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Wprp’s guide to industrial shelving

Friday, September 23, 2016

Industrial shelving: What do I need?
Ever go online to search for the product you think you need, only to find a confusing mess of information and an overwhelming number of products? For many people, shelving reliably falls into this category. Even to the material handling industry veteran, let alone someone unfamiliar with the product, it seems like there’s no end to the number of industrial shelving makes and models that are available on the market.

To make things even more confusing, different storage requirements often call for completely different types of shelving. One application, for example, might be perfectly suited to bulk rack, while another is light enough to be supported by lighter duty rivet shelving. How’s one supposed to know what the differences are or which kind they need? Despite the frustration that can come with matching the appropriate storage unit to your needs, taking the time to do so will ensure an efficient operation that can scale with your future needs and give you the positive ROI you’re looking for.

With that in mind, we’re going to go through the basics of industrial shelving to outline the general differences between the major types of shelving available, what their purposes are and whether they’re right for you.

Below are three different types of storage units for you to consider on your next application.

Rivet shelving
What it is: Rivet Shelving is a highly versatile style of steel shelving that consists of upright posts, horizontal bars on which the shelving level sits, and often times additional perpendicular shelf supports.

Rivet shelving is typically outfitted with some type of particleboard that provides the flat shelf surface. Alternatively, heavy duty applications or those needing to comply with fire codes may have a wire deck fit atop the shelf supports. Examples of rivet shelving weight capacity include that of Tennsco rivet shelving units, which support 500 – 800 lbs per shelf, as well Tennsco’s heavy duty shelves, which offer a capacity from 1250 – 2250 lbs per shelf.

How it’s used: Rivet shelving is effective at providing storage solutions for a wide range of applications, from basic back-room storage to totally-integrated warehouse storage systems. Posts and shelves come in varying sizes to provide versatility and adjustability based on changing needs. As its name suggests, rivet shelving features boltless connection for its components. In other words, you won’t have to sift through 50 pieces of hardware and take 3 hours to put rivet shelving together. Rivet shelving is generally the lightest duty industrial rack available to consumers, and is poorly suited to heavier, high-intensity industrial storage scenarios.

Bulk rack
What it is: Bulk Rack is an ideal industrial storage solution for heavy duty storage applications. Components of bulk rack consist of welded frames, beams and deck supports. Assembly is quick and easy, with beams securely dropping into upright holes and deck supports dropping into beam slots, creating a rigid framework. An example of bulk rack capacity is Tennsco‘s bulk rack unit capacity of 17,000# based on 24″ vertical beam spacing. This particular unit is available in heights of up to 16 ft.

How it’s used: Bulk rack is perfect for storing product that’s too heavy for rivet shelving, but a little too light to require high-capacity pallet racking. Aside from size and capacity, one of the features that sets bulk rack aside from pallet racking is that it’s more commonly used for hand-stack applications than those which need to be loaded by a lift truck. Still, total weight supported per bay (a.k.a. section or unit) in bulk rack applications is often well in excess of 1,000 pounds.

Industrial pallet rack
What it is: Industrial pallet racking is the largest and strongest variety of industrial shelving. Upright frames commonly range from 8 to 24 feet in height, and beams are often available in lengths ranging from 4 to 12 feet, though custom sizes of both components can be made. Pallet rack bay capacities can range from approximately 15,000# to 40,000# at 48″ vertical beam spacing, depending on the manufacturer.

How it’s used: Pallet rack is specifically designed to support high vertical stacking of single items or palletized loads, typically in a warehouse setting. Pallet rack systems allow palletized loads to be stored in horizontal rows, and with multiple levels of rows. Because pallet racking is strong, highly adjustable and versatile, it’s found in virtually any industry that utilizes high volume warehouse storage.

Loads being stored on pallet racks are usually loaded and picked using a forklift, as opposed to being hand-stacked. Installation will require the racking to be plumb, and the footplates to be anchored to the ground.

Now that you have a brief overview of the types of storage systems available, you’ll have a better idea of what the right shelving system is for a given application. If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact us for your next storage system. Give us a call at 888-578-1579 or email and we’ll be happy to help!
Remember, “Our Goal is to Help You!