Guide to the Common Types of Industrial Shelving

on February 07, 2024

Definitions vary, but industrial shelving is generally considered to be heavy duty shelving that is designed for safe and easy human access for hand loading and unloading. This differentiates it, in a practical sense, from pallet racking, which is designed for storing heavier items that require the aid of forklifts and powered, material handling equipment.

There are a number of types of industrial Shelving that can be used in commercial environments such as a warehouse, factory or an industrial unit. Selecting the right type of industrial shelving is crucial for optimizing space utilisation and enhancing workflow. In this guide, we will explore the different types of industrial shelving available, their unique features, and the ideal applications for each type.


Types of Industrial Shelving

Set out below is a description of the most common industrial shelving options available. Each is designed to accommodate specific storage needs and requirements.


Long Span Shelving

Long span shelving (see image below) is open, flexible, heavy duty shelving that can be used singly in a garage/ shed or scaled up to provide bulk storage in a warehouse. It is a cost-effective way to bolster your storage capacity.


Longspan Industrial Shelving

Long span, warehouse shelving typically costs a fraction of the price of pallet racking. It can accommodate a wide range of items, including automotive and other spare parts, hardware, bulk retail items, and general-purpose carton and archive storage.

Falcon Shelving has a wide range of long span shelving, which you can see here. We have a warehouse presence in both Sydney and Melbourne, if you wish to pick up or we can deliver to almost anywhere in Australia.


Rivet Shelving

Similar in overall shape to long span shelving, rivet shelving is essentially a cheaper, lighter duty option. Although using a different method of attachment, it also slots together and can be assembled without the need for tools.

This type of shelving often comes flat packed for easy shipping.


Wire Shelving

Wire shelving is a highly versatile option for general light weight storage. An important aspect of wire shelving is that it is hygienic. Air can flow easily between the gaps in the wires, which helps with temperature regulation and preventing the accumulation of dust and debris.

This is crucial for temperature-sensitive items and perishable goods, including food, beverages, and pharmaceuticals.

It is easy to assemble and requires minimal maintenance.

There are several different options depending on the storage environment and types of products you handle. The wire can be coated with chrome or epoxy or made from stainless steel.


Chrome Wire Shelving

A chrome coating provides moisture and corrosion resistance as well as durability. This makes it suitable for wet and humid environments, such as cool rooms.


Epoxy-Coated Wire Shelving

Epoxy or powder-coated wire racking both looks good and is highly durable. This makes it ideal in healthcare, food service, and retail settings. It can be used for cold room storage.


Stainless Steel Wire Shelving

Stainless steel wire shelving is hygienic, durable and corrosion resistant. It is commonly used in food processing, pharmaceutical, and clean-room environments.


Mobile Shelving

Mobile shelving is fitted with wheels or casters that enable it to be moved and compacted together when not in use. The casters can be fitted with brakes that secure the shelving, when it is not in use. It can be a good option when space is limited and allocating a dedicated space for the required shelving and access is not feasible.

They can store the same amount of stock as a fixed shelving unit, but in a smaller space. If you need to open up an aisle space to access an item, then the shelves can be moved around.


Steel Shelving (aka R.E.T Shelving or RUT Shelving)

Steel shelving is also known as R.E.T. (Rolled Edge Type) or R.U.T. (Rolled Upright Type) shelving. It is designed like a bookcase with a solid steel back and sides and shelves that can be adjusted up and down.

There is open access from the front, which makes it ideal for hand picking of small, light to medium duty items off the shelf. Like long span shelving it can be set up as a single bay or installed side by side in a long row.

This type of heavy duty shelving is ideal for general storage in an warehouse or office environment, where strong reliable shelving is required. It can be combined with accessories such dividers and plastic trays for small parts storage in a warehouse. Alternatively, it can also be used in offices for file and archive box storage. The design flexibility afforded by steel shelving makes it easy to integrate into a wide range of environments, including: industrial warehouses, storerooms, libraries, museums, retail outlets and offices.


Add Doors and You Have a Cabinet

From a manufacturing point of view, a steel cabinet is essentially a steel shelving unit with a set of doors added. This allows cabinets to be easily integrated into a system of steel shelving.

Lockable steel cabinets can be used to store valuable, sensitive or potentially hazardous items. They are ideal for offices, public buildings, libraries, schools, workshops, manufacturing and industrial work places.


Benefits of Industrial Shelving

Industrial shelving offers a number of benefits, it:

  • is quick and easy to set up
  • makes use of valuable vertical space
  • comes with a variety of load limits to suit multiple applications
  • is adaptable and can be moved, added to or removed and transported to a new location easily
  • is customizable and can be configured to store different sized products, making it a good option when there is seasonal demand or high volumes of different sized products.
  • is ideal for manual put away and picking
  • is great for organizing small items and can be combined with plastic bins, labels and dividers
  • is durable, resistant to corrosion, can withstand impacts from machinery and is resistant to problems from temperature fluctuation


Key Considerations When Choosing Industrial Shelving

There are three basic steps to determining the best mix of industrial storage shelving for your needs. First, establish your storage requirements in terms of weight capacity, available floor and vertical space, and accessibility. Consider the size and shape of your space, ease of access as well as any potential obstructions or hazards.

Second, review the items you intend to store in relation to the features required in the shelving and the best way to organize your inventory. This process will help identify any potential problems and also help to optimize access and workflow.

Third, allow for future growth and the potential to add more storage down the track. It’s easier to add some more shelving than move to new premises and most industrial shelving is adjustable and scalable. This forward planning will allow your shelving system evolve as your needs change.

As a final check, make sure you have addressed the common issues that arise with industrial shelving in terms of: stability on uneven ground, appropriate corrosion resistance, safety and adjustability.



Choosing the right type of industrial shelving is essential for optimizing your storage capacity. Understanding the various options described above will enable you to make informed decisions about how best to design and implement your industrial shelving system. With the right planning your shelving system will be a valuable investment that will keep your business working efficiently for many years.


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