Regardless of whether you’re a warehouse manager, a machine shop foreman, or a homeowner, metal shelving is a highly versatile storage solution. Depending on your intended application, you may require professional installation. However, this isn’t always necessary, and you can customize metal shelving to suit your specific storage requirements.
There are a variety of different types of metal shelving. These designs vary in strength, durability, ease of assembly, and more. Thanks to their versatility, however, you can customize them, ensuring that you have the storage solution that you need.
Aside from storage, shelving systems help keep your home or business organized. Leaving inventory on the floor can cause accidents or risk products becoming damaged. A high-quality shelving system reduces clutter, increases organization, and protects inventory. It also increases your available space, substituting verticality where possible.
Shelving or Racking?
There’s an important difference between shelving and racking. While some may use them interchangeably, these storage systems are different. Storage racking systems offer increased weight capacity, depth, height, and density for a large warehouse or distribution facility. A racking system interfaces with material-handling equipment, such as forklifts and automated retrieval systems.
Shelving, however, has to be accessible to human order pickers. As a result, shelving tends to be smaller, the compartments between uprights are not as deep, and the weight limits tend to be lower. This makes them ideal for offices, retail establishments, restaurants, and homes.
If you’re in the market for a metal shelving unit, you may want to determine the most appropriate material. Steel is one of the most popular shelving materials because it’s strong and durable. If you need a shelving system to handle heavy-duty loads, steel is one of the best options available. Stainless steel is excellent as a long-term investment, especially if you need hygienic surfaces that are easy to clean, such as food storage.
Aluminum is comparatively lightweight and easy to move. If you need to install shelving units in a truck or van, the reduced weight will also increase your gas mileage. However, aluminum doesn’t offer the same degree of strength as steel.
If you only need to store lightweight inventory, or you need to be able to easily move the shelving unit, aluminum has the advantage.
One of the ways that you can customize a metal shelving system is by choosing the metal finish. Whether you’re buying metal shelving for your home, office, or retail business, you want it to look stylish.
Alloy steel shelving is available with various coatings and platings designed to increase corrosion resistance and improve cosmetic appeal. The strictly utilitarian and cost-effective side of the scale is galvanized (i.e., zinc) and oven-cured enamel coatings. These can provide a matte grey or black color.
If you’d prefer to have a clean, modern, and high-sheen shelving unit, consider stainless steel and chrome. Stainless-steel shelving has a classic style that has widespread appeal. If you’d prefer a combination of a shiny finish, rust prevention, and a hard surface, consider chrome plating. While it’s more expensive than some, it’s also one of the most attractive options available.
Powder coating is another decorative and rust-preventative finish that you can consider. Applied electrostatically to steel and aluminum, powder coating is more durable than liquid paint. You can choose from a wider variety of colors with powder coating, matching your shelving to your wallpaper or paint scheme.
Closed or Open?
Metal shelving, regardless of the type of material, may be either open or closed. An open shelving system increases access and product visibility, letting you see and retrieve what you need. Closed shelving is typically only accessible from the front, encloses stored items, further protecting them from falling. Closed shelving may also be sturdier due to the presence of a rear panel. However, closed shelving also stifles air circulation and adds weight.
How to Customize Metal Shelving?
The versatility of metal shelving extends to a wide variety of commercial, industrial, and home-based applications. One of the most useful types of shelving for kitchens and closets is wire shelving.
Installing wire shelving is a low-cost, low-maintenance, and versatile option for the bathroom, kitchen, and closets.
Customization options include a wide variety of accessories to enhance the function of the shelving unit. Casters are a type of wheel that you attach to the underside of a shelving unit to increase its mobility. Regardless of the shelving you use, casters allow you to move the shelving unit, fully loaded, from one location to another. Ensure the casters are lockable to prevent the shelving unit from shifting during use.
Aside from casters, the types of shelving accessories you need depend on specific applications. Modular drawers add extra storage space, especially for small items. In addition to separating and organizing small items, drawers also protect them.
Adding bins to a shelving unit can help you store pins, nails, screws, and other small parts that you need to retain access to. These are typically made from plastic, are easy to clean, and can last for years. They’re also waterproof.
Risers and dividers add another layer of separation for inventory items.
Regardless of the type of wall-mounted shelving you want to install, you’ll first have to locate suitable anchor points to which you can attach the shelving unit. This means finding wall studs. If you anchor a shelving unit improperly, it may not support the same amount of weight.
At Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc., we strive to offer a wide variety of shelving systems and accessories to suit every application. These range from closet shelves to industrial shelving and everything in between. Call us at (800) 589-7225, and we’ll help you choose the perfect shelving system for your needs.