One of the objections I often hear to the idea of open file shelving is that "it is not secure or that it does not lock like our file cabinets".
There are multiple options for making file shelving, lockable and secure enclosed file shelving.
To the left are standard file shelving units that we added locking tambour doors too. The tambour doors are mounted on top of the shelving and pull down to cover the opening. The best tambour doors are constructed with aluminum slats identical to what you would see on a retail kiosks at the mall, making them light weight, strong and secure.
Some of the benefits of locking tambour doors include:
1. Locking can be done via key, keypad or swipe card. High security locks can also be installed for government situations.
2. Tambour doors can operate manually or electrically.
3. Tambour doors can be retrofitted to a large number of manufacturer's shelving units.
Find out if tambour doors can be retrofitted to your existing shelving.
4. Tambour doors do not swing out into the aisle making them great for medical filing systems and legal filing systems.
5. A single tambour door can cover as many as 3 individual shelving units in a row.
Some drawbacks to locking tambour doors could be:
1. The tambour door is mounted to the top, adding 7" to 9" of height to the file shelving unit, which could be a problem in some rooms.
2. The tambour doors come in several different colors but may not match the shelving color exactly.
3. The tambour door is either totally open or totally closed, selective access like you would have with retractable doors is not an option.
Overall tambour doors are the easiest product to retrofit to in the field.
(Security Tip) Stick with tambour doors
that utilize aluminum slats for the highest security, pull down tambour
doors manufactured with plastic or even painted wood slats, are not as
The introduction of individual locking retractable doors or flipper doors is another way to create enclosed file shelving. This is not normally a product that can be retrofitted in the field though it is possible in certain situations.
One unique feature of flipper doors is selective access and or selective security, meaning instead of having access to the entire unit, it is possible to limit access to just one level of the unit.
The benefits of retractable or flipper doors include:
1. They are aesthetically pleasing to the eye, basically making the shelving unit look like a tall lateral file cabinet.
2. There are options to lock the doors individually or as a group within one shelving unit depending on the manufacturer.
3. They do not swing out into an aisle.
4. You can open one level and leave the other levels in the unit closed.
5. They can be added to most four post file shelving units. Contact me to see if flipper doors can be added to your file shelving.
As with anything there are also a few potential drawbacks to be aware of:
1. Cost is higher than other options.
2. Most manufacturers only have a version for side tab file folders, though the Stak-N-Lok units can accomodate expandable folders and binders!
Retractable or flipper doors are an excellent choice for those applications where selective security and aesthetics are important.
Another method of creating enclosed file shelving is by adding hinged doors.
The hinged doors open out instead of rolling up like a tambour doors. Most hinged doors are made of painted steel at the same factory as the shelving unit, providing an integrated look with a price point normally lower than other options.
If your office is more formal, hinged doors can also be manufactured from high pressure laminate or just about any wood species you desire.
Unlike the two other door styles above, hinged doors are not normally used in active filing environments due to the door swing issue. Door swing can also be an issue in narrow hallways with this style of door.
There are many choices when it comes to selecting an enclosed file shelving unit, find just the right solution at the right price!
I am always happy to help!