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What Are the Different Types of Compactor Parts?

By B. Leslie Baird
Updated May 17, 2024
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Compactors range in size from those designed for household use to large, commercial models. Whether large or small, most compactors have similar features. Basic compactor parts include an operating switch and a safety switch, or other mechanism, to prevent accidental start-up. A motor is used to operate the compacting plate or ram. This ram may run off a chain drive, screw drive, or hydraulic press.

Household compactor parts include doors and door latches, switch actuators, drawer handles, and rollers, as well as assorted screws, nuts, and bolts. These smaller devices may use hydraulic power to compact waste, or a drive motor and chain. Household models crush common waste to reduce its volume and therefore the amount of space required for it in a landfill. Drive motors are usually one of the more expensive parts to replace in household compactors.

Doors may also be expensive components to replace, but their replacement is not normally necessary. Most doors, or drawer assemblies, on compactors are designed to withstand heavy usage. Unless these exterior parts have been dented, they should last for the life of the unit. Contact or safety switches on doors or drawers can fail due to heavy use or dirt accumulation. Household units may also have sensors that alert the user if the compactor has been loaded incorrectly.

Differences in household compactor parts will depend on the style of the drive assembly. The motor may run a drive gear with roller bearings and a chain. It may operate a screw drive that turns while moving up and down. The ram may also be controlled by hydraulics. Hydraulics use an oil to create pressure, which, in turn, makes motion.

Landfill compactors are bulldozers with spikes in the wheels. As the bulldozer runs over waste in the landfill, it reduces the amount of space the waste takes up with a chopping and crushing action. Compactors are also used in scrap metal processing facilities. A pancake-style compactor crushes large objects, like cars, into flat pieces with a plate controlled by hydraulics. Another style of industrial compactor compresses both horizontally and vertically, creating a small cube.

Compactor parts can be purchased new or re-built. Re-built parts are normally less expensive and will most likely offer a limited warranty period. When choosing parts to fix a broken compactor, ensure that the correct model number is used to obtain right part for the unit. Keep personal safety in mind and unplug the unit before beginning repairs.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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