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High Density Shelving Design Guidelines

High-density shelving systems come in many different shapes and sizes for hundreds of different storage applications. High density shelving systems are composed of tracks anchored into your floor with moveable and fixed carriages sitting atop the tracks. On top of the carriages will sit any of dozens of different types of shelving systems or cabinets for your storage needs.

Each ASA member is well versed in the design of high density shelving and offers unique and different products and services. The sections below will answers some general questions your architect or design firm has in preparing for a new storage system set up. For hands on assistance with your planning and budgeting needs, please contact your local ASA member by filling out a form or calling them direct.

11 Considerations for High-Density Shelving Design:

1. High-Density Shelving Structural Track Considerations

High-density shelving structural tracks are available in standard or seismic anti-tip versions depending on the requirements of the project. Structural track spacing can be adjusted to meet floor loads requirements for facilities in high-rises. Structural tracks can be embedded in concrete for flush installs or anchored onto existing slabs using an elevated deck and ADA compliant entry ramp for system access.

2. High-Density Shelving Wheel Assemblies

Not all high-density manufacturers offer the same wheel assembly sizes. The size of the wheels in your high-density system will help to determine how much weight the system can hold and how many turns of the handle in a mechanical system it takes to open an aisle. 1″ wheel assemblies require 16-20 handle rotations to open a 36″ wide aisle. 3″ wheel assemblies require 10-12 handle rotations to open a 36″ wide aisle. 5″ wheels assemblies require 6-8 handle rotations to open a 36″ wide aisle.

3. High-Density Moveable and Fixed Carriages

Carriages are available in both welded and bolt and rivet models from various manufacturers. Carriages allow the storage units to roll from side to side on the structural tracks, creating collapsible aisles in the high-density system. Carriages are also rated for different pounds per lineal foot, with versions at 700, 1,000 and heavy-duty high-density systems are available at 30,000 and 60,000 pounds per lineal foot.

4. Shelving for High-Density Storage Systems

The types of shelving available for use in high-density storage systems include four-post shelving, cantilever shelving, case style, high-density drawer systems, museum cabinets, weapon racks, pallet racking in heavy-duty systems and most other shelving types available.

5. End Panels

End panels available in high-density shelving systems range from chain box covers to full steel end panels, high-pressure laminate (HPL) end panels, wood veneer and fabric covering. Each manufacturer offers various finishes and colors to decorate the face of your high-density shelving system. We can also offer custom graphics of your company logo or other decorative logos or symbols to the end panel of your high-density shelving system.

6. High-Density Shelving System Controls

There are three different ways to operate a high-density shelving system: manual, mechanical assist, and electric.  A Manually operating system has a fixed handle on the end panel, which requires grabbing the system and pulling the system side-to-side to create an access aisle. This system is only advised for the smallest and lightest applications for safety considerations. Mechanical assist systems are the most common and cost-efficient high-density shelving systems. Mechanical assist systems have three-spoke ergonomic handles attached to each moveable carriage in your system and rotate like a steering wheel with the spokes rotating in your hand as you rotate the handle. Electric high-density systems are the third control consideration for operating your high-density system. Electric controls allow you to operate the shelving system with the push of a button. These systems provide advanced safety features not available in the manual and mechanical assist systems.

7. Height Requirements

High-density shelving system heights vary based on your components involved including the track, wheel assembly, and carriage. On average the components will add 4″-9″ with 7″ being the most common to the height of your shelving being used.

8. Aisle Width Requirements

Aisle widths vary by local and state codes. Please check with your local ASA member for your aisle width requirements. 36″ wide aisles are the minimum average necessary aisle widths to access your high-density shelving system. Add 1-1/2″ per carriage to incorporate the true depth of each carriage. For example, a 30″ wide section of shelving would be 31-1/2″ wide on a carriage.

9. High-Density Shelving System Clearances

High-density shelving systems require a minimum of 2″ clearance from the rear wall and a minimum of 3″ overhead clearance from ceilings. Most cities follow a common regulation of 18″ of overhead clearance from fire sprinklers. Please consult with your local ASA member regarding overhead clearance regulations as fire and building regulations vary from state to state and sometimes even city to city.

10. Safety Requirements

High-density shelving systems offer several different safety requirements ranging from a mechanical aisle lock to a passive infra-red safety sweep available both in mechanical and electric systems. Please check with your local ASA member for your required safety considerations.

11. Warranty for High-Density Shelving Systems

Each manufacturer offers its own unique product warranty. Your local ASA member will present the product warranty available with their presentation/proposal.

Contact Your Local ASA Member

ASA members are ready to help you design a filing and storage system that will maximize space and productivity in your workplace. To learn more, find the ASA member in your area or fill out a form to have a member contact you.