Polymer, solid, louvered, wire, welded, chrome, zinc, epoxy coated, stainless steel, adjustable, cleanable.
The purpose for shelving is to maximize your storage space while using a product that will give long life in the conditions that are present. Dry storage shelving is not usually subjected to the humidity and rust conditions that are present in walk-ins. Every application for shelving is slightly different, depending on what is to be stored, where it is to be stored, who will be doing the loading and unloading and the size of the products to be stored.
Most school foodservice applications prefer wire or polymer shelving over solid. Wire allows air circulation around the food products. It is also considerably less expensive to purchase. In dry storage applications zinc or chrome is normally used. They are not in the corrosive environment of the walk-in, so do not need to have the enhanced corrosion resistance of epoxy. However, they are difficult to keep clean. The epoxy or polymer is the recommended finish for the walk-ins. The corrosion resistance varies from one manufacturer to another, so great care should be used in deciding which product to specify or approve. Less expensive is not necessarily better; In fact it is usually costlier in the long run as products have to be replaced. Stainless steel is almost never used in school applications, because it can cost up to twice as much as polymer or epoxy coated. There is also now available tracktype shelving, which allows the units to be mobile, allowing for maximum storage space. There are also many options available, such as ledges, dividers, pan slides, etc.
A major consideration today, with the health department inspections getting tighter, is to insure cleanability of the storage products. New adjustable units with removable polymer mats are gaining popularity rapidly. Also, units are now available with anti-bacterial material impregnated in the shelving.
When specifying shelving, you should include a sketch of the area where it is to go, showing the layout. You should label wherever dunnage is to be used. You must also specify the height of the units, taking into consideration, overhead room available. Beware of coils in walk-ins; order shorter units in these areas.
There are many available manufacturers for these products. Ask your sales rep to provide you with samples of the product he has, in the finish that you will need. Be sure that the units have the adjustability you require for changing needs in the storage area. It is often a good idea to get the reps help in sketching the area for maximum space utilization. He will also be aware of any new technologies available.