Weighing Your Industrial Shelving Options

Javier Ramirez
February 20, 2018

Is it time to rethink your warehouse storage scheme? Many warehouses, like every aspect of the marketplace, are undergoing change. What made sense 15 years ago may cost time and productivity today. This includes your approach to warehouse storage.

It may be time to add industrial shelving to your storage application.

Industrial shelving has a place in more warehousing operations today. Changes in consumer preference for a make-to-order custom product instead of a mass produced item often reduces the need for the larger, heavier pallet racks.

The benefits of industrial Shelving

There are many benefits associated with the use of industrial shelving.

Consider the following:

  • Not all products, parts or materials require the dimensional size of a pallet rack. Many materials and parts are stored in smaller quantities or sizes such as cartons and bins and do not require pallet storage.
  • Weight is another consideration. Today’s industrial shelving offers enough versatility to handle a wide assortment of product weight. Granted some shelving only supports a few hundred pounds. However, depending on your need, industrial shelving is capable of supporting weights up to one ton per shelf.
  • Industrial shelving has a much lower first cost than pallet racking.
  • Shelving is more conducive for manual picking operations. Most shelving types are accessible without the need of powered lift equipment (forklifts or lift trucks), making it easier (and safer) to pick the required items.
  • It is possible build high-rise shelving similar to configurations associated with pallet racks. The majority of industrial shelving however, is smaller with maximum dimensions of 96 inches (span) by 54 inches (depth).
  • Most industrial shelving units are compact when compared to pallet racks. This makes shelving an ideal option when space is a consideration.

Selecting the right shelving option

So, what type of shelving will work best for an application?

We are going to discuss four industrial shelving types — each has its unique features.

  • Steel shelving
  • Backroom shelving
  • Rivet shelving
  • Wide-span shelving

Steel shelving offers durability, which works well in busy, high-traffic warehouse operations. The material strength can withstand impacts and accidents well. This shelving offers flexibility in storage options. It is able to hold large cartons, but customizable to accommodate dividers, drawers and bins for smaller items. Steel shelving is easy to assemble, often using bolts or clips. Clip style shelving is more popular due to its flexibility and easy installation.

Backroom or stockroom shelving is an excellent option for backroom storage in retail operations. However, there are definite uses for these shelves in industrial settings, too. These shelves are characterized by three main components: uprights, x-bracing and the shelves. Parts snap together for easy assembly, so need to to worry about hardware. Backroom shelving comes in closed and open configurations and with fully adjustable shelves.

You could be misled when looking at some industrial shelving, as some of the sturdier options resemble pallet racking. Warehouse operations needing an alternative to pallet racks often use rivet shelving and wide-span shelving for medium, to medium-heavy loads. Both rivet and wide-span shelving options offer the ability to handle loads between 1,500 and 2,000 lbs because of the heavier duty construction. While these options can handle heavier loads, neither is a substitute for pallet racks.

There are many opportunities to use and benefit from industrial shelving in today’s warehouse operations. Selecting the best option requires a complete understanding of your requirements.

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