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Metal Storage Lockers – Everything You Need to Know to Make the Right Choice

Comments Off on Metal Storage Lockers – Everything You Need to Know to Make the Right Choice 26 April 2018

Lockers are normally quite narrow, of varying heights and tier arrangements. Width and depth usually conform to standard measurements, although non-standard sizes are occasionally found. Public places with lockers often contain large numbers of them, such as in a school. They are usually made of painted sheet metal.

The characteristics that usually distinguish them from other types of cabinet or cupboard or storage container are:

  • They are usually equipped with a lock, or at least a facility for padlocking (occasionally both).
  • They are usually intended for use in public places, and intended for the short- or long-term private use of individuals for storing clothing or other personal items. Users may rent a locker for a single use or for a period of time for repeated use. Some lockers are offered as a free service to people partaking of certain activities that require the safekeeping of personal items.
  • There are usually but not always several of them joined together.

Lockers are usually physically joined together side by side in banks, and are commonly made from steel, although wood, laminate and plastic are other materials sometimes found. Steel lockers which are banked together share side walls, and are constructed by starting with a complete locker; further lockers may then be adding by constructing the floor, roof, rear wall, door, and just one extra side wall, the existing side wall of the previous locker serving as the other side wall of the new one. The walls, floors, and roof of lockers may be either riveted together (the more traditional method) or, more recently, welded together.

Locker doors usually have some kind of ventilation to provide for the flow of air to aid in cleanliness. These vents usually take the form of a series of horizontal angled slats at the top and bottom of the door, although sometimes parallel rows of small square or rectangular holes are found instead, running up and down the door. Less often, the side or rear walls may also have similar ventilation.

Locker doors usually have door stiffeners fixed vertically to the inside of the door, in the form of a metal plate welded to the inner surface, and protruding outward a fraction of an inch, thus adding to the robustness of the door and making it harder to force open.

Lockers are often manufactured by the same companies who produce cabinets and shelving
There are a number of features or characteristics which may vary in lockers. Because purchasers will need to specify what they want in each of these when ordering, it is more common to order a particular configuration rather than buy “off the shelf” in a shop, although certain very common configurations can be found in shops fairly easily. These features include:

    • Bank size: This specifies the number of lockers wide a unit is. It does not necessarily refer to the total number of compartments, but rather the number of compartments wide the entire cabinet is. So a bank of three may contain six lockers, for example, if they are two-tier lockers. In short, the total number of lockers is the bank size multiplied by the number of tiers. Sometimes the term “bay” is used instead of “bank”, although “bank” appears to be the more standard term; on other occasions, “bay” refers to a single locker width within a bank, including all tiers of locker directly on top of each other.

 

    • Tiers: lockers may be specified as single-tier (full height), two-tier, three-tier, etc., meaning that the lockers are stacked on top of each other in layers two high, three high, etc. Tiers are commonly up to eight high; on occasion, even more tiers may be found, in the case of very small lockers for such purposes as storing laptop computers. The commonest numbers of tiers found in lockers are, in order, one, two, and four; three-tier lockers are rather less common, and other numbers such as five, six, or eight even less common still – seven almost non-existent. Since locker cabinets are most commonly 6 feet (182.9 cm.) high (although there are exceptions), the height of individual lockers varies according to how many tiers are accommodated within the cabinet. The height of individual lockers is usually approximately 6 feet (182.9 cm.) divided by the number of tiers, so that two-tier lockers are about 3 feet (91.4 cm.) high, three-tier lockers 2 feet (61 cm.) high, four-tier lockers 1.5 feet (45.7 cm.) high, and so on. Standard features often vary according to the number of tiers: single-tier lockers usually include a shelf about a foot (roughly 30 cm.) from the top, and a hanging rail (sometimes with one or two hooks) immediately underneath that, at the top of the large compartment beneath the shelf; two- or three-tier lockers usually lack the shelf, but include the hanging rail; lockers with four or more tiers usually have none of these fittings, but consist of just the bare compartment.

 

    • Material: Steel the traditional material; but wood, plastic or laminate are sometimes used. Plastic or laminate lockers are sometimes advocated in environments, such as near swimming pools, where moisture accumulation may cause steel lockers to rust over time.

 

    • Locking options: various types of key locking or padlocking facility are available now. Key locking options include flush locks, cam locks, or locks incorporated into a rotating handle; padlocking facilities may be a simple hasp and staple, or else a padlocking hole may be included in a handle, often called a latchlock. More modern designs include keyless operation, either by coin deposit (which may or may not be returned when use of the locker terminates), or by using electronic keypads to enter passwords for later reopening the locker. Some older lockers used a drop-latch which was incorporated into the door handle, and slid up and down and could be padlocked at the bottom in the “down” position, but these are less used now. Three point locking is not possible with this type of latch, because it needs to be operated by means of a latch that rotates rather than slides up and down; so this drop-latch is probably a less secure locking option, which may be why it is little used nowadays. Have you ever thought of adding a new Z-Spinde?

 

    • Number of locking points: Locker doors may lock with either single or three point locking, but this is not normally chosen as a separate option, and the choice is usually dependent on the number of tiers in the lockers, or whether they are a high-security model, although some manufacturers do allow purchasers to specifically choose an option here that goes against their normal practice. Single-point locking locks the door at only the point where the latch engages with the door-frame, whereas three-point locking uses extensible steel rods to lock the top and bottom of the door as well.

 

    • Dimensions (Note that, in English-speaking countries, even those commonly using metric measurements now, locker dimensions are usually clean numbers of inches or feet, while the corresponding metric measurements are uneven, involving decimal places when precision is required, presumably resulting from continued use of locker designs based on feet and inches, unchanged for decades other than for cosmetic features.)

 

    • Color: lockers were often a uniform dark-grey some decades ago, but a range of colors is offered by most manufacturers now. A few manufacturers offer two-tone coloring, where the doors and locker bodies are of different colors.

 

    • Steel thickness: lockers tend to be made from a standard thickness of steel, which is commonly 0.8 mm. thick; but heavy-duty or high-security lockers are offered as a standard option by some manufacturers, or may be available on special order. A typical locker of this sort may be constructed from steel 1.2 mm. thick, for example, and is usually fitted with three-point locking, regardless of the number of tiers.

 

    • Sloping tops: while most lockers have flat tops, some manufacturers offer the option of sloping tops to their range of lockers. The slope may be of either 30 degrees or 45 degrees to the horizontal, sloping towards the front, and the purpose of this is to make it impossible to store items on top of the lockers, or to make it harder for dust or other debris to accumulate there. This is an important factor in places like food-processing factories or restaurants where hygiene requirements must be met.

 

    • Bicycle Lockers are large storage compartments, usually in outdoor locations near railway stations and the like where people may want to store bicycles securely. They are often banked together, with individual lockers shaped like an triangle for efficient and compact storage of a bicycle. This triangular shape permits the lockers to be grouped either in a radial pattern (with the sharpest points of the lockers together), or in a row in alternating orientations.

 

    • Heavy-duty / high-security lockers: These are similar to the standard models, but are usually made from thicker-than-usual steel, and have three-point locking, regardless of the number of tiers involved. Some models are made from steel 1.2 mm. thick, in contrast to the more usual 0.8 mm.

 

    • Laundry lockers: These are used in places like hospitals or food-processing work-places where uniforms have to be collected, laundered, then returned to their owners. The locker cabinet contains a number of very narrow lockers, each of whose doors is keyed using a key held by the owner, so that they have access only to their own locker; but the entire array of doors is embedded in a much larger door covering the entire front of the cabinet. Opening this opens all the lockers simultaneously, and requires the use of a master key which is held by whoever collects items deposited in lockers, for laundering, then returned in the same way, after which they items are accessible to owners using their individual small doors.

 

    • Services lockers: These are extra-wide lockers used by fire or police services, and typically have a number of different compartments within a single door to accommodate different pieces of equipment used by fire or police personnel, such as special shelves to accommodate helmets, boots, and so on.

 

    • Jumbo lockers: One or two manufacturers use this term to describe a locker that is essentially similar to the services locker, although it may have fewer compartments or special fittings – but there are no consistent differences between manufacturers’ descriptions of less usual lockers.

 

    • School lockers: These lockers may be single- or two-tier, and are fitted with internal divisions or shelves to accommodate both hanging space and room for storing textbooks.

 

    • Perforated lockers: These are similar to the standard types of locker, but the door and walls are made largely or entirely of perforated steel, with hundreds of holes creating a strong mesh arranged in a diagonal pattern. This is used where good ventilation is required, or where, for security reasons, it is necessary that the contents can be examined visually while the doors are locked.

 

    • Backpacker lockers: These rather rare lockers are designed to accommodate backpacks in places like backpackers’ hostels, and are similar to two-tier lockers, but with larger dimensions. Typically, the height may be standard, but the width and depth will be several inches bigger. These usually lack internal fitting such as shelves, hanging railes, or hooks.

 

    • Stepped/2-step lockers: These are two-tier lockers, usually available only in 15-inch (38-cm.) width; but the compartments and their doors have an L-shaped cross-section, which causes the division between the doors to follow a zig-zag pattern. This configuration enables more hanging height to be included in both upper and lower lockers; but part of each compartment (the lower part of the upper one and the upper part of the lower one) will be only half the usual width of two-tier lockers.

 

  • Executive lockers: This is usually a larger unit offered by a few manufacturers, not banked but free-standing; but inside the door will be several compartments, including a full wardrobe-type hanging compartment, as well as a number of other smaller compartments for varied uses.