Metal cabinets are the preferred storage method of choice for those working in dirty, dusty environments and are often used to store equipment that may itself be dirty, greasy or dusty. They’re designed to be rugged and take all kinds of punishment – that’s why they’re often found in mechanic shops, personal garages and in various other environments that are rugged.
While not necessarily the most lightweight, they’re often made from lightweight metal or are mounted on wheels. Though metal cabinets and their contents aren’t generally the type of thing you move around a lot.
Having said that, metal cabinets are also found in millions of offices all around the world, mostly for their inexpensive purchase price and ease of manoeuvrability. Most of these metal cabinets are made from steel, as they’re much cheaper to purchase than most other metallic materials.
Isn’t Steel Heat Conductive?
Yes, steel is a conductor of heat. So, if the worst should befall your office space and/or mechanic shop and fire should begin, then your metal filing cabinets – while they themselves may survive (depending on the intensity of the fire), your contents – if flammable or combustible, will likely go up in flames.
How Do I Protect the Contents of my Metal Cabinets?
Given that steel is heat conductive, there’s nothing you can do to protect the outside of your metal cabinets, so you’re going to want to do as much as you can to protect the contents of the cabinets.
You might consider purchasing fireproof lining materials for the inside of your metal cabinets, these can include a fire-proof paper that’s sometimes used on gypsum board and in home construction generally. There are also insulating and fire-retardant films available to line the interior of your metal cabinets with.
Buying Fire-Proof Metal Cabinets
However, if the materials are of particular importance – such as those in law offices, or government offices, then fire-proof cabinets are available. These metal cabinets are often made of a different material than steel.
Fireproof metal cabinets are generally made by creating metal alloys (combinations of different types of metals). These generally include stainless steel being combined with either tungsten, nickel, or molybdenum. Molybdenum is generally used in the space industry, or for military applications like fighter jet propulsion systems.
Your cost factor for buying fireproof metal cabinets will be significantly higher, though depending on what you’re protecting from incineration, it may well be worth the price. Although, if you don’t want to spend the money, there are a few other things you can do to ensure the fire protection of your materials.
How Best to Protect Materials From Fire
In buying a metal cabinet, rather than one made of plastic, or another material, you’ve actually done a really good thing in protecting those materials from fire. Your documents may catch fire themselves, but you may also save more than you otherwise would have.
- A Fireproof Safe: If you’re concerned about these materials combusting inside the metal cabinet, then purchasing a fireproof safe for them is always a good idea.
- Placing Metal Cabinets Elsewhere, Away From Combustibles: Depending on the layout of your space, this may or may not be possible – but if you’re concerned about fire hazards, then you should move your metal cabinets away from possible sources of combustion and fire.
While metal cabinets themselves (at least in their most affordable form) might be fireproof, protecting the contents of your metal cabinets from combustion under heat is the aim of the game.