Case study

From light shelving to heavy duty racking, what’s your ideal archive storage solution?

Jul 7, 2021 | Shelving

An archive is a specific space in which vast quantities of historical material of value or importance is stored. The primary focus of an adequate archive storage system is to simplify management and create an organised, coordinated and systematic environment.

With the right archive storage solution, preserved items can be secured, accessed and indexed whilst space is fully utilised. These elements are crucial in archive storage environments because:

  • Items stored in an archive may no longer be in use however they still hold significant value in terms of factual data, some of which may be confidential. A secure archive storage system is designed to keep such records safe and secure, minimising the threat of theft and damage.
  • Archiving is for safe keeping, however permitting easy access where necessary is crucial, therefore an archive storage system with a simple layout and an index system in place is essential for ensuring item retrieval is straightforward.
  • Storage space costs money which is why archive storage relies on maximising storage capacity through a space saving storage solutions to keep costs down.

Multi tier archive storage

Who uses archive storage?

Archive storage is a common requirement in various commercial settings within both the private and public sectors where items that require long term storage could include:

  • Financial data
  • Medical records
  • Journals
  • Historical items
  • Films
  • Company records

Your unique archive storage solution

When it comes to archive storage, it’s not a one fits all solution. The right solution for your facility will largely depend on:

  • Item volume
  • Available space
  • Sensitivity levels
  • Security needs

WSL offer a range of archive storage solutions all of which are completely bespoke to match individual requirements, so whatever storage type is most suited to you, we will ensure the most optimum layout with maximum space utilisation.

Archive storage system

Types of archive storage systems

Archive storage is created using any of the following systems for which WSL can create a customised design to ensure you’re your exact needs are met:

Mobile shelving

When it comes to safeguarding data, mobile shelving offers both security and protection. The enclosed shelving structure shields the contents stored from exposure to light and dust whilst keeping them out of immediate view. This makes mobile shelving a favourable option for those storing confidential medical records, financial data or personal information.

The shelves are fitted onto a mobile base to allow the frontal faces to come together forming an encased unit. These can even be locked once closed to help ensure access is limited to certain times only or to authorised persons only. The unit once closed, will help protect the items inside against accidental damage from the surrounding environment and from being lost or stolen.

The shelves open and close manually using a turning wheel fitted to the end of the rows, or manoeuvring can be electronically assisted.

The condensed units make way for significantly more storage capacity than that of a static shelving system. When using mobile shelving, the need for fixed working aisle space is eliminated and up to 90% of floor space can be utilised for storage purposes. One working aisle is available at one time, making this an ideal solution in slow paced operations where access is not regularly required.

A mobile shelving system can be purposely designed and built to match your space and operational requirements with the inclusion of a wide choice of accessories to help keep your shelving organised. To name a few these include:

  • Labels and label holders – Fitted to the end of the row and on each section to help index your items making them easy to locate.
  • File rails – Fitted to the underside of the shelves allowing suspension pocket files to be fitted.
  • Pull out drawers – Allowing you to store smaller items in high volume whilst keeping them all in one place
  • Lock-up drawers – keeping high value items secure
  • Pull out shelves – These can be used as additional temporary storage or work desks to enable operators to fill in paper work.
  • File dividers – To create sections for each type of documentation

Mobile Shelving system

Long span shelving

A very robust shelving structure, long span shelving is most suited to heavy weight and bulky archive storage requirements. The system can accommodate vast quantities of large, heavy containers, boxed items or individual files with ease thanks to its heavy duty framework. Made up of steel uprights and a choice of timber, chipboard, mesh wire or steel decks, long span shelving is built to last whilst offering flexibility and versatility. The shelves offer the opportunity to store multiple item types at once and can be adjusted to suite your changing needs by simply moving the shelves to a different height or changing the length of the row.

To gain as much storage as possible within a limited floor space, long span shelving can be built upwards too, creating a multi tier shelving system. Floors are fitted between the shelving rows with staircases for access and even a lift to assist the transportation of heavy loads between levels.  This can double or even triple the storage that a single level can offer, without the need to extend the area outwards however adequate height space will be required.

Rows, sections and floors can be labelled to help locate specific items and access is direct with high visibility.

long span shelving


Short span shelving

If you’re looking for something simple and cost effective, short span shelving could be your ideal solution. Similar to mobile shelving but without the wheels, short span shelving can store in high volumes and in an organised manner with optional accessories which include lockable drawers, dividers, filing accessories or trays.

Because there is no need for handling equipment, the shelves can be positioned to create narrow aisles that allow enough space to walk between the shelves. This opens an opportunity to add further shelving units and increase storage capacity. Another space saving configuration that could work for you would be to place the slim shelving units along the wall.

Heavy duty racking

When quantities are hugely vast, a heavy duty racking system is a viable option. This allows you to condense your archive items onto pallets which can be placed onto a robust pallet racking system. This is ideal when the archived items are very rarely required, however it is crucial to ensure an index system is adopted to save time picking and looking through multiple pallets unnecessarily. Labels can be placed on the end uprights, the shelf edges or the pallets themselves at the frontal face to ensure visibility. For smaller pallets, decking can be fitted to create a shelf rather than two paralleled beams with a wide gap between them. Decking types include steel, wired mesh, timber or chipboard. See our guide to choosing the right decking type to discover the right decking type for your requirements. Decking also allows you to place archive boxes directly onto the formed shelf without the need to use pallets which makes locating individual boxes easier. The space between each shelf can be reduced in accordance to the box height and this will create room for more levels along the same row. The individual boxes however cannot be accessed by a fork lift truck, and instead a man-up truck is used which transports an operator to the required level to pick a box manually. Upper floor levels could also be incorporated to create a multi tier picking system.

Archive heavy duty racking

Your archive storage solution, by WSL

You could be looking to fill a large warehouse space with archive storage systems, or you may require a simple shelving system within a small room. Either way you’ll receive a tailored service with the highest level of attentiveness by our team who will use their deep knowledge and extensive experience to create your unique solution.

Our process begins at your site where one of our highly experienced designers will meet with you in person to discuss your individual needs. Begin this process today by calling 0113 2045350 or email to arrange your free site survey

Get started

Discuss Your Project

Our service is completely client-centric. We provide all manufacturer types, as well as fitters, engineers and inspectors; which means that not only can we deliver your entire project from start to finish, but that we can provide a fully bespoke solution for your individual needs. Get in touch to find out more.