Taking lessons from how libraries maximize storage space: High Density Shelving

High density shelving, a storage system designed to eliminate wasted space, could very well be dubbed the superhero of storage. Its mission? Helping businesses of all types overcome space and organization issues.


High density shelving systems minimize the wasted aisle space you get with traditional storage shelves, stacking items higher to optimize every inch of your storage areas. But it's not all about cramming in as much as possible - these systems are designed with safety and accessibility at their core.


Yet, the benefits of high density shelving extend beyond storage. This versatile metal shelf rack solution holds a significant role in a company's operational strategy. It can dramatically cut inventory and retrieval times, ignite productivity, and elevate customer service standards, making it a true game-changer.


So, What Exactly is High density Shelving?


In layman’s terms, it’s an industrial shelving solution based on the idea of condensing as many stored items as possible into the smallest space. It does this through two main types of shelving units - top track (aka 'top rack') and bottom track (aka 'sliding storage'). We’ll get into those in more depth in a second, but just know that with High density shelving you’re getting the same amount of storage capacity as regular shelving in roughly 50% of the space.


Another key part of this innovative solution is to eliminate the spaces between traditional rows of shelving and box shelves, which are known as access aisles. These are redundant; a literal waste of space. As every inch costs money, they can save you a lot of it; or, help you make the most of what you already have.



Top Track Systems
Top Track Systems

Nexel® Space-Track

Bottom Track Systems
Bottom Track Systems

Nexel® Space-Track

Understanding Top Track Systems

Also known as “top rack”, top track systems employ a guide track at the storage structure's pinnacle, ensuring a smooth and precise movement of the storage units. Picture a librarian ladder gliding along a rail; it's a similar concept, but applied to your entire storage system. This design optimizes vertical space, often overlooked in many warehouses or storage facilities, by creating a vertical storage solution similar to a skyscraper.


However, despite their many advantages, top track systems do have some limitations. The primary issue is the difficulty of accessing higher shelves. Without mechanical aids, reaching items stored at high levels can be challenging. The need for such aids may slightly increase operational costs, but the trade-off for saved floor space (and money) can justify that spend.   


Choose Nexel® Space-Trac for Top Track Shelving

Feature movable shelves mounted on an overhead track, these units provide easy access to inventory while freeing up floor valuable space. With an open wire design for air, light, and sprinkler penetration, with minimum dust accumulation, Nexel® Space-Trac metal shelving is available in chrome and Poly-Z-Brite finishes. They both come in various widths, depths lengths, and allow for a different number of shelves (the 3 tier shelf is a popular choice) so that they are fully customizable to suit your space.


Exploring Bottom Track Systems

These sliding systems have the guide track mounted on the floor, providing a robust foundation for sturdy support and smooth movement of storage units. This system excels in handling heavier items, making it a reliable choice for storing hefty goods in warehouse operations.

Nevertheless, a floor-mounted guide track can pose as a tripping hazard and requires regular cleaning to maintain unimpeded movement of the units. Dust, debris, or any obstruction on the track can disrupt your storage system's smooth operation. Regular maintenance, though, is a manageable requirement for efficient space utilization when storing heavy goods.


Equipto Lateral Shelving is Ideal for Bottom Track Applications

When you have a lot of heavy-duty products and pieces of equipment to store, and need access to them quickly and easily, these lateral mobile shelving units feature a High density system with movable steel shelves that slide side-to-side along heavy-duty tracks.

Now, let’s take a look at the many useful applications for this space-saving, money-saving, sanity-saving solution to your storage woes.


Warehouse and Logistic Center Applications

Every square foot in a warehouse or logistic center equates to costs. High density steel shelving maximizes each foot, enabling businesses to house more items within the same space, and minimizing the need for extra storage areas and their related costs.

Stacking shelves vertically increases the capacity for heavy-duty storage while reducing the warehouse footprint. A clean and clutter-free workspace is maintained, contributing to a safer, more efficient work environment. And by using vertical space, businesses can store a larger volume of goods, translating to lower inventory costs and improved operational efficiency.


Boosting Operations for Increased Productivity

High density shelving plays a crucial role in streamlining operations in warehouses and logistic centers. An organized shelving system allows staff to locate and access goods easily, enhancing operation, reducing time wasted searching for items, and speeding up loading and unloading of goods. It also cuts down the time taken for inventory management, freeing up time for other essential business activities. Here, bottom rack shelving is ideal for storing:


  • Industrial Tools and Equipment: High density shelving can hold heavy, bulky tools and equipment, ensuring easy access and safe storage.
  • Food Products: Maintain an organized inventory of various food products, ensuring they remain fresh and easy to locate.
  • Automotive Parts: Store large quantities of small to medium-sized parts, allowing for quicker assembly and repair processes.
  • Textiles: Rolls of fabric and other textiles can be neatly stored and easily accessed, preserving their quality and making them easier to retrieve when needed.


The Power of High Density Shelving in Retail


When it comes to retail environments, high density shelving shines in its efficient use of space. Unlike a traditional metal shelving unit that leave gaps and empty spaces, High density shelving uses every available inch, extending storage vertically. This allows retailers to showcase a wider variety of items within a constrained space. Both top and bottom rack shelving can be used here, depending on the weight of your inventory and the kind of space you have. Both are useful in:


  • Clothing Stores: High density shelving holds numerous hangers, displaying a variety of outfits in a small area.
  • Electronics Stores: Safely store a larger inventory of gadgets, offering customers a wider selection.
  • Bookstores: Accommodate more books and eliminate clutter, improving the browsing experience.
  • Tool Stores: Organize tools and power equipment neatly, helping DIYers and contractors to easily find their products.


Streamlined Storage for Essential Medical Supplies


High density shelving transforms hospitals and medical centers into organized, efficient spaces. It ensures that all critical medical supplies - pharmaceuticals, surgical equipment, patient records, and linens - are readily available. This easy access boosts response times during emergencies and allows for more focus on patient care. Again, choose top track for lighter products and bottom track heavy duty shelving for heavier loads.


Libraries and Educational Institutes

Schools, colleges and libraries house many thousands of books, and fast and easy retrieval of them is essential. Adjustable high density shelving offers the flexibility to house items of varying sizes, from large hardcover reference books to smaller paperbacks and notebooks, in easy-to-navigate spaces that save students and staff a lot of time.

And remember, whatever high density shelving solution you choose, know that you are selecting one of the best ways to keep your operation both organized and running efficiently. And that is key to saving time and money.

Shelves For Every Application? We’ve Got You Covered.

Talk to our friendly experts today and we’ll be happy to take you through the options you have available for both high density shelving, and traditional commercial shelving, to keep your business running smoothly while maximizing space and revenue.  


The information contained in this article is for informational, educational, and promotional purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. It is the reader’s responsibility to ensure compliance with all applicable laws, rules, codes and regulations. If there is any question or doubt in regard to any element contained in this article, please consult a licensed professional.  Under no circumstances will Global Industrial® be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on this article.