Metal shelving units remain among the most popular storage solutions for every application, from home and garage storage to large warehousing spaces. They are durable, cost-effective, and available in many different configurations.
Learn all about the different types of metal shelving units, their most common uses and applications, and their advantages and disadvantages.
Although the overall dimensions of a metal shelving unit may vary, they usually employ heavy-duty steel construction and a small number of parts. The main difference between a shelving unit and a storage rack is the product size.
Most shelves are intended for hand-loaded products of small to medium size only, whereas storage racks may also accept large, palletized, forklift-loaded products.
Most shelving units consist of support beams and evenly-spaced decks, although they may also possess additional elements depending on the design and intended application.
Decking slots into the support beam using a snap-on system, requiring little to no tools or hardware. Little maintenance is needed; as long as the supports or the decking do not sustain damage from impacts or excessive loads, they will last for decades.
Metal shelving units may be single or double-sided. A single-sided shelving unit is just that, a single unit placed in your working space, intended for standalone storage.
A double-ended shelving unit consists of two units joined together, effectively doubling the width of your decking space at the cost of taking up more space in your warehouse or storage area.
A shelving unit may be open-ended or closed. Closed units possess a back panel and resemble traditional home furniture, allowing personnel to reach stored items only from one end. They are best utilized as wall-mounted storage solutions.
Open-ended shelving allows for retrieving stored goods from either side, increasing versatility but requiring placement inside an aisle, away from a wall, or an obstruction.
The decks of a typical metal shelving unit may employ many different materials, such as wood, particleboard, steel, or wire mesh. Each decking material is suitable for a different application, depending on your industry or sector.
Besides standard metal shelving units, Shelving + Rack Systems Inc. offers an extensive array of specialized metal shelving systems suitable for various applications and needs, from the home or the garage to the office and warehouse, including:
Archival shelving is a specialized metal shelving solution dedicated to storing archives, box files, and other documents. Most archival box shelves are open-ended and single-sided, although many offices and archive facilities also employ double-sided models.
This type of metal shelving is ideal for document organization in offices and facilities with limited storage space. They are highly space-efficient and provide excellent protection against water damage, rodents, and other ground-borne hazards.
Automotive shelving is an essential element in any automotive business, such as an auto repair shop, a car wash, or a car parts and accessories store.
The primary purpose of open-ended automotive shelving systems is storing and displaying tires, rims, toolboxes, and other large parts and elements.
Closed shelving units may be fitted with drawers for storing small parts, ideal for organizing small elements and tools, such as wrenches, bolts, nuts, or washers.
Wide-span shelving units are an ideal middle-ground bulk storage solution for items too small to fit on pallets and storage racks yet too large to fit on standard-sized shelves.
These shelving units are highly durable, employing heavy gauge steel frames, allowing each deck to accept up to 2,000 lbs. of products. Keep in mind that the exact number may vary depending on the deck material and distance between support beams.
Wire shelving units employ steel wire decks and frames in their construction. Open-ended systems resemble standard shelves with wire decks, whereas closed shelves resemble steel cages.
Wire shelving is ideal for food service businesses and applications. The steel employed in these shelving units is designed to resist frequent temperature changes, such as walk-in freezers or cold rooms, and features NSF-certified anti-microbial coatings.
X-Ray shelving units (also known as open-shelf filing systems) are office-style shelving units featuring file dividers. The name comes from their original intended application: X-Ray and medical record storage in a doctor’s practice, a hospital, or another medical institution.
Despite the name, X-Ray shelving has many more applications, particularly in the office and archiving sectors. They are ideal for storing and organizing letters, small packages, and A4-sized documents.
Using Shelving + Rack Systems Inc. metal shelving units for your business brings many advantages.
Metal storage solutions are affordable and cost-effective, allowing you to increase and optimize your storage systems without breaking the bank. As long as your shelving does not sustain wear and tear from exceeding the load capacity or damage from impacts, your shelving units should last you for decades.
Assembling your shelving units on-site is a straightforward process requiring very few tools and no dedicated hardware. Most shelving units feature boltless snap-on systems, allowing you to slot your decks into designated holes in the support beams with ease.
Depending on the products you purchased, you may not even need to assemble your shelving unit at all, such as with all-welded heavy-duty units.
Standard shelving units employ an all-steel construction. The use of steel grants sturdiness and long-lasting durability to each shelving unit, allowing them to maintain their shape and rigidity for many years. If you need additional load capacity than what standard units can provide, you may opt for heavy-duty shelving units featuring heavier gauge steel or extra support bracing.
The modular nature of the snap-on design allows you to install your decking at any desired height. You can also customize your decking with inserts, dividers, drawers, and other elements as needed, further increasing the number of storage possibilities. There are no better solutions for making the best out of your available space.
You may also use additional elements to transform the utility of your shelving further. For example, you can replace your standard footplates with casters and wheels, turning your shelf into a mobile unit.
Metal shelving systems are among the most versatile and cost-effective storage solutions for businesses of all types and all sizes.
Whether you need storage for an office, a medical practice, a food service business, or a warehouse, the right metal shelving units can significantly improve your storage capabilities and optimize your business’ floor space to the fullest.
Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc. is your materials handling and warehousing specialist, in operation since 1979. We offer a wide selection of products and services for all storage applications, from single used equipment to designing and equipping complete turn-key facilities. Contact us at (800) 589-7225 for a quote or any information.