Wire racks are horizontal wire forms used to store and display a variety of products. The base surface upon which such items are placed is composed of several interwoven or latticed metal strands.
Though similar to wire shelves in that both are designed for the maximization or vertical and horizontal space, the term wire racks more often refers to smaller units or those ledges not made to stand alone.
Wire racks are often stack-able or designed with multiple tiers to provide added vertical space as needed for the storage or display of commercial and retail goods. In addition to promotional uses, industrial applications for wire racks abound.
Cooling and drying racks, for example, are commonly made of wire as it provides support while maintaining air flow to the items. While storage racks are commonly level, display and cooling racks are sometimes tilted slightly, allowing goods or excess materials to slide forward.
Wire displays and other tilted units often undergo wire bending to create a forward lip or curve that will prevent items from sliding completely off of the shelf.
Additional finishes such as painting, threading, coating, heat treating and electro-polishing may be performed during rack production to best suit a given application. Casters may likewise be added to the base of each supporting post in complete rack units in order to increase mobility.
Before additional features and coatings can be added, wire racks begin with the production of wire. Wire drawing passes various types of stock metal through progressively smaller dies. Each die lessens the diameter and the process continues until the desired thickness and shape is reached.
Wires made of aluminum, copper, brass, stainless steel and a number of other ferrous and non-ferrous metals are then welded or woven together to form wire grids or screens which undergo wire forming to become a rack. Cutting, bending and heat treating all qualify as forming processes as they alter the shape, appearance or physical properties of the metal strands.
The manufacturing processes selected for the production of a rack must be carefully considered with regards for the intended use of a unit as they have considerable impact on strength and load capacity. The combined weight of all items to be placed on a rack should never exceed the load capacity as this could lead to potentially dangerous and costly mechanical failure.
The slit or gap size between wires is also of concern and should be smaller than the smallest item the rack will hold to prevent such items from falling through or becoming stuck. Overall dimensions such as height, length and width must adhere to not only the products, but the available space as well.