Plastic Bins As An Alternative To Traditional Toolboxes: Why It Makes Sense For Your Shop

The use of traditional steel toolboxes for tool and equipment storage is so ingrained in the auto repair and service industry, it can be difficult to imagine using anything else. However, with the availability of high-impact plastics, the use of plastic bins for tool storage will greatly enhance the efficiency and organizational structure of many automotive facilities. Here is why you should consider using these bins in your shop:

Advantages of using plastic bins

Below are a few distinct advantages offered by using plastic bins for in-shop storage of tools:

  • Easy to clean - plastic bins are easily cleaned with soap and water or grease-cutting solvents. Their modular nature allows separate bins to be washed as needed without placing an entire toolbox or tool drawer out of service.
  • Flexibility - plastic bins are available in a wide variety of sizes and colors. The varying options permit you to set-up a storage system that matches your needs. For example, you can use narrow, small bins for screwdrivers. The choice is up to you, but these bins allow you the flexibility to manage your system.
  • Expandability - because it is a simple matter to purchase more bins and racks or shelves, you can easily expand your tool storage to match. Toolboxes are expensive, and you will be forced to purchase another one if you wish to add more tools and equipment.
  • Efficiency and neatness - when technicians see an empty bin, they will instantly recognize that a tool is in current use. Searching through drawers is no longer necessary, and it is much simpler to track down what you need. In addition, cords can't get tangled and sensitive instruments are protected from damage since each item is kept separately in its appropriate container.

Implement your system

You have a lot of latitude when implementing a tool storage system using plastic bins, so choose whatever works best for your environment. Below are a few considerations that will help you make decisions as you move forward with the project:

  • Shelves or hanging racks - before purchasing bins, you need to consider how you want to keep them organized. You have two broad options to choose from:
    • Hanging racks - these racks use rails or louvres to hold the bins in-place. They can either be free-standing or mounted to walls. These racks can be located in a minimal amount of space; that makes them a great choice for crowded or smaller work spaces. Racks can be purchased as single-sided or double-sided, and that allows two technicians an ability to access tools from either side. Just be sure to read all of the specifications regarding weight capacity for both the racks and the bins. Racks are not capable of holding as much weight as shelves.
    • Shelves - conventional shelving can also be used to hold plastic bins. You can find shelves that are free-standing units, but there are also shelves available that can be mounted to walls. They take up more room than hanging racks; however, if you are storing a number of heavy tools, you will want to consider shelves. Adjustable units that allow you to adjust the space between shelves, or add shelves at a later date, are ideal since they provide you with the most flexibility should you need to expand your tool inventory.
  • Size, shape and color of bins - another key decision is what types of bins you wish to purchase. The following criteria will help you choose:
    • Size and shape - the size of bins that you select will based largely upon the types of tools that you wish to store. Hand tools, such as wrenches, screwdrivers, and pliers, will take up relatively small amounts of space. On the other hand, power tools such as electric drills or pneumatic impact wrenches are bulky and will require wider, heavy-duty bins.
    • Color - you may opt for one color choice for all your bins, or you may decide to use a color system. You may decide to color-code your bins so that certain tools are assigned to a given color. As an example, it might be beneficial if the blue bins are designated for screwdrivers. Or, you may divide them by metric or standard sizes, and use different colors for each.

For more information, contact a company like Quantum Storage.