Boltless shelving is a type of shelving, usually in stand alone units, that is assembled without nut and bolt fasteners. The idea behind the design of boltless shelving systems is to provide an easily adjustable and quick-to-assemble shelving unit. Many types of boltless modular shelving are available, utilizing a number of different designs both for assembly and for basic structure, some of which rely on the hardware and assembly methods to provide strength to the overall structure as well as to simply hold the pieces together.
One of the most common types of boltless shelving is wire rack shelving. This type of shelving is built using shelves constructed of heavy gauge welded wire. At each corner of the shelf, a vertical cylinder of metal is welded to the shelf structure. The legs of the unit fit through these cylinders. Wire rack shelving is found in many restaurants, shops, garages, and warehouses. It is good for light to medium duty, but is not suitable for supporting very heavy loads.
The framework of the shelving unit is the legs, which support the weight of the unit itself and anything stored on it. The legs are sturdy metal bars, usually hollow, but of a thick walled type for strength. At regular intervals, the bars are ringed by grooves, which serve as anchors for plastic clips that snap together around the entire circumference of the bars at the desired height of each shelf. The clips are slightly thicker at the bottom than at the top, so that when the shelves are placed over them, the weight of the shelf locks the clips in place, so that the legs don't slip while the clip supports the shelf. The shelves are easily adjusted by simply moving the clips and replacing the shelves.
Numerous other types of boltless shelving employ other methods of assembly and use other shelving materials. Some use vertical supports with slots in them that accept metal clips that support particle board, plywood, metal, or full-grain wooden shelves. The shelves provide stability to the unit, preventing swaying and twisting. Some types of boltless shelving are pre-assembled units, constucted from welded or riveted parts. Wall mounted boltless shelving employs metal tracks that use cantilevered shelf supports to hold shelves. Other types of boltless shelving are possible, depending on human ingenuity, such as simple garden or greenhouse shelving, constructed from stacks of concrete blocks with planks laid on them for shelves.