Open construction shelving systems are thought of as steel wire shelves and polymer grid shelves. Many end users are unaware of the array of options in selection of these open construction shelving systems. Performance, Quality, Flexibility and Economics are important key factors in making your decision for the most appropriate selection.
Standard Steel – Wire Shelving
Known as the original wire storage system. A revolutionary concept that was fresh and innovative from the start, nearly 30 years ago. Open wire construction permits air circulation, visibility and minimizes dust accumulation. Depending upon the manufacturer, wire shelving systems can offer a very large selection of accessory options to create unique adaptations to suit your needs. Standard steel shelving systems are offered in several finishes as follows:
Brite is an environmentally-friendly protective finish that is as brilliant as chrome. It has an extra-thick, high-gloss zinc plating that offers an economical alternative to chrome shelving. As this finish does oxidize over a period of time without compromising construction integrity or durability, it is most often specified for commercial installations in dry-storage areas.
Chrome is an electroplated finish that offers a more reflective specular surface. It does not oxidize or tarnish and minimizes scratching. This finish is most often specified for commercial installations with customer visibility and for its long term decorative appeal. If your installation is located on a coastline, be aware that the salt sea air can degrade a chrome finish and you may want to consider a “powder coat” finish.
Powder Coat finishes are electro-statically applied and then cured under heat to form a skin over the steel. The powder may be a thermoplastic or a thermoset polymer. This finish is tougher than conventional paint and the application process is more environmentally responsible than plated finishes. Powder Coat will break down if exposed continually to Uv rays between 5 to 10 years. If UV ray exposure is not an issue, a powder coat finish will retain its original appearance for many years to come. Powder Coat finishes are available in a variety of colors.
Epoxy coating is a multi-layer corrosion resistant finish consisting of a cross linked thermoset resin. It has excellent abrasion, rust, gouge and chemical resistance properties. When combined with an antimicrobial agent, it provides protection from bacteria, mold, mildew and fungi build-up that may cause odor, stains and product degradation. This finish is intended for damp locations and is widely used in the food service and health care industries. Extended limited warranties usually accompany this product against rust formation.
Stainless steel – Wire Shelving
Stainless steel, electro-polished type 304, is the ultimate product material for its recognized inherit low maintenance and antibacterial properties. It is unsurpassed for abrasion, gouge, temperature and corrosion resistance requirements. Perfect for walk-in refrigerator/freezer applications and damp locations. It is widely specified in the food service, clean room, health care, laboratory and marine environments.
Polymer – Grid Shelving
Polymer shelving offers longer-life durability and the performance of stainless steel shelving at a fraction of the cost. Today’s advanced polymers and epoxy coated steel designs offer superior performance versus wire shelving. Easy-to-clean smooth surfaces to promote a cleaner environment and higher level of safety. All shelves can be cleaned in a fraction of the time of wire. Polymer systems are lighter in weight, corrosion resistant and adapts to a wide variety of configurations and accessory items. Shelves should have reinforced stainless steel corners for strength and rigidity.
Polymer systems should offer integral built-in antimicrobial agents for protection against bacteria, mold, mildew and fungi build-up that may cause odor, stains and product degradation. Beware, some manufacturers only offer spray-on antimicrobial coatings that can wear off. However, an integral built-in antimicrobial agent within the polymer itself will provide protection for the lifetime of the shelving product. Built-in antimicrobial agents are preferred by the food service, laboratory and health care industries for their durability and unquestionable protection.
Making the best and most appropriate shelving finish selections, based on flexibility, quality and economics, will have direct impact on your storage solution requirements and the overall longevity of product performance.