Shelf life - Your introductory guide to shelving and racking


Metro Shelving Logo

Grand Designs

If the aesthetics of shelving and storage equipment are a priority, which can often be the case in the retail, hotel and leisure industries, then a product that combines functionality with great looks is essential, and this is where Metro’s products continually stand out from the crowd. Slingsby became Metro’s exclusive UK distributor more than 50 years ago and we’re now one of Europe’s largest suppliers of this stylish shelving and storage solution.

The quality and versatility of Metro’s products have always been attractive to retailers of all shapes and sizes and the introduction of Microban technology, which inhibits the growth of bacteria, is quickly making the brand popular with the healthcare and food processing industries.

The product’s contemporary and robust design style are also attracting domestic customers including a well-known TV presenter who wanted Metro shelving in their kitchen, a premiership footballer who built a wardrobe using Metro’s products, and it’s even been installed on a super yacht for a Middle Eastern royal family, where nothing but the best would do!

Metro Shelving at Slingsby

Shelving & Racking Guide

Your Introductory Guide To Shelving And Racking.

Shelving allows a versatile and cost effective method of storing anything, from office filing, to large warehouse pallets.

The type and quantity of items you need to store, the space you have available and its location will help determine which shelving type will best suit your purpose.

The weight shelves will have to support is a big factor in determining their suitability. The capacity of a shelf is given in kilograms but is given assuming a ‘uniformly distributed load’. For example, if a shelf has a capacity of 150kg UDL it can be used to hold 5 items of 30kg spaced along its length. If a single item of 150kg is placed in the centre of the shelf, it may well bow and even cause the shelf to collapse. It is therefore recommended that you use a shelf capacity in excess of the weight of the items to be stored. Tubular steel shelves give more support, and a stronger shelf, without need for the load to be evenly distributed.

The material which shelves are constructed from has a bearing on their use. Painted steel is suitable for most indoor uses, but the rust proofing properties of galvanised steel makes it particularly suitable for use in damp environments indoors or out. Stainless steel is easily cleaned, and a more hygienic alternative, suitable for laboratory or food use.

Many shelving units use a shelf surface supported by beams on the sides and ends. The shelf surfaces themselves can be basic chipboard; melamine surfaced chipboard, which is easier to wipe down and clean; galvanised steel, which protects the steel from rusting in damp conditions; or stainless steel and plastic, which allow shelves to be washed down.

The traditional method of construction is by using nuts and bolts to join uprights and shelves together which can be quite time consuming, though these often give a more flexible shelf height. Also the ability to fix shelves either way up which can create a useful lip to contain items and stop them falling off the shelf. Modern boltless designs however have components which are quick and easy to slot together with just the use of a rubber mallet to tap them into place.

Many types of shelving have uprights and shelves, and these are offered as starter bays with add on bays available seperately, so that when a run of bays is put together, there is a cost saving on the use of uprights.


Bar racking at SlingsbyCold store shelving at SlingsbyTake a look at the following product highlights, which illustrate the main differences between the types of shelving on offer. It might help you to make a decision as to which product would be most appropriate for your needs.

Cold Stores - Stainless steel or aluminium shelving is suitable for food use in cold temperatures. Also look out for shelving with an antibacterial coating.

Display Shelving - Looks are the most important feature here, and chrome wire shelving creates the right ambience with sufficient strength and flexibility in use. Wire shelving can also be Display Shelving at Slingsbyfound in an all black finish, and some plastic Warehouse Racking at Slingsbyshelving can provide an economical display option.

Bar Racking - Consists of cantilever arms from a central post to hold tubes, pipes, beams and other large and bulky items which do not fit on standard racking.

Warehouse Racking - This utilises a fully constructed and braced frame at each end of heavy duty beams. The beams can be used to support chipboard or galvanised steel panels. Heavier duty versions can be used to support distribution pallets of merchandise, but can also support timber panels or mesh decks to support non-palletised goods.

Office Shelving at SlingsbyGarage Shelving at SlingsbyGarage Shelving - Often narrow shelving is used to leave maximum space for the vehicle. The increasing use of Summer and Winter tyres on vehicles necessitates the storage of the unwanted set, and tyre storage racking is now available.

Office Shelving - Usually of at least 400mm depth to house paperwork. The sides and backs of certain units can be clad to give the look of an open fronted cupboard. This can be further enhanced by the use of delta edge units, where none of the shelf joint work is visible.

Warehouse Stores - Often constructed as aisles, so deeper shelving of 600mm can be approached from both sides. Units can be Archive Shelving at SlingsbyWarehouse Stores Racling and Shelving at Slingsbyspecified with wire mesh shelf decks which will allow fire extinguisher sprinkler water to fall through in the event of a fire, increasingly being requested for insurance purposes. Also available as cage shelving for the secure storage of valuable goods.

Archive Shelving - The heavy weight of boxes containing paper necessitates the use of heavy duty shelving.