What is the Difference Between Heavy-Duty Shelves and Medium-Duty Shelves?

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Warehouses use a variety of shelves to store items with different types and materials suitable for specific goods. Shelves are often categorized as light, medium, and heavy-duty. The main factor in categorizing shelving is load capacity which means the materials, installation methods, and specifications differ between various shelving types.

Light and medium-duty shelves are typically used to store small and lightweight items. Each shelving unit is easy to assemble and disassemble, and most are adjustable, allowing you to set the shelf height for a specific set of products. Heavy-duty shelves are designed to carry large, bulky loads, so they must be carefully assembled to ensure they are safe to use and that the shelves can support the products.

When purchasing metal storage shelves for your distribution center or warehouse, there are plenty of options, including industrial metal shelving, boltless shelving, automotive shelving, and wire shelving. It’s important to understand the difference between different types of shelves, as well as their advantages, limitations, and capabilities. Exceeding the load capacity of medium-duty racks can accidentally injure or endanger your employees.

What are Heavy-Duty Shelves?

Heavy-duty shelves are designed to store medium and heavy-load items efficiently. Heavy-duty shelving, when assembled correctly, is safe, versatile, and adjustable so that it can be reconfigured depending on your inventory and layout requirements.

Heavy-duty shelf systems often contain high load capacity metal racks so they can store heavy and bulky items on top of each other to make the most of the vertical space in your warehouse.

Vertical space is crucial in creating an efficient warehouse system. Installing heavy-duty shelves for vertical storage saves floor space and allows you to stock more items. It also helps warehouses and storage facilities to develop more organized picking and refilling systems, giving forklifts easier access to and from shelving racks.

Maximize the use of storage space and remain OSHA compliant by installing quality heavy-duty shelving from Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc.

Advantages of Heavy-Duty Shelves

Some of the main advantages of heavy-duty shelves are:

  • Adaptability: medium-duty shelves have to be replaced or upgraded for certain products; heavy-duty shelves can hold a variety of items, such as household appliances, garden machinery, or automotive equipment.
  • Space utilization: heavy-duty shelving can be built into a multi-level system for maximum cubic space utilization. Warehouse operators can use machinery or forklifts to access items on higher levels.
  • Scalable: heavy-duty shelves can be configured into various storage systems. They are scalable and can be combined with other types of shelving and racking, such as particle board decks and pallet racking.

Types of Heavy-Duty Shelves

At Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc., we supply a range of heavy-duty storage shelving options. Some of the most popular types include:

  • Steel industrial shelving: this type of shelving is standard for many warehouses. It is cost-effective, versatile, and durable, making it a popular choice for hardware and homeware businesses. Steel shelving comes in either open or closed varieties and a range of widths, heights, and depths to store different goods, from small mechanical components to furniture.
    Steel shelving can be easily accessorized and customized using doors, bin dividers, drawers, and label holders. This improves warehouse efficiency, allowing workers to gain easier access to products manually or using forklifts.
  • Boltless shelving: these shelving systems are extremely popular in warehouses and distribution centers due to their versatility and ease of assembly. With minimal equipment, boltless shelving has a high load capacity and can be assembled and reconfigured by one to two people.
  • Automotive shelving: managing large SKUs and a wide variety of items is a challenge for automotive businesses. Automotive shelving is durable and customizable, enabling businesses to efficiently store and access all items, from large engine parts to gearbox assembly equipment. Our automotive shelving units are available with an open-shelf design, giving easy access to products. They can be accessorized with dividers, modular drawers, and cubby holes for organization.

commercial wire shelving

What are Medium-Duty Shelves?

Medium duty shelving provides excellent organization and storage options for smaller goods. They are typically adaptable and easy to assemble. Although some medium-duty shelves are very durable, they are only capable of storing lightweight items. While heavy-duty shelves can be stacked vertically between 19 and 39 feet, medium-duty shelves may only be stacked to approximately 6.5 feet.

Medium-duty shelves are most commonly used in supermarkets, workshops, garages, and business offices.

Types of Medium Duty Shelves

At Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc., we provide versatile and lightweight medium-duty shelving options for use in the retail, pharmaceutical, and food industries.

  • Wire shelving: wire shelving has multiple benefits for a warehouse that moves a high quantity of goods. The wire structure gives employees good visibility and enables air circulation, which is important for temperature regulation and mold prevention. Wire shelving is portable, scalable, and is easy to keep clean, making it a popular choice for hygienic warehouse environments in the food, healthcare, and electronics industries.
  • Mobile shelving: mobile shelving systems help maximize storage efficiency where space is limited. They can be transported on rails and are popular in offices, big box department stores, or supermarkets that do not need an aisle to accommodate picking equipment. Automated mobile shelves can often be linked to software management systems or office computer networks.

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Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc. is a leading provider of heavy-duty and medium-duty shelving systems. Whether you want to optimize your facility’s vertical space using heavy-duty shelving or your workers need faster access to goods with mobile units, our solutions can help improve your business.