How Industrial Shelving Units are Perfect for Many Applications

steel shelving industrial

Metal shelving units are among the most frequently used storage systems in warehousing facilities, from office storage and garages to large wholesaler warehouses.

They are durable, reasonably priced, and versatile, making them a cost-effective choice for inventory storage.

Industrial shelving is versatile, adaptable, and available in various types and configurations that help you manage your storage space more effectively. Here are how you can use industrial shelving units for numerous applications across various industries.

Standard Shelving

The standard steel shelving unit, recognizable by its 48” wide shelves, is one of the most common shelving options for warehousing facilities and a staple of material handling. They are easy to assemble, requiring no tools or specialized equipment, and are compatible with an array of different deckings.

The Lyon 48” industrial shelves can support up to 600 lbs. per level, making them useful for general purpose storage of light and medium-weight objects.

Warehouses frequently use them with pallet racks for heavier and palletized objects, allowing them to store goods of all sizes. Many homeowners even use standard shelving units as a home storage solution, such as a garage or a workshop.

Tool-and-Die Shelving

Tool-and-die shelving, also referred to as heavy-duty shelving, is an industrial shelving unit designed to support medium and heavy objects, both palletized and loose.

This type of shelving unit is ideal for high-density storage applications, maximizing the use of your vertical space and freeing more floor space for walkways or forklift pathways.

Tool-and-die shelving units are most frequently employed to store large, bulky, heavy objects that are difficult or impossible to stack neatly, such as motor vehicle components, heavy tools or tool parts, dies, and similar merchandise.

A typical tool-and-die shelving unit features 48” x 36” shelves supported by I-beams, primarily made of heavy-duty steel. Each shelf can be configured in various ways with open beams, fork bars, roll-out shelves, standard decking, and more, and supports up to 1,000 lbs.

Boltless Shelving

Boltless shelving units (also called rivet shelving) are fast and easy to install, featuring no screws, bolts, or clips.

Boltless shelves use specially-shaped holes and mounting points instead, letting you snap elements together without tools. Boltless shelves have no cross-bars or bracing on the sides, giving you access to stored items from all four sides. This design is ideal for wholesalers, retailers, and other industrial operations with a fast inventory turnover rate.

A typical boltless unit such as the Lyon 200A features four shelves, features shelf sizes ranging between 36” x 18” to 60” x 36”, and can be configured to any height between 3’ and 12’. Standard-duty models are rated to support up to 500-600 lbs., whereas heavy-duty models may reach a maximum capacity of up to 1,000-1,200 lbs.

Wire Shelving

Wire shelving units are similar to boltless shelving units but feature solid metal uprights and wire mesh decking.

A typical mobile shelving unit, such as the Lakeside 4-Shelf Stationary Unit, employs stainless steel uprights, open chrome wire shelves, and easy-rolling polyurethane casters.

The open wire design of each decking is easy to clean and disinfect, making this storage solution an ideal choice for restaurants, food storage, medical facilities (hospitals and clinics), or laboratories.

If you need wire shelving for a food service operation or a business handling medical equipment, look for “NSF certified” or “NSF listed” models. An NSF certification proves that the unit is food safe and meets high sanitary standards.

Widespan Bulk Shelving

Widespan bulk shelving, sometimes referred to as bulk shelving or bulk rack systems, is a type of industrial shelving primarily intended for heavy-duty applications.

The best way to use a widespan bulk shelving unit is to treat it as the mid-point between a medium-duty shelving system and a pallet rack. In other words, if you have goods that are too large to fit on a standard-sized deck but too small or impractical for palletization, the widespan bulk shelf is the storage solution for you.

Although this is a heavy-duty shelving unit, it is only suited for individually handled goods with a low turnover rate. A typical widespan bulk shelving unit features particle board or wire mesh decking. Each shelf may support a maximum of 1,500 to 2,000 lbs., depending on the unit’s dimensions and beam sizing.

commercial wire shelving

Mobile Shelving

Mobile shelving systems are typically standard wire shelving units mounted on wheels, casters, or sliding tracks, giving them mobility and making them easy to move and relocate to different parts of your building or facility.

For example, the Quantum Storage Chrome Wire Shelving can be customized with polyurethane casters, transforming standard, static wire shelving into mobile units.

Although standard mobile shelving can be moved and arranged manually, allowing personnel to move items or equipment to where it’s needed, they are best suited for light-duty applications. They are not intended for heavy parts or goods because the shelf would be challenging to move or the weight would stress the casters.

Some models feature wire mesh doors, giving the entire unit the appearance of a cage. These shelving units, known as security shelving, are designed to keep the contents from spilling, minimizing the risk of injury.

Specialized, heavy-duty mobile shelving units can support heavier loads, but they can only travel up to a fixed distance. They feature mechanical or electrical assists to allow personnel to slide them to the left or the right.

There are numerous applications for heavy-duty mobile shelving units such as archive rooms, retail stock rooms, high-density file storage, big-box retail, clothing, linen, and tool storage.

Order Industrial Shelving Units Today

Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc. is a warehousing and material handling specialist with over four decades of industry experience. We carry a large inventory of industrial shelving units, pallet racks, and many other storage solutions for your facility.

If you need help choosing shelving systems for your business, we also offer consulting services, helping you select and install the right equipment for your needs.