What Is a Hydraulic Compactor?

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  • Written By: D. Grey
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 02 December 2019
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A hydraulic compactor is a machine designed to compress materials using hydraulic pressure. Hydraulics operate by putting a liquid under great pressure to convey power. There are a number of different kinds of hydraulic compactors, depending on the machine's intended use. An industrial hydraulic compactor might be used to reduce the size of various recyclable materials, to compress the soil at a construction site or other location, or to crush garbage into a more manageable form. Many organizations or businesses that use a hydraulic compactor will require training for operators and require employees and visitors to abide by a strict safety code when near the unit.

In a residential setting, individuals can compact garbage or recycling, usually in order to make more space or to make transfer of the materials easier. Compactors are usually small enough to comfortably fit in a home or garage and are often powered manually or with hydraulics. Using a hydraulic compactor of this type is usually relatively easy with most employing a button or a simple operating interface to initiate compression of garbage or recycling materials, such as aluminum cans or used plastic products.


Different types of compactors are commonly found in operations that generate a large amount of waste materials or recyclables, such as scrap metal in a junk yard. For example, entire automobiles can be compressed with a hydraulic compactor, and depending on the type of compactor, the final form of the scrap will be either flattened out lengthwise, or pressed from multiple directions to create a rectangular prism. Mobile hydraulic compactors may also compress materials that have been scooped up or otherwise collected and are common in landfill management. These mobile compactors are also frequently used at construction sites before a structure has been erected to compress the soil and make it suitable for building on top of.

Industrial settings which make use of a hydraulic compactor generally require that employees who operate it or are in close proximity to it to be well trained in safety practices. Personal injury such as amputation or eye damage is possible. Units can be remotely operated to ensure personnel are well away while the machine is in use. Proper maintenance of a machine of this type is also important for continued operation and safety, and professional repair or replacement of hydraulic compactor parts may be required.


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