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How to Choose the Right Industrial Shelving for Your Warehouse: A Comprehensive Guide

Published on: Tuesday 9th May 2023
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What is industrial shelving called?

Storage and organisation of light products and equipment that can be loaded by hand can be done with various kinds of shelving products called industrial shelving. Industrial shelving can be made from different materials like chrome wire, wood, plastic or steel and can come in different styles such as heavy duty, boltless, closed or open.

What are the different types of industrial shelves?

There are many different types of industrial shelves that can suit different needs and environments. Some of the common types are:

  • Rivet shelving: This type of shelving is made of a frame and shelves that are attached with rivets. It is easy to assemble and adjust, and can hold up to 600kg per shelf.
  • Steel shelving: This type of shelving is made entirely from steel and is very durable and strong. It can have open or closed backs and sides, and can hold up to 800kg per shelf.
  • Wire shelving: This type of shelving is made of a frame and wire shelves that allow air circulation and visibility. It is ideal for catering or medical use, and can hold up to 300kg per shelf.
  • Longspan shelving: This type of shelving is made of heavy-duty steel frames and beams that can span long distances. It can have different types of decking, such as chipboard, metal or wire mesh, and can hold up to 900kg per shelf.
  • Tubular shelving: This type of shelving is made of steel tubes that form a modular system. It can have different types of shelves, such as steel, wood or plastic, and can hold up to 200kg per shelf.
  • Compartment shelving: This type of shelving is made of steel frames and dividers that create separate compartments for storing small items. It can have open or closed backs and sides, and can hold up to 100kg per shelf.

Shelving Units & Racking Kits

How much weight can industrial shelves hold?

The type, material and design of the shelves determine how much weight they can support. The weight limit per shelf can vary from 100kg to 900kg or more. The weight limit is usually given as a uniform distributed load (UDL), which means the weight is distributed equally on the shelf. It is essential to verify the weight limit of the shelves before putting anything on them and to avoid going over the limit, as this can lead to damage or injury.

What are the standard sizes of industrial shelving?

There is no single standard size for industrial shelving, as different types and brands of shelving may have different dimensions and capacities. However, some common sizes for industrial shelving are:

  • Width: The width of the shelf refers to the horizontal measurement of the front edge. The width of industrial shelving can range from 600mm to 2400mm or more, depending on the type and design of the shelving.
  • Depth: The depth of the shelf refers to the horizontal measurement of the side edge. The depth of industrial shelving can range from 300mm to 1200mm or more, depending on the type and design of the shelving.
  • Height: The height of the shelf refers to the vertical measurement of the top edge. The height of industrial shelving can range from 900mm to 3000mm or more, depending on the type and design of the shelving.
  • Thickness: The thickness of the shelf refers to the vertical measurement of the front edge. The thickness of industrial shelving can range from 18mm to 25mm or more, depending on the material and load capacity of the shelving.

When choosing industrial shelving, it is important to consider the available space, the load requirements and the safety standards for your environment. You should also check the specifications and instructions before installing or using the industrial shelving.

How deep should workshop shelves be?

The depth of workshop shelves depends on the size and shape of the items you want to store and the space you have available. There is no fixed rule for how deep workshop shelves should be, but some common depths are:

  • 30cm: This is a relatively shallow depth that can be suitable for storing small tools, paint cans, boxes and other light items.
  • 40cm: This is a medium depth that can be suitable for storing larger tools, buckets, bins and other medium-sized items.
  • 50cm: This is a deep depth that can be suitable for storing bulky items, such as power tools, equipment, crates and other heavy items.
  • 60cm: This is a very deep depth that can be suitable for storing very large or long items, such as pipes, planks, ladders and other oversized items.

When choosing the depth of workshop shelves, you should also consider the weight capacity of the shelves and the safety of accessing the items. You should avoid overloading the shelves or storing items that protrude beyond the edge of the shelves, as this can cause damage or injury. You should also make sure you have enough clearance between the shelves and the wall, floor or ceiling to allow easy access and ventilation.

How do I measure the depth of workshop shelves?

To measure the depth of workshop shelves, you will need a tape measure and a pencil. Here are the steps to follow:

  • First, measure the depth of the space where you want to install the shelves. This will give you the maximum depth you can use for the shelves. Make sure to account for any obstacles, such as doors, windows or pipes, that may reduce the available depth.
  • Next, measure the depth of the items you want to store on the shelves. This will give you the minimum depth you need for the shelves. Make sure to measure the longest or widest part of the items and add some extra space for clearance and safety.
  • Finally, compare the maximum and minimum depths and choose a depth that fits both criteria. You can also consider your personal preference and budget when choosing the depth of the shelves. Mark the chosen depth on the wall or floor with a pencil.

You can repeat these steps for each shelf you want to install, or use the same depth for all shelves if you prefer. You can also adjust the depth of some shelves if you have items of different sizes and shapes.

How do you store heavy items in a warehouse?

Storing heavy items in a warehouse can be challenging, but it can also be done safely and efficiently by following some best practices. Here are some tips on how to store heavy items in a warehouse:

  • Use the right equipment: You should use appropriate storage equipment that can handle the weight and size of your heavy items. For example, you can use heavy duty shelving, pallet racking, cantilever racking or mobile racking to store heavy items such as pipes, drums, crates or machinery. You should also use proper lifting equipment, such as forklifts, cranes or hoists, to move and load heavy items safely and easily.
  • Store heavy items on lower or middle levels: You should avoid storing heavy items on high levels of shelves or racks, as this can increase the risk of falling or tipping. Instead, you should store heavy items on lower or middle levels of shelves or racks, and store lighter items on higher levels. This can also improve the accessibility and visibility of your heavy items.
  • Store long and heavy items on their side: You should store long and heavy items, such as pipes, planks or ladders, on their side rather than flat. This can prevent the risk of tipping or rolling off the shelves or racks. You should also use straps, brackets or dividers to secure long and heavy items and prevent them from sliding or shifting.
  • Label all heavy items: You should label all heavy items with clear and accurate information, such as the weight, dimensions, contents and location of the items. This can help you locate and identify your heavy items more quickly and easily. It can also help you avoid overloading your shelves or racks by knowing the weight capacity of each level.
  • Keep heavy items properly tucked away: You should keep heavy items properly tucked away for safe retrieval and transportation. You should avoid storing heavy items near aisles, doors, windows or fire exits, as this can obstruct the traffic flow and create safety hazards. You should also avoid storing heavy items near fragile or flammable items, as this can cause damage or fire risks.

What is the difference between racking and shelving?

Racking and shelving are both storage systems that can be used in warehouses, but they have some differences in their design, function and application. Here are some of the main differences between racking and shelving:

  • Size and weight of items: Racking is used for storing larger and heavier items that need to be accessed by forklifts or other machines. Racking can hold pallets, crates, drums, machinery or other bulky items that are too big or heavy for manual handling. Shelving is used for storing smaller and lighter items that can be accessed by hand. Shelving can hold boxes, bins, tools, books or other items that are easy to carry and pick.
  • Structure and design: Racking is made of metal frames and beams that support the items on different levels. Racking does not have solid shelves, but rather platforms or decks that can be made of wood, metal or wire mesh. Racking is more open and flexible in its design, as it can be adjusted to fit different sizes and shapes of items. Shelving is made of metal or wood panels that form solid shelves on different levels. Shelving has a more uniform and closed design, as it has fixed dimensions and spaces for each shelf.
  • Space and accessibility: Racking takes up more space than shelving, as it needs more clearance for forklifts or machines to access the items. Racking also needs more height to store items vertically. However, racking can offer more storage density and capacity, as it can stack items higher and deeper. Shelving takes up less space than racking, as it only needs enough clearance for people to access the items. Shelving also needs less height to store items horizontally. However, shelving can offer more storage visibility and convenience, as it can display items clearly and neatly.

In summary, racking is a better choice for storing large and heavy items that need machine access, while shelving is a better choice for storing small and light items that need hand access.

Warehouse Operations Pallet Truck & Racking

How do I choose the right type of racking or shelving for my warehouse?

Choosing the right type of racking or shelving for your warehouse can be a challenging task, as there are many factors to consider and many options to choose from. Here are some steps to help you choose the right type of racking or shelving for your warehouse:

Step 1: Assess your needs. You should start by defining the characteristics of the items you need to store, such as the size, weight, shape, quantity and frequency of access. You should also consider the available space, budget and safety standards for your warehouse. This will help you narrow down your options and determine the criteria for selecting the best type of racking or shelving for your warehouse.

Step 2: Compare different types of racking or shelving. You should research the different types of racking or shelving that are suitable for your needs and compare their advantages and disadvantages. Some of the common types of racking or shelving are:

  • Adjustable pallet racking: This is a versatile and flexible type of racking that can store pallets or boxes of different sizes and weights. It consists of metal frames and beams that can be adjusted to fit different dimensions and configurations. It is easy to access and offers high storage density.
  • Cantilever racking: This is a specialised type of racking that can store long and heavy items, such as pipes, planks or ladders. It consists of metal frames and arms that extend horizontally without any front columns. It is easy to load and unload and offers high storage capacity.
  • Drive-in/drive-through racking: This is a high-density type of racking that can store large quantities of pallets or boxes of the same size and weight. It consists of metal frames and rails that form deep lanes that can be accessed by forklifts from one or both ends. It is ideal for storing items with low turnover or seasonal demand.
  • Mobile racking: This is a space-saving type of racking that can store pallets or boxes of different sizes and weights. It consists of metal frames and beams that are mounted on mobile bases that can be moved along rails. It allows for only one aisle to be open at a time, reducing the floor space required.
  • Shelving: This is a simple and economical type of storage that can store boxes, bins, tools or other small items. It consists of metal or wood panels that form solid shelves on different levels. It offers high visibility and convenience, but low storage density.

Step 3: Choose the best type of racking or shelving for your warehouse. You should choose the type of racking or shelving that meets your needs, preferences and budget. You should also consider the quality, durability and maintenance of the racking or shelving system you choose. You should consult with a professional racking or shelving supplier or installer to get expert advice and assistance.

Choosing the right type of racking or shelving for your warehouse can improve your storage efficiency, productivity and safety. By following these steps, you can make an informed decision that will benefit your warehouse operations.

Does pallet racking need to be bolted down UK?

According to some sources, such as the Storage Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA), pallet racking in the UK should be bolted down to the floor when it can be approached by mechanical handling equipment, such as forklifts or order pickers. This is to ensure the stability and safety of the pallet racking system and prevent it from tipping, collapsing or shifting due to accidental impacts, overloading or seismic events. Pallet racking should also be bolted down to the floor when it is required by the manufacturer’s instructions or specifications.

However, bolting pallet racking down to the floor may not always be necessary or feasible, depending on the type, design and location of the pallet racking system and the building structure. For example, some types of pallet racking, such as mobile racking or drive-in/drive-through racking, may not need or allow bolting to the floor. Some building structures, such as concrete floors or brick walls, may not be suitable or convenient for bolting pallet racking to them. Some situations, such as temporary storage or frequent layout changes, may not warrant bolting pallet racking to the floor.

Therefore, pallet racking should be bolted down to the floor in the UK when it is necessary and feasible to do so, based on a risk assessment and a professional consultation. Bolting pallet racking down to the floor can improve the stability and safety of the pallet racking system and prevent potential damage or injury. However, bolting pallet racking down to the floor may not always be possible or desirable, depending on various factors. In such cases, alternative methods of securing or stabilising the pallet racking system should be considered, such as using weights, straps, brackets or dividers.

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