Choosing Industrial Shelving While Paying Attention to Industry Standards

May 14, 2020 2:48 pm

Going into the details of industrial metal shelving and the MHI/SMA standards pertaining to them can be tedious, difficult to follow, and expensive. On the other hand, ignoring them can turn out to be much more costly in the long run.

One of the reasons those standards can be difficult to navigate is that they are written for manufacturers, with the appropriate language meant to be understood by engineers. And while customers do not need to know every detail regarding those specs, they would do well to know them in general terms.

This will ensure the proper equipment is used for industrial shelving systems and other parts of the warehouse and shipping dock for both financial and safety reasons. MHI’s written docs are far from comprehensive and should not constitute legal advice but can give a good general idea regarding this topic.

Steel is safest when choosing industrial metal shelving. MHI’s SMA works with ANSI (short for the American National Standards Institute) to set the guidelines industrial shelving systems manufacturers are then obligated to follow. There is a tendency to focus on steel, mostly overlooking other materials.

It is important to ensure the connections are up to standard. Once the shelving has been chosen and delivered, more care should be taken in installing it properly.

Sagging shelves are not as uncommon as one might think. The professional term for this occurrence is deflection, and describes a situation when a shelf gets deformed by the weight of items set on it. Industry standard sets a limit of 1/180 which is the angle of deflection still deemed safe. Everything beyond it is unsafe and should be avoided. Matching the weight capacity of industrial shelving units to the intended wares to be stored on them is therefore critically important.

There is also the additional consideration of seismic risk in certain zones where earthquakes, mild as they may be, might compromise the safety of a facility. Those lead to different design requirements that should also be followed. First, the building codes in an area need to be followed when choosing the facility, and matching industrial shelving systems should be chosen and carefully positioned to fully follow safety requirements.

Lastly, only reputable suppliers and installers should be trusted to provide and install industrial metal shelving that would follow those rules. Learn more about industrial shelving solutions by contacting WPSS.

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