Shelving units maximize both vertical and horizontal space and can be anywhere from several inches to several feet in height and length depending on the specific industrial, commercial or residential application. Though specific designs will vary considerably, shelving units consist of one or more panels or grids that are placed perpendicular to the wall or supporting vertical beams. This forms a surface on which inventory can be stored or displayed. The size and weight capacity each shelf within a unit are the most important considerations as both should exceed the total weight and cubic space of all items to be stored. Overloading a shelf can result in potentially dangerous and costly mechanical failure. As custom and standard shelving
offers capacities ranging from one hundred and fifty lbs to thirty five thousand lbs, there are many options to store items as varied as paper and office supplies or material handling equipment and loaded pallets without risk of damage to the unit. Shelving engineers can calculate the static loading, stress and strength of shelving to ensure the most economic and proficient use of space.
The material construction of a unit will have significant influence on its strength and stress bearing capacity. While plastics, wood and glass may be used, steel shelving
is common in both industrial and commercial settings as it offers superior strength and durability. Aside from material divisions, there are two main categories under which industrial shelving
can be classified. Closed units are those designed with a panel or wire grid along one or more sides of the shelf. These prevent loose items from falling off shelves and may also be locked for added security. The additional material increases structural stability as well. Closed shelves, however, significantly decrease accessibility. When full access is needed open units are preferred as they allow workers to reach items from either side of the shelf. No matter the specific type of shelving, proper installation is essential to the safety and productivity of the work space. Both vertical and horizontal components and the surface to which they are attached should be level to avoid the tipping or shifting of objects or even the entire unit. Properly installed steel shelving can increase process flow and workplace efficiency creating significant space and time savings.