Many of the portable compactor units occupy an area in an empty, delivery dock space, which positions the mouth of the compactor to be relatively low as compared to the dock floor. This forces workers to stand over the opening of the compactor as they feed refuse into the machine to be compacted. Safety switches in the form of grab rails are placed into the mouth of many portable compactor units to allow a worker who might accidentally fall in the unit to stop the machine by pushing or pulling a safety bar.

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