Shelving Users Guide

Choosing and setting up shelving can be a difficult task. There are many steps involved and poor decisions can lead to damaged products or serious injuries. Following the steps below will make purchasing and installing shelving easier.

1. Codes: Before installing shelving it is very important to check federal, state, local, fire and building codes. Many times your shelving supplier or local municipal engineer can help you with code compliance.

2. Layout: Consider all dimensions of shelving, keep in mind the width and turning radius of fork trucks.

3. Shelf Selection: Carefully consider the load that is going to be placed on the shelving. Multiple stacking of items is acceptable but will reduce post capacity. Also keep in mind that shelves are rated using evenly distributed loads. Deflection must also be considered, some deflection is acceptable but might be unwanted due to functionality or aesthetics.

4. Upright Post Loading: After selecting a shelf, select the upright posts. Remember that as distance between shelves increases the capacity of posts decreases.

5. Bracing: Side and back bracing prevents sway and lateral movement. There are many types of bracing available including bars, straps or angles placed in an “X” shape. Bracing must be placed in the proper position to be effective. Any reputable shelving distributor should be able to assist you with shelving bracing.

6. Plumbness: Installing shelving on an uneven surface can reduce the overall load rating. Use shims to keep your shelving plumb on an uneven floor.

7. Anchoring: Anchoring is one of the most important shelving components. Without proper anchoring shelving can overturn or shift position. The most popular anchoring system is a steel footplate attached to the vertical post with a bolt running through the footplate to the floor. Another less common method is to attach the shelving unit directly to the building. A qualified engineer must check the building’s structural integrity before using this method of anchoring.

8. Collision Protection: Material Handling vehicles pose a risk to all types of shelving systems. Collisions can not only knock items off the shelves but may permanently damage and reduce the load capacity of the shelves. Corner protectors and guards do a good job of keep fork trucks, stackers, and pallet jacks away from expensive shelving.

9. Floor Protection: The type and capacity of the floor the shelving system is mounted to also plays a role in determining the overall capacity of a shelving unit.

10. Concentrated Loads: All theoretical load capacities are based on the idea of an evenly distributed load. Unfortunately, a perfectly evenly distributed load doesn’t exist in the real world. A non-evenly distributed load will put more stress on the shelf. Most manufacturers factor in this variable but it is important not to stretch the capacity.

11. Impact Loading: Dropping an item on a shelf creates an impact. Impacts are not part of an evenly distributed load and can cause failure if care is not taken. Reinforcements or angles can help with impact loading.

12. Maintenance: Shelving should always be inspected for loose bolts, damaged posts or shelves and proper seating of shelves and clips.