Not every industrial application requires large pallet racks. Many companies offer products in smaller increments allowing for storage solutions without the heavy equipment. Industrial shelving systems made from steel often meet the needs of these companies. Choosing the best shelving system for the application requires more understanding of the options available.

There are four main types of shelving systems to consider for an industrial/commercial setting. These are steel, backroom, rivet, and wide span shelving. Each offers benefits along with a few issues depending upon use.

Steel shelving systems

These units are an excellent option for companies having a need for adjustable, durable and versatile shelving. Steel shelving systems work very well for small product and carton storage. The versatility is in the system’s ability for simple configuration as a basic floor unit to one that functions as part of a larger high-rise system with order picking.

Shelves in these systems may operate as a simple shelf. However, many accessories are available to customize the shelving for specialized applications. These accessories include backs and sides for closed applications or dividers, drawers, and bins.

The flexibility of steel shelving units extends to sizing options. Shelving is available in span lengths from 24 inches up to 48 inches. Shelf depth varies from 12 inches all the way to 36 inches deep. Shelves are very adjustable, able to change in 1 ½-inch increments. Bolts or clips are typical methods for assembly.

Steel shelving systems work well in many applications.

However, these units are not for every use.

Some disadvantages of the steel shelving are:

  • Cost – steel shelving units tend to be more expensive than other options
  • Time and labor – setting up or reconfiguring often takes more time and uses more equipment
  • Weight – Steel shelving systems work best with lighter weight products and cannot accommodate pallets.

Rivet shelving

Consider rivet shelving if the application requires heavier loads. This method of shelving system can accommodate weight up to 1,500 lbs depending on frame, shelf style and rivet type. In addition, rivet shelving is among the most economical and offers a large range of sizes.

Rivet shelving as the name indicates, uses rivets instead of bolts or clips. This makes assembly much easier as each part snaps in place on the steel frame. There are several variations of rivet styles depending on load requirements: single and double rivet shelving is for light and medium duty applications. C-channel frames provide options for heavy-duty usage.

This shelving method is straightforward in its use. It is for storing heavier, bulk items. There are very few options available to customize rivet shelving. These shelving systems are also among the heavier options and less easy to move or reconfigure.

Wide-span shelving

There are many applications requiring shelving stronger than traditional shelving systems but less than heavy-duty pallet racks. This is where wide-span shelving has its niche. Some suggest this shelving system excels in environments where automated material handling does not work. A setting like this might be in warehouses where a large number of products are required but often in small quantities. Most automated picking systems cannot accommodate this situation and requires hand picking of the items.

Wide-span shelving tends to offer the highest load capacity of all shelving systems with an ability to hold up to 2,000 lbs per shelf. But as the name indicates, these shelves work best with large, bulky items. Shelf spans are available up to 96 inches with depths to 54 inches. Typical products stored on these units include large components, bulky cartons, rolls of cable and even tires.

Front and rear access to products is easy with wide-span shelving. The units offer several decking options that include wire mesh, particleboard or even an open span to store items with round dimensions.

The wide-span shelving provides users with some flexibility. However, weight poses challenges when moving or reconfiguring; and the shelves, while the strongest of shelf systems, still cannot meet the demands of pallets or use with forklifts.

Shelving systems provide companies with many options. Many are usable in combination with each other and with larger storage systems. Determining the best options for your application requires more information. Contact our shelving professionals to learn more.


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