Wire shelving is a particular type of shelving unit wherein the base or surface upon which items are placed is composed of several interwoven or latticed metal rods. Like all shelving, these serve to maximize vertical and horizontal spaces for the purpose of increased storage, which allows for faster process flows and increased productivity in a number of industrial and commercial settings.
Wire shelving is also found in residential areas in need of organization or storage and may even be used as presentation shelves. The transparent appearance provided by the porous wire grid is less imposing than alternative paneled shelving systems and also means that units are less prone to dust collection, making them particularly well suited to medical and food processing industries among others. In factories and warehouses that might have expansive storage shelving, wire is often chosen to better comply with building and fire safety codes as emergency sprinkler systems are not impeded by the open surfaces. Air circulation is likewise unhindered by wire grids. Although water and air may freely pass through the shelving, the porous construction does not mean that this type of shelf cannot be closed for better product security. In fact, closed wire shelving provides the security of lockable panels while maintaining visibility for easy monitoring of inventory. For both open and closed designs, however, it is important to consider the slit size of each shelf in comparison to the products it will house. The slit size should be smaller to prevent items from falling through or becoming stuck.
The weight capacity of each shelf should also be considered with regard for inventory and should always exceed the total weight of items it will hold to avoid mechanical failure due to overloading. The weight bearing abilities will depend largely on the materials, size and manufacturing processes used to construct a given shelf. While wire shelves can be made using aluminum, copper and brass; steel and stainless steel are the most common materials used in industrial settings. Though already lauded for rugged durability, finishes such as nickel plating, painting, anodizing and powder coating often serve to enhance the desirable traits of steel components. The wire grids that form the base or platform of the shelves are formed through a series of fabrication processes. First the wire itself must be formed through either rolling, extrusion or stamping. The particular method chosen depends largely on the parameters of a project and CNC machining is often used to ensure the most accurate shelving design. These components are either welded or woven together. Interwoven threads are suitable for light duty units, but welding offers a large improvement in strength for heavy duty shelving. The poles, braces and general support framework are also produced via cold-rolling, stamping and extrusion and then welded or fastened into place. While the materials and construction of wire shelving is important, the dimensions of a shelf and inventory should also be considered to ensure optimization of storage space.