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Mobile shelving explained: everything you need to know

9th October 2023

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Mobile shelving is often transformative for businesses, offering substantial benefits over static shelving that can save them time and money. However, many people are still unaware of exactly what mobile shelving is, and the advantages it has. Here’s everything you need to know about mobile shelving: what it is, how it works, and why it’s such a useful storage option.


What is high-density mobile shelving?

High-density mobile shelving is an efficient storage solution designed to maximise the use of floor space. Instead of static shelves, high-density mobile shelving units are affixed to low-friction wheels, which allow the shelves to move along floor-mounted rails or tracks.

The shelves are compressed together when not in use, with only one aisle needing to be created at a time to access the required shelves. This eliminates the need for multiple fixed access aisles, allowing more items to be stored in the same footprint compared to traditional shelving, or the same amount of items to be stored in a smaller footprint.

The space efficiency of high-density mobile shelving makes it ideal for environments where space is at a premium. The different configurations of high-density mobile shelving and ability to lock the unit allow it to be used in libraries, corridors, waiting rooms, and other public-facing areas with no risk of unwanted access.


How does mobile shelving work?

Mobile shelving operates on a system of carriages and rails. Each shelving unit is mounted on a carriage that moves laterally along rails or tracks embedded into or placed on the floor. Some mobile shelving (such as mobile picture racking) may also be ceiling-mounted to allow the racks to hang down, ideal for the storage and display of art or other items.

By turning a handle or pressing a button (in the case of powered systems), the shelves move smoothly along the rails, creating an access aisle wherever it’s needed. This allows for multiple shelving units to be positioned closely together, with the user creating an aisle where and when they require access.

Once the item or items have been retrieved, the shelves can then be closed and compacted together again. Mobile shelving systems can be provided with a locking mechanism to prevent them from being opened by unauthorised personnel, allowing storage units to be placed in public-facing areas with complete peace of mind.


What is the importance of mobile shelving?

Mobile shelving is primarily important because of the space it saves. By eliminating the need for multiple fixed aisles, mobile shelving can increase storage capacity by up to 50% within the same floor space. This can have a transformative effect on businesses who might otherwise need to relocate or pay for offsite storage to fulfil their storage needs.

The modular design of mobile shelving systems also allows for customisation based on specific needs, as well as allowing it to be easily expanded or relocated. This makes it high adaptable to changing market conditions, and suitable for various industries and storage items. The systematic arrangement also means that retrieval and inventory management become more streamlined.

Mobile shelving also offers security that static shelving lacks, which can be a differential factor. Mobile shelving units can be designed to be lockable, ensuring that stored items are secure and protected from unauthorised access. This can provide an added layer of protection within a locked storage area, or protect shelves within a public-facing area.


What is the difference between static shelves and mobile shelves?

The primary distinction is mobility. Static shelves are fixed in place and don’t move, requiring a separate access aisle for each row. In contrast, mobile shelves can be moved to create a single adjustable access aisle, optimising space usage.

Mobile shelves typically use floor space more efficiently, as they reduce the number of access aisles required. Static shelves need multiple aisles, consuming more floor space for the same amount of storage. The enclosed nature of mobile shelving also means it is easier to keep clean and away from sunlight, ideal for the storage of sensitive items.

While both types of shelves can be customised, mobile shelves also tend to offer more modularity and adaptability. Mobile shelving is lockable, and can be branded to suit its surroundings, as well as modified to hold different types of containers. This allows businesses to adjust the system as their needs change.


What is roller racking?

Roller racking, often used interchangeably with mobile shelving, is a type of storage system where shelves are mounted on rolling carriages that move along tracks or rails. The rolling mechanism allows users to move heavy shelves with ease, providing quick access to the stored items.

Roller racking may be used to distinguish from mobile shelving where larger systems are involved, such as large library shelving or stock storage units. Roller racking systems are particularly useful in environments where space is limited, and there’s a need to maximise storage capacity. They’re widely used in libraries, offices, archives, and more due to their space-saving and efficient design.


What are Lloyd George patient records?

Lloyd George patient records are notes kept on patients by GPs. Named after former Prime Minister David Lloyd George, these standardised envelopes and records include the medical and treatment history of a patient, along with other pertinent information.

An estimated 3 billion Lloyd George patient records were thought to be held by UK GPs as of 2020. Despite a move to digitise these records, there is still an enormous demand for physical storage, both for surgeries that have not digitised and to keep physical copies as a backup.

Mobile shelving is relevant to Lloyd George patient records as they are an extremely common storage item. Our mobile shelving can be easily configured to store Lloyd George notes, and we have undertaken numerous projects for NHS surgeries and other facilities across the UK, where space and cost requirements make mobile shelving an ideal choice.


What are the advantages of storing information physically as opposed to digital copies?

Storing physical documents in mobile shelving creates certainty when it comes to data protection. As opposed to digital records, which can easily be lost, copied, or stolen, physical records can be easier to secure and protect.

Physical records may also be easier to locate and access for GDPR requirements, where personal data needs to be made available to customers, clients or users when requested. Mobile shelving can allow the storage of records that would otherwise not fit on-site, and would have to be stored at an external facility.

Some records also simply need to be stored physically, due to their value, historical significance, or legal requirements. In these cases, mobile shelving provides a secure, clean, efficient, and highly adaptable storage environment for valuable and unique items.

Any further questions? Explore our blog posts here, or check out our Systems pages using the menus above. Alternatively, contact us today to discuss your unique storage requirements.

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