Wire vs. Plastic Shelving in the Healthcare Industry

In the healthcare industry, efficient storage is crucial to the overall success of patient care. Effective medical storage solutions ensure all supplies are organized and easily accessible, increasing staff efficiency and helping reduce waste from expired supplies. Additionally, well-organized storage helps support a lean management system in healthcare facilities.

Like every industry, different applications require different healthcare storage solutions. Some medical shelving can be used in nearly every application, including in supply rooms, storage areas, and sterile processing departments. Others are best suited for tasks like bin storage.

Maintaining a clean, sterile environment is of the utmost importance in hospitals, surgery centers, and other medical settings, and your healthcare storage solutions should help, rather than hinder, these efforts. Therefore, choosing the right shelving is key.

When choosing the right shelving solution for your facility, consider the application and your unique procedures. One consideration is when to use plastic and wire shelving in healthcare settings.

In this guide, we will cover the best medical shelving to use depending on the application, focusing on wire shelving vs. plastic shelving.

Wire vs. Plastic Shelving in the Healthcare Industry

Plastic Shelving: A Versatile Healthcare Storage Solution

Balance is key when it comes to the best healthcare storage solutions. You need space-saving shelving systems that can handle the many demands of this environment, including accessibility, sanitation, mobility, flexibility, organization, and security. By far, the best shelving solution for many healthcare applications is a heavy-duty polymer or plastic shelving unit.

Benefits of MetroMax Plastic Shelving for Healthcare Facilities

Plastic shelving from Metro is made from advanced polymers that make it as strong and durable as metal and wire shelving, but with several advantages. For one, all-plastic shelving will not rust or corrode, increasing the life of your shelving unit and keeping it hygienic as well as aesthetic.

Rust can wreak havoc on medical equipment, surgical instruments, and even shelving frequently exposed to harsh healthcare cleaners or wet environments. Not only is rust a contributor to hospital-associated infections (HAIs), but it can also jeopardize the integrity of healthcare equipment to work correctly and safely. Rust found during your Joint Commission survey can result in immediate remediation and potential fines, so it’s best to stick with 100% corrosion-proof shelving, like MetroMax i and MetroMax 4.

Another benefit to MetroMax plastic shelving in healthcare settings is that all units have protective polymer shelf mats. Available in solid and vented grid versions, the removable shelf mats have smooth surfaces to prevent rips and tears to valuable sterile packed items. If you’ve ever dealt with torn sterile packs from snagging on chrome or stainless-steel wire shelving, you know re-sterilization is costly and time-consuming, not to mention potential delay to the surgery schedule.

Compared to wire shelving, the polymer shelf mats included with our all-plastic shelving systems are easier to clean and keep clean. The polymer has built-in Microban® antimicrobial protection, so your products stay cleaner between regular cleanings, a must in any healthcare facility.

MetroMax i polymer shelving for sterile wraps

The Best Plastic Shelving for Healthcare Facilities

MetroMax is our most popular plastic shelving in the healthcare industry and offers a lifetime corrosion warranty. Here is a closer look at this system:

MetroMax i: MetroMax i is the best heavy-duty lifetime shelving system available to healthcare facilities today. MetroMax i provides unmatched strength, stability, and versatility for various applications. The all-plastic shelving includes stainless-steel corners, which allows MetroMax i to hold up to 1000 lbs. per shelf and 2000 lbs. per stationary unit.

While it is unlikely you’ll fit 1000lbs of supplies on a shelf, it is a testament to its strength and subsequent long-lasting performance. Its optional removable solid mat sets it apart from other options by offering one smooth continuous storage surface.

MetroMax 4: MetroMax 4 is a great alternative to wire shelving if you don’t need something as heavy-duty or seamless as MetroMax i. This lifetime shelving line is corrosion-proof, impact-resistant, has been built to handle what you store most, and rivals the weight capacity of traditional wire shelving.

Both MetroMax models can be customized as stationary or mobile units. Its advanced design complements clinical settings with a professional appearance that eliminates the industrial look that traditional wire shelving exudes. Industry-leading corrosion-resistant and corrosion-proof caster options ensure the total configuration has long life durability.

MetroMax can also be configured in Metro’s track systems. Top-Track® and qwikTRAK® provide high-density storage to maximize your storage space. MetroMax brings all of its feature sets into the high-density systems to provide the ultimate storage solution.

Applications for Metro Plastic Shelving

MetroMax plastic shelving can be used anywhere you need it. Here are some of the best uses for plastic shelving in a healthcare facility:

  • Sterile Processing Department – to avoid rips and tears
  • Pharmacy – to provide corrosion and chemical resistance
  • Neuro Core–provides the professional appearance that’s easy to clean
  • Delicate Supplies–no sharp edges or welds that can snag packages
  • Mobile Applications–provide the strength and durability on the move
  • Dry Storage – provides the profession appearance with antimicrobial protection
  • Lab environments – withstands the rigorous cleaning protocols and chemical exposure
  • Wet Areas – provides the ultimate in protection against corrosion
  • Non-environmental controlled areas – like neat the dock, especially in humid regions
  • Track shelving–provides added storage in confined spaces
  • Chemical Storage (MetroMax i) – offers the best chemical resistance
  • Heavy Loads and equipment (MetroMax i) – advanced polymers are as strong as steel

Additionally, thanks to optional accessories, MetroMax shelving can be customized for more specialized applications, such as IV storage and general restocking carts. Combinations of enclosure panels, dividers, and ledges can contain and sort IV bags on the protective mats. Unique IV Basket options also help organize a multitude of IV solutions.

The assortment of drop-in baskets, ledges/dividers, and enclosures allows you to customize a cart to service the smaller supply rooms throughout a hospital or other healthcare facilities.

Wire Shelving for Medical Supply Storage

While we generally do not recommend open wire shelving for wrapped instrument packs in sterile processing departments or other delicate supplies storage, it can be used for more general storage within the industry. Wire shelving is a popular choice for storage in the Central Supply and in clean supply rooms in patient care areas because it is often out of sight of patients and visitors. Wire shelving also has some unique features, like shelf slanting, which makes it more effective when implementing a two-bin Kanban storage system.

Kan Ban storage wire shelving healthcare

Adjustable Wire Medical Shelving

For general supply storage, we recommend Super Adjustable Super Erecta wire shelving. It features a unique corner release that makes changing shelf levels fast and easy without tools. This will help position storage levels where you need them more easily during setup and allow you to use more storage levels in limited space. Metro’s Super Adjustable shelving is an advanced and innovative wire storage system; it handles the weight of Super Erecta and is easier to adjust as needs change. There is no need for a mallet to loosen shelves to adjust to other positions.

Metro’s Super Adjustable shelving units help maximize space when configuring two-bin solutions more easily because shelves are easily set and reset without tools to their ideal positions. Keeping supplies well-organized makes inventory easier to track, resulting in fewer redundant supplies and reduced waste due to expired products. When supplies are well-organized and arranged in the same location in every storage area, you spend less time looking for items, improving efficiency.

Super Adjustable Super Erecta units can be used for stationary or mobile applications and can be equipped with casters or a dolly base. When customized into heavy-duty transport and delivery carts, Metro Super Erecta shelving can move long distances on/off elevators and over ramps and thresholds.

The Metro Super Erecta platform has the most storage optimization accessories to customize your ideal medical storage solution. Wire Basket options are a good solution for hospitals managing floor-level supplies on a Par system. The baskets do not collect dust like conventional bins, and they can be divided into sections for excellent management of hard-to-handle items. Additionally, if you need to store items securely, Metro security units are built from wire components and offer a lockable cage and visual access to what’s inside.

Find the Best Medical Storage Solutions with Metro

Running an efficient healthcare facility starts with the right shelving. While choosing the best shelving is not exactly a life-or-death situation, the decision can leave a lasting impact on your organization—for better or worse. Storage challenges can exacerbate other issues, such as staff shortages, inventory discrepancies, etc. The more time you spend hunting for supplies in your disorganized stockroom or reprocessing torn sterile packs, the less time you spend caring for patients.

Fortunately, Metro’s healthcare storage solutions make it easy to find the right shelving and accessories to meet the unique needs of your hospital, pharmacy, general practice, or other healthcare facility. Clinics and hospitals require varied solutions for healthcare storage that must be efficient, secure, and aesthetically pleasing.

Metro’s storage solutions are also supported by local Metro reps. They offer consultations on what’s worked for various facilities and what has not. They can also provide onsite consultation to get the measurements and provide drawings to detail how the final solution will look before you buy. Don’t settle for anything less than the best.

Looking for the right medical shelving for your healthcare facility or a one-stop shop for all your shelving, medical cart and workstation needs? Visit our website to view our innumerable options or contact us with any questions you might have.