Shelving vs Racking – Which Storage System Is Right For Your Business?

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Often, some businesses fail to invest in the storage system right for their business. Or, end up investing heavily when it is not at all required.

In fact, some use the terms ‘racks’ and shelves’ synonymously not knowing the difference. But each one has a different purpose to serve warehouses, industries, retail and commercial sector. These storage systems differ in their usage in terms of design, space, durability and accessibility.

So, let us understand the importance of each storage system for different applications.

Importance of Shelving

Shelving is the most basic storage system capable of supporting light-weight and small-size items. Its design comprises several shelves aligned individually with no use of pallets.

It can have any number of shelves and be of any height depending on the requirement. The material used in the fabrication of shelves is typically metal but it may also come in wood.

Most of the shelves are positioned on the ground but some may even be bolted. There are types that have wheels or are simply mechanised.

The mechanised shelves can move apart to access the middle section. This helps in saving space. Shelvings help a business to place or pick up items using hands.

However, some advanced warehouses that use shelving have are using automated drone systems to pick up items.

Importance of Racking System

Pallet racking is a more advanced type of storage system. It involves a design that enables access only by forklifts, cherry pickers or automated systems.

In this type, the racking is bigger in height and depth than shelving. It comprises heavy-duty materials and is attached to the floor or wall.

Some of them comprise special rails that allow the pallets to slide. Owing to the design, pallet racking is more durable.

Hence, it usually applies for storage of heavy goods or large-sized items. Several warehouses avoid installing more pallets to increase height due to safety reasons.

When to Invest in Shelving?

Is your business looking for racking to store lightweight items like cartons, bins, empty boxes etc? Then investing in wide span shelving is a wiser option.

Wide span shelving is a light-duty equivalent of a standard pallet rack. It offers versatility, access, and size the same as selective pallet racking.

This type of shelving is basically not for pallet storage but is ideal for lightweight goods as mentioned. It is common in baskets and small item storage. Besides, it can be stacked to form shelf-supported mezzanine structure to enhance vertical storage.

When businesses require multiple levels of storage or accessibility in a small footprint, industrial shelving is ideal. This type offers a capacity ranging from 300 to 1,000 pounds per shelf level.

It can support the installation of dividers, drawers and other accessories to enhance product storage. Industrial shelving widely applied in automotive and electronics sector for small parts storage.

It is less durable than pallet racking or wide span shelving. But it requires a lower investment per storage location.

Make Wise Investments

Whether your business needs shelving or racking, it depends. It is essential to consider the weight and size of the product for storage.

For example, if you are going to store pharmaceutical, it is better to opt for shelving. Whereas for things like sports equipment, big-size machinery spare parts pallet racking is best.

There is no strict rule for the application of only one type. So, businesses can also use both together for different purposes. But that needs some planning before deciding.

If you think forklifts are unnecessary for the products you deal with, shelving can be the option. The same holds good for vice versa.

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Rizwan Khira

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