Different Types of Warehouse Shelving

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Shelving and storage are essential to the functioning of the warehouse.  While it would be easy to free up floor space by stacking pallets on top of each other this would limit accessibility and be very unstable and dangerous.  This is why warehouse shelving was invented:  to get things off the floor; to maximize space; and to make objects easier to store, locate and access.  Of course, not every business has the same needs, and so, many kinds of shelving have been developed to fit different situations.

One of the first things to consider is whether the warehouse shelving is classified as first in first out (FIFO) or last in first out (LIFO).

Drive In or Drive-Thru shelving allows you to place pallets on rails, providing high-density storage.  The main difference between the two types is that Drive-In is LIFO while Drive-Thru is FIFO. Since this system allows forklifts to drive to the shelves, there is a very real chance of damage to the inventory.  In this system, it is necessary to use extra caution when operating around these shelves.  

Flow-Thru shelving operates under FIFO rotation, meaning the first items put on the shelves should be the first ones coming off.  As  general rule items are loaded at one end and gently slide down to the other end to be unloaded. Once an item is unloaded, the item behind it will slide into place and so on.

Push Back shelving is a LIFO system.  It is designed specifically for the number of pallets that will be stored on it and as a new pallet is loaded, the previous pallets are “pushed back”. Once you remove the front pallet, the pallets behind it will slide forward.

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Cantilever racks are considerably different from the other types of shelving and probably one of the best-known types of shelving. A cantilever shelf is the typical, front loading shelf but an industrial cantilever rack is much sturdier and ideal for separating smaller loads or loose items.

Warehouses are places that have a lot of distinct needs when it comes to storage and shelving. Shelving that might work perfectly well at home or in an office is very likely not nearly strong enough to handle storing exceptionally heavy tools or pallets full of merchandise. Shelving created for use in warehouses is built to keep up with all of a the facility’s heavy duty and high-density storage needs. The most common forms of shelving for warehouses are as follows.

Steel Shelving is the most common and popular type of shelving, because of its inexpensive material, durability and being able to take the brunt of whatever needs to be organized and store without bending or collapsing. Steel shelving systems are normally best for products that are small or for storage of cartons within a warehouse, mainly because the steel shelving can be organized as normal floor units or high rise shelving systems for bigger warehouses. Additionally, steel warehouse shelving is also very adjustable and extremely versatile. When choosing steel shelving, there is a choice between the clip style or the nut-and-bolt set-up. The clip style uses compression clips to make shelves height-adjustable while offering a sturdy foundation for even the heaviest materials. Clips have the advantage of being easier to work with than the nut-and-bolt style, which requires tools to adjust the shelving.

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Rivet Shelving is just as durable and versatile as steel shelving. With no bolts and clips, it is one of the easier warehouse shelving systems to assemble quickly and efficiently; consequently rivet shelving a very common type of shelving for warehouses that want to store heavier objects. Rivet shelving comes in two styles: single rivet and double rivet. The choice really comes down to how much weight a warehouse needs to store per shelf. Double rivet shelving holds much more weight per shelf than single rivet shelving, which makes it more ideal for the heavy duty storage needs.

Wire Shelving is not generally as durable and strong as steel or rivet shelving, but it can still withstand quite a bit without quickly becoming unusable. It is one of the most common types of shelving that warehouses can use: especially if they need products to be easily visible and want less dust collection from the shelving units. This type of warehouse shelving is also one of the easier types of units to assemble as quickly as possible for both smaller and larger scale warehouses.

Bulk Rack Shelving is a light-duty shelving that fits into smaller spaces. It is durable and isn’t bolted; so bulk rack shelving is easy to assemble and disassemble for short-term uses. It’s a good choice for light-weight materials and some types can be mobile such as those equipped with casters.

Clipless Shelving is generally constructed from steel bracing and particle board, and this type of shelving is easy to install and very versatile. Though it is lightweight and easy to maintain, clipless shelves can hold 500 to 700 pounds depending on the base shelving unit.

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Pallet Racks are built for supporting heavy pallets full of merchandise or inventory that can quickly be loaded or unloaded by a forklift. They enable a business to make good use of their vertical space, freeing up space on the warehouse floor, and creating an efficient workflow where the inventory can be accessed quickly and easily.

Storage companies, such as Vertical Storage USA, offer a variety different shelving to fit the needs of their clients. Not all shelving types accommodate the client effectively, so it is recommended you speak with professionals when choosing a shelf option for your company.

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