Whether you have a 500-square-foot apartment or a 500,000-square-foot warehouse, you know the benefits shelving can offer. From the most functional storage shelving to ornate, decorative display shelving, these units allow homeowners and businesspeople alike to make the most of their spaces, no matter how big or how small.
Shelves can be made of many different materials: wood, metal, plastic, particleboard, etc. They also come in many shapes and sizes, from tall, wide shelves for industrial pallets to low, narrow shelves for smaller items. Regardless of their construction or design, however, all shelves share a common purpose: to hold things.
Unlike home shelving, such as bookcases or decorative wall units, industrial shelving is not generally designed to add appeal to its surroundings; its purpose is merely functional. For this reason, industrial shelves are generally constructed of tough but plain materials, like steel or other metals.
Steel shelving is sturdy and durable, making it ideal for industrial environments. It ranges in style from simple bookcase-type units to large multilevel structures that may include attachable ladders or even stairs. For industries in which materials are regularly transported and stored on skids or pallets, there are even steel shelving units that include angled ramps or bars to make loading easier. One pallet lies flat, ready for pickup, and the rest are stacked behind it at an angle, so that when the first is taken, the next slides down to take its place. This saves time and effort in the loading process.
The main drawback to steel shelving is that it is expensive. This is generally justified by its long lifespan and incredible strength, but even so, most businesses find it financially infeasible to outfit an entire storeroom or warehouse with steel shelves. The best option is generally to reserve steel shelving for the products whose size and weight require it and use cheaper but still durable metal shelving for the rest.
Although somewhat related to industrial shelving, commercial shelving is a slightly different product. Its function is not only to store small amounts of a product but also to display it for sale. Like industrial shelving, commercial shelving must be durable, strong and stable, but unlike industrial shelving, it must also be presentable.
Commercial shelving is used in retail outlets and other places where product is displayed for customers. Wire shelving is common in commercial spaces, since it provides the strength and durability of metal but with more aesthetic appeal. The pattern and spacing of the wires offers visual interest, and the wires may also be coated with a colored plastic or a shiny metallic finish for added appeal. Finished wood and colored plastic are also popular choices for commercial shelving, although weight limits must be carefully observed. Glass is used for display cases or in certain high-end retail (such as jewelry) but is generally used sparingly, given its fragile nature.