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Choosing Industrial Shelving

Updated on January 24, 2013

Companies often need very heavy duty, high weight capacity shelving. Often manufacturing factories receive raw material. It is the components which are used to make the products they sell. One unit of a product probably only  contains a small amount of many different materials, but the materials themselves can be very heavy. So let's look at what makes industrial shelving different from say, wire shelving, and also why is it needed.

Simple shelving that you would find in most homes can hold up things like books, toys, hats, shoes racks, or things like this. Simple metal shelves made of thin wood or wire shelves is usually all that is needed. For heavier items then next step up is metal shelving. Some of these units can hold up to 300 pounds per shelf. When you are lining up lots of tools in your garage, the weight adds up quickly. So the metal shelves may be strong enough for your job. Offices also don't typically need industrial shelves. Instead a wire shelves with weight of 200 or 300 pounds can hold up the boxes of paper, extra computer, books, trade magazines, etc. that are too heavy for a light use shelf.

Industrial Shelving Solid Shelves

Industrial Shelving

Now looking to industrial needs, instead of 300 pounds per shelf, most shelving offers 2,500 pounds per shelf or 4,000 pounds of the entire shelving unit. That is a big upgrade. This kind of shelves are built with steel frames of between fourteen and twenty gauge. Cold rolled steel is very substantial. Shelves are not large like pallet racking. Instead it is much narrower, shorter, and not as wide. Pallets are about 42" x 48". Each pallet rack space is usually 96" wide x 42" deep x 96" tall. Then the pallet racks are four or six levels high. Instead industrial shelves systems are 48" wide x 18" deep x 72" high. They are not connected together to stacked several levels tall like the pallet racks. Instead they are a free standing shelving unit.

This style of shelving comes in either a solid back or an open backed design. The solid backs are perfect for if materials can fall through. This prevents things from getting lost or damaged from falling out of the back. This style also prevents the wall from getting marked or nicked behind the shelves. Solid backs can be used either along a wall or back to back with another shelf. Open shelves, or backless, are referred to as pass through. These are open and airy designs. The users can get either side of the shelf to reach things or to access different parts of the component that is resting on the shelf.

Boltless Industrial Shelving

Bolt-less industrial shelving systems do not bolted together. The upright vertical posts are punched with the tear drop shaped holes. Then the shelves are outfitted with hooks to attache them. The tear drop holes are punched at one inch increments up the posts. This allows for a lot of adjustment so the shelf space can be maximized on the unit. Shelves themselves are available in either solid, wired decking, or particle board. The wire does not collect as much dust as the solid, but the solid are considered to be more stable. All shelving should meet or exceed the Racking Manufacturers Institute (RMI) standards. This prevents too light of grade steel frames, substandard shelving, or other problems from affecting a warehouse.

Small Business Shelving

If looking for shelving for a small business or large corporation one option is to take your ideas, warehouse or work room specifics, measurements, and product information to a industrial shelving supplier. With this information they can use a computer engineered design to do some different layouts so that you can choose which one suits your needs the best. Then the owner can look through which is the best option and purchase accordingly. Once a design is established then accurate cost estimates can be given.

Industrial Shelving Five Shelf Unit

Industrial Shelving Systems

No matter if a company is the local auto mechanic's shop small business or the large box store like Wal-mart, industrial shelving units are very important for handling inventory and items. Used shelving is also an option, if you can find the right combination for your needs.

Calculating of the needed weight capacity is the first step to determining how much new industrial shelving is going to cost. The heavy gauge the steel frame, the larger the unit, the total number of needed shelves, and the material the shelves will be made from all affect the over all cost. So be sure to carefully access your company needs so that the rack isn't grossly under weight or ridiculously over built for you specific needs.


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