Commercial shelving and racking are essential for any warehouse operation that needs to store materials or products. Depending on the type of rack or shelf, these products provide a variety of benefits. Primarily, commercial shelving and racking allow warehouse operations to optimize their use of both vertical and horizontal space. They also protect the product and make inventory management and retrieval much simpler. Specialized racking and shelving can also make the warehouse more easily traversed, keep stock clean, or enhance workflow.
Types of Commercial Shelving and Racks and Their Benefits
There are a wide variety of commercial shelving and rack products available, with each designed to be optimal for a certain type of operation. Some of the most common types of commercial shelving and racking include:
Industrial shelving is a type of commercial shelving that is typically used for lighter, hand-picked products. They are usually made to be durable and withstand the intense demands of a warehouse operation. By using this type of shelving, warehouses can make more efficient use of their vertical space and enhance their warehouse level of organization.
Rivet Rack Shelving
Rivet rack shelving is somewhat similar to industrial shelving, but is designed to be highly adjustable in order to suit the types of products that will be stored. The shelves’ height can be adjusted by moving them up or down the rivets on the rack frame, and the rack frame can often be adjusted to increase horizontal space as well. Rivet rack shelving is primarily used for light-to-medium sized inventory, and it can utilize galvanized steel, wire, or particle board shelves.\
Longspan shelving is a type of commercial shelving that is intended to span large horizontal lengths, as the name indicates. Typically, these shelves are made from steel and are used to hold heavy or bulky inventory. The shelving can often be easily adjusted, both vertically and horizontally.
Wire shelving is a type of commercial shelving that is used to store a variety of products. Since the shelf is made from strong, load-bearing wire, it can handle relatively large loads. The shelving’s wire construction allows for several unique benefits, including improved airflow, light exposure, resistance to mold and rust, and fire prevention. These benefits make this type of shelving popular for operations that store perishable or hazardous goods as well as food service establishments.
Adjustable Pallet Racking
Adjustable pallet racking is perhaps the most commonly used type of racking, particularly in operations where the inventory is stored using pallets. Adjustable pallet racking, as the name implies, is designed to be adjustable in order to fit the specifications of the stored inventory. These storage racks can be adjusted vertically, horizontally, or in depth. Moreover, warehouses can choose to use adjustable pallet racking in a two-deep layout, further increasing their facility’s storage capacity.
Compact Pallet Racking
Compact pallet racking is a pallet racking variant that is designed to maximize a storage facility’s use of both horizontal and vertical space. There are a variety of compact pallet racking systems available for both hand-picking and forklift-driven operations; they can be used in a wide variety of settings for an array of inventory types.
Live Storage Systems
Live storage systems are somewhat related to compact pallet racking in that they are intended to improve a warehouse’s use of space. However, they differ from compact pallet racking, since they traditionally utilize gravity to store the inventory. They can be configured for both first-in-first-out and last-in-first-out inventory management systems.
Mobile Pallet Racking
Mobile pallet racking systems allow for the movement of pallets through the use of floor tracks. This type of racking is considered a high-density storage system since its primary benefit is the ability to compactly store pallets while maintaining access to any of them as necessary.
Choosing the Best Shelving or Rack for Your Operation
With so many storage shelving and racking options available, it can be difficult to decide on the right storage solution for your warehouse operation. When shopping for a shelving or rack option, some vital aspects to consider are:
Your Warehouse’s Needs
Perhaps the most important consideration when choosing a type of shelving or racking is your warehouse’s needs. The size, both horizontal and vertical, of your warehouse will largely dictate the right racking or shelving solution for your business.
The Nature of Your Inventory
Another key consideration when choosing a type of shelving or rack for your warehouse is the type and nature of the inventory you will store. Small, lightweight items can be suitably stored in a variety of rack or shelving systems, but larger and heavier objects will likely need to be stored using more robust, heavy duty systems. Moreover, if your inventory is stored on pallets, you will likely need a pallet racking system to more efficiently store them. Further, certain objects will have special requirements; for example, perishable goods may need to be stored using wire shelving, while frozen or cold goods may need to be stored using a compact or live storage system in a freezer.
Required Weight Capacity
The weight and density of your inventory will need to be accounted for when choosing a racking or shelving system for your warehouse. Some racks or shelves (such as wire shelving units) are designed for lighter loads, while others (such as metal shelving) can handle heavier or denser loads. You should be sure any shelving or racking that you install will be capable of holding the loads you plan to store.
Accessibility and Mobility
Another important consideration is the level of accessibility to the product and warehouse mobility you will require. Depending on the nature of your inventory, you may need to be capable of accessing any of your stored products at any time; in this case, you may require mobile pallet racking systems. On the other hand, your operation may utilize a first-in-first-out or last-in-first-out inventory management system, which allows you to use live storage systems.
Shelving and Racks at Shelving + Rack Supply, Inc.
Shelving + Rack Supply, Inc. is one of the leading providers of commercial shelving and racking systems. If you are still undecided on the ideal type of storage for your warehouse, call 800-589-7225 today to speak with one of our expert project managers. We will help you decide on the best possible storage solution to take your warehouse operation to the next level.