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A quick search will reveal that there are many different shelving options out there and that the price varies quite a bit for what seem initially to be similar units. How do you choose between them - is it just price? Here are some of the main features to look for.
One of the key differences will be how much weight the longspan unit is rated to carry. This will usually be expressed as the maximum number of kilograms that a pair of beams or shelf level can carry as a Uniformly Distributed Load (UDL) e.g. 300Kg per pair of beams UDL. Each unit will also have a total maximum carrying capacity.
The load capacity of a longspan unit will depend on the quality and weight of steel used in its construction, as well as the bracing that is used in the uprights, beams and decks.
Longspan decks or shelves can be made of steel, timber or steel mesh.
It's important that longspan units are stable, especially if the floor is uneven or heavy loads are anticipated on the uppermost shelves of the unit. Here are some of the things to look for:
Are the units easy to assemble, adjust and expand? Can they be easily dismantled, adjusted and re-installed if requirements change?
Does the design of the units allow them to be connected together into pairs or longer rows of shelving? Being able to connect starter bays with one or more addon bays can improve storage space and reduce the investment required (one upright is saved each time a connection is made).
Being able to buy individual components on their own can be important if you have a special requirement or if you wish to add an extra shelf down the track.
Bottom line - do the units look good? Do they look solid and professional? Will the finish last and continue to look good for years down the track?