Metal shelving is an extremely rugged organizational tool that allows for maximum use of horizontal and vertical storage space in industrial, commercial and residential settings. Automotive, garage, chemical and food processing, factory, warehouse, textile, publishing and many other industrial facilities require the additional storage provided by shelving systems.
Metal shelves are often the most cost effective option for buyers, especially when considering product longevity and durability. While plastic, composite and wood may also be used in the production of shelving units, aluminum and steel shelving have several advantages. Over time wood shelves can absorb moisture from the air and either expand or contract making shelving uneven and brittle. While plastics are waterproof, they are nowhere near as durable as metal shelving nor can they support as much weight without mechanical failure. With the proper coating and design, metal shelving can withstand accidental impacts from industrial equipment such as forklifts, resist chemical corrosion and hold weights far exceeding the capacity of other materials. Even small metal shelves can support as much as four hundred and fifty lbs. With shelving systems capable of holding as much as thirty five thousand lbs, metal shelves allow the convenient storage of totes, boxes, cases, pallets, motor parts, large equipment and more without the risk of overload. As such a range exists, it is important to consider the weight capacity and dimensions of a shelf before loading it to ensure the optimal usage of space.
Aluminum, steel and stainless steel are used in the construction of metal shelving. Each affords different advantages and should be chosen in relation to the intended use of a shelving system. Aluminum is a malleable, ductile metal with good conductivity and resistance to oxidation. It is also a lighter metal as compared to steel. Steel, however, is more rugged. Stainless steel shelving in particular is corrosion resistant and in some cases self-repairing. Units of any of these metals may be either panel or wire shelving. Panel shelves use rolled sheet metal as the bases or flat surfaces upon which inventory to be stored is placed. Alternatively, several extruded or cold rolled rods of metal are welded into a grid pattern to make the base for wire shelves. Metal poles are needed for both to effectively increase vertical storage. Poles are often solid pieces of extruded or cold-rolled plastic, which are placed vertically at the four corners of a shelf and throughout as needed for support. A framework of stamped metal bars and braces may be necessary for additional support and stability. The components are joined by welding, riveting or the use of several clips and fasteners such as bolts and nuts. The specific metal chosen as well as the configuration and construction of a metal shelf will have a significant impact on the weight capacity of a particular unit and should therefore be considered carefully for each application.