How to Configure & Measure Rack Shelving Components

steel shelving

Warehouse racking and shelving systems are essential to safe and efficient storage, keeping inventory protected, organized, and accessible. To ensure your storage systems are compatible with your inventory items, it’s necessary to understand how to measure and configure them. This allows you to maximize your space, storing products securely and in the quantities you need.

Select Your Storage Solution

If you need to adjust the width, depth, and height of your shelving or racking systems, consider choosing a design that is easy to assemble and reconfigure. Rivet shelving, which uses keyhole-shaped slots in uprights and corresponding rivet connectors on shelves, allows you to adjust the shelving heights in minutes without tools. Roll formed racking systems offer the same flexibility using cold-rolled steel components.

Wire shelving units, such as those offered by Midwest Wholesale Container, have posts with locking grooves that allow you to adjust the shelf heights in increments of 1”. These systems are relatively lightweight and don’t offer the same load capacities as industrial steel shelving; however, they’re ideal for supplemental storage or for storing small non-palletized goods.

Measure Your Inventory

Measure the width, height, and depth of your products. This helps you determine exactly what kind of shelving configuration you need. The overall width of the shelving area is the horizontal space available for storage. Shelving units typically have shelves that are 36”, 42”, and 48” in width.

The depth of the shelving unit is the distance from the rear of the shelf to the front face. Steel shelving units typically have shelf depths of 12”, 18”, and 24”.

If you’re configuring or ordering a pallet racking system, there are several standard pallet sizes, such as 40”×40” and 48”×48”. You’ll need to measure the length of the beams to determine the appropriate width for your palletized merchandise.

Shelving Load Capacity

Weigh your inventory items and ensure the load capacities of your shelving and racking systems are sufficient to support these products. If you don’t know the load capacities, consult the manufacturer or supplier to obtain this information. Always keep information related to load capacities available to workers, preferably attached to the ends of your shelving or racking systems.

The load capacities you need depend on your inventory. If you only need to store lightweight items, a shelf capacity of 500-750 lbs. may be sufficient. However, heavy-duty shelving and racking systems that can support several tons are also available.

Factors Affecting Load Capacities

Several factors affect the capacities of storage systems, including the vertical space between rack beams, the height of the system, what materials the shelving/racking system is constructed using, and the assembly/fabrication method. Welded and bolted systems tend to be stronger and more durable than those assembled using rivet or boltless alternatives.

However, cost also plays a role in the shelving and racking selection process. Roll formed, boltless, and rivet systems are generally less expensive than their welded or bolted structural counterparts.

The capacities of your shelves are based on evenly distributed loads. Unevenly distributed loads place asymmetrical stress on the shelving or racking system’s uprights.

Open or Closed Shelving

Shelving units are available in either open or closed configurations, depending on your needs. An open design allows more light to penetrate the shelves and inventory, improving visibility and worker identification.

A closed system prevents dust from collecting and can prevent products from falling off shelves due to impact. In addition, a closed shelving system can provide increased structural support and strength compared with open systems.

Shelving Height

steel deck mezzanines

The height of your shelving is determined by the height of the products and the quantities you need to store. You should consider the ceiling height and the number of shelves or shelf openings your inventory requires.

A shelf opening is a space between two shelf levels. The height you need depends on the height of your products. You should always consult the manufacturer or supplier’s catalog for specifics, as heights can vary from one supplier to another.

Find the Right Storage System for Your Facility at Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc.

At Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc., we supply a wide variety of storage solutions, from selective racking to wire shelving, to meet your storage and retrieval needs. If you need help determining the exact shelving or racking dimensions and load capacities you need to store your inventory, call us at (800) 589-7225.

We’ll help you measure the length, width, depth, and height of your inventory and advise you on which storage systems can accommodate these loads. We offer diverse products to suit everything from lightweight cardboard cartons and trays to heavy-duty systems for multi-ton pallets.